Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
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by Cary Semar

Locrine put away his wife,
To Cornwall she has fled
Where called she on her brothers
And to the Clan has said:

"Corineus, that noble king,
To Locrine gave my hand,
And joined our force to drive
The thieving Saxon from the land.

Among you stands my only son,
The son of Locrine he.
I have been so true to Locrine
As he was false to me.

While great Corineus lived,
He kept his wench unseen
But now my father is no more
He holds Estrelda queen.

Upon this German slave
Estrelda called the fair
He got the female Sabra
And named her as his heir."

The warriors gave a mighty shout
And pledged their swords on high,
For Cornwall and for Guendolen,
To triumph or to die.

Now Brutus was a kinsman
Who rode with Guendolen,
To guard her on the highway,
When she went out or in.

He brought the sword Corineus,
Had borne in his own time,
And offered it to Madan,
Whom the honor did decline.

"The cause is just," said Madan.
"But I am Locrine's brood.
It is not meet my mother's son
Should shed his father's blood."

Then Guendolyn put forth her hand,
And took the sword and sheath
She drew the sword and dropped
The gilted scabbard on the heath.

And all the kinsmen saw the blade
And cried for Locrine's head,
Then followed as her chariot
Toward Locrine's country led.

They skirmished at the border,
They battled on the moor
They came to Locrine's fortress
And they battered in the door

The Cornishmen pressed forward
Though pots of molten lead
And stone and sheets of flaming oil
Came down upon their head.

When they had stormed the inner keep
When they had won the day
Among the dead and dying,
The wounded Locrine lay.

And Brutus, now a captain,
Struck off the tyrant's head,
And carried it to Guendolen
Who wept to see it bled.

In the river Severn drowned
Estrelda and her child
Victim of a vengeful heart
And prey of passion wild.

Betimes before the judgment seat
A soul in balance weighed
A captain under Guendolen
Whom Locrine's blood had shed.

The story changes slightly
With every passing age
Of men of weak and wandering heart
And women filled with rage

On farms, in cities, villages,
On hamlets and in towns
The guilty Locrine lives again
And guiltless Sabra drowns.

© 1990, 1998 Cary Semar

Cary Semar works for The Boeing Company as an aerospace engineer. He lives not far from Houston Texas with his wife and six cats.

Authors note: Brutus was the leader of a band of Trojan exiles from Italy who settled in ancient Britain, then called Albion. Corineus, friend of Brutus, was a great warrior, and he was given that part of the country now know as Cornwall. In the words of Thomas Bulfinch ("Bulfinch's Mythology", 1855):

"Brutus built his capital city, and called it Trojanova (New Troy), changed in time to Trinovantus, now London; and, having governed the isle twenty-four years, died lieaving three sons, Locrine, Albanact and Camber. Locrine had the middle part, Camber the west, now called Cambria from him, and Albanact Albania, now Scotland. Locrine was married to Guendolen, the daughter of Corineus, but having seen a fair maid named Estrildis, who had been brought captive from Germany, he became enamoured of her, and had by her a daughter whose name was Sabra. This matter was kept secret while Corineus lived, but after his death, Locrine divorced Gudenolen, and made Estrildis his queen. Gudendolen, all in rage, departed to Cornwall, where Madan, her son, lived, who had been brought up by Corineus, his grandfather. Gathering an army of her father's friends and subjects, she gave battle to her husband's forces and Locrine was slain. Guendolen caused her rival, Estrildis, with her daughter Sabra, to be thrown into the river, from which cause the river thenceforth bore the maiden's name, which by length of time is now changed into Sabrina or Severn."

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