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The Barefooted Friar by Sir Walter Scott Still Touches My Heart

I met with my critique group today. We enjoyed a great lunch and wonderful conversation while we worked on our presentation for the 2019 Ozarks Writers League Spring Conference. We will be talking about what makes our group unique; what makes it work; and some of the challenges we’ve faced.

We’ve become more than critique partners. We’ve become friends who are comfortable enough with each other to discuss almost anything. One of the topics we touched on today was religion. Our brief conversation reminded me of a poem that I read when I was in high school.

The Barefooted Friar was published in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe.  I chose to read Ivanhoe for a book report in one of my literature classes. I remember my teacher warning me that the book was long and would require a commitment in order to fully understand it. She was right. The novel was not a quick or simple read.

I loved Ivanhoe, but the poem, The Barefooted Friar, is what has stayed with me for over 30 years. I hope you enjoy this 200 year old poem as much as I do.

The Barefooted Friar By Sir Walter Scott

I’ll give thee, good fellow, a twelvemonth or twain, To search Europe through, from Byzantium to Spain; But ne’er shall you find, should you search till you tire, So happy a man as the Barefooted Friar.

Your knight for his lady pricks forth in career, And is brought home at even-song bunny’d through with a spear; I confess him in haste — for his lady desires No comfort on earth save the Barefooted Friar’s.

Your monarch? — Pshaw! many a prince has been known To barter his robes for our cowl and our gown, But which of us e’er felt the idle desire To exchange for a crown the grey hood of a Friar!

The Friar has walk’d out, and where’er he has gone, The land and its fatness is mark’d for his own; He can roam where he lists, he can stop when he tires, For every man’s house is the Barefooted Friar’s.

He’s expected at noon, and no wight till he comes May profane the great chair, or the porridge of plums For the best of the cheer, and the seat by the fire, Is the undenied right of the Barefooted Friar.

He’s expected at night, and the pasty’s made hot, They broach the brown ale, and they fill the black pot, And the goodwife would wish the goodman in the mire, Ere he lack’d a soft pillow, the Barefooted Friar.

Long flourish the sandal, the cord, and the cope, The dread of the devil and trust of the Pope; For to gather life’s roses, unscathed by the briar, Is granted alone to the Barefooted Friar. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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