Monday, December 15, 2008

The Vicomte de Bragelonne and The Man in the Iron Mask

Dumas fans will note that these are out of order: Louise should come between Bragelonne and Mask.

The Vicomte de Bragelonne

The Musketeers, those gentlemen whose fame
had spread so far, at ten and thirty years'
remove, are moving in another game.
Their goal this time: to dry an exile's tears
with hopes of royal restoration. Pieces
shuffle on the great chessboard of France:
the general Monk, a young Infanta, nieces
of the cardinal, men of finance.

They leave behind, for most of this adventure
a youth whose manly state is on the rise,
who wisely steers his friends away from censure
but leaves his own heart risking compromise.
Not yet a player in the game of thrones,
the young Vicomte, heir of the Bragelonnes.

The Man in the Iron Mask

What could it signify, this undeclared
imprisonment, this burial alive
behind the Bastille's walls? What secrets strive
for freedom, while the prisoner despaired?
Aramis knows the secret of the Mask,
another thread to warp into his schemes.
Who'd think this hard conspirator still dreams
of glory days! To bring them back's the task
he self-imposes. But this plot will cost
the life of Porthos, confidante and friend
and Aramis, escaping in the end
reflects most bitterly on all he's lost.
Unwisest, in a list of unwise things
to meddle in the secret lives of kings.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

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