aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

It's culture, I tell you

Corund's Song of the Chine

. . . from The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison

Eddison's great fantasy work is set in a world of perpetual war -- a cross between Renaissance England and Viking Scandinavia, with overtones of Greek myth. This song -- which Eddison lifted from "An Antidote against Melancholy," published in London in 1661 -- is sung in the great banquet hall of Carce before King Gorice XII and all the lords of Witchland, as the chine course is brought to the table. (Chine is the meat connected to the backbone. It probably refers to a rack of beef in this case.) BTW, "Witches" is merely the name of their national identity; only King Gorice does any sorcery.

Now was the chine served in amid shallots on a great dish of gold, borne by four serving men, so weighty was the dish and its burden. Some light there glowed in the dull eye of Corsus to see it come, and Corund rose up with brimming goblet, and the Witches cried, "The song of the chine, O Corund!" Great as a neat stood Corund in his russet velvet kirtle, girt about with a broad belt of crocodile hide edged with gold. From his shoulders hung a cloak of wolf's skin with the hair inside, the outside tanned and diapered with purple silk. Daylight was nigh gone, and through a haze of savours rising from the feast the flamboys shone on his bald head set about with thick grizzled curls, and on his keen gray eyes, and his long and bushy beard. he cried, "Give me a rouse, my lords! and if any fail to bear me out in the refrain, I'll ne'er love him more." And he sang this song of the chine in a voice like the sounding of a gong; and all they roared in the refrain till the piled dishes on the service tables rang:

Bring out the Old Chyne, the Cold Chyne to me,
And how Ile charge him come and see,
Brawn tusked, Brawn well sowst and fine,
With a precious cup of Muscadine:
How shall I sing, how shall I look,
In honour of the Master-Cook?

The Pig shall turn round and answer me,
Canst thou spare me a shoulder? a wy, a wy.
The Duck, Goose, and Capon, good fellows all three,
Shall dance thee an antick, so shall the Turkey:
But O! the Cold Chyne, the Cold Chyne for me:
How shall I sing, how shall I look,
In honour of the Master-Cook?

With brewis Ile noynt thee from head to th'heel,
Shal make thee run nimbler than the new oyld wheel;
With Pye-crust wee'l make thee
The eighth wise man to be;
But O! the Old Chyne, the Cold Chyne for me:
How shall I sing, how shall I look,
In honour of the Master-Cook?

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