From 'Six Epistles To a Friend in Town'
By Chandos Leigh
French peasants, famed for loyalty, obey'd
Their king, danced in their chains and taxes paid;
The noble gaily lived, in battle brave,
Tyrant o'er others, at Versailles a slave.
Thus were the seeds of revolution sown,
When vice, reign after reign, bediram'd the crown.
Great Rabelais, whose mine of wit ne'er fails,
Whose genius oft a mystic curtain veils,
Of Chinon was; at rubbish of the schools
Laugh'd he, at lazy monks, and formal fools;
His satire, safe beneath a motley dress
Of words, struck those he feared, not hated less.
Who lived at Usse? certes, gallant knights;
But here tradition gives uncertain lights.
The lords of Saintre, mighty in romance,
Famous among the chivalry of France;
Burning for tournaments if there they dwelt,
At times ennui the lively heroes felt.
(Nobles in England, sober country, draw
Their rank not from knight-errantry but law)
But, no fictitious hero, great Vauban
There made improvements on a soldier's plan:
Generals, though eminent, have small applause
For raising terraces, or framing laws.
A monarch, sensual and religious, lived
At Chambord; there his monks and minions thrived.
There Francis, squire of dames, display'd a show
Of chivalry, inimitable now.
What yet of Chambord rests, where Pleasure breath'd
Sweet poison? towers fantastically wreath'd,
And walls so richly wrought, they seem to be
The work of fairies for their revelry.
Gone are the habitants, monks, minions, dames:
Read, if you please, in annals old, their names.
There are flowers in my neighborhood! And there are lambs at the University of Maryland campus farm, though I only caught a glimpse of them while we were picking up Daniel there. I spent the morning working on a review of Deep Space Nine's penultimate episode, "The Dogs of War", before retrieving son. Then, after enjoying the gorgeous weather, flowers, and bunnies for a bit, we went to my parents' for dinner. Now we are catching up on Dig, which gets crazier as it goes on, but it's just my kind of conspiracy story (Messianic prophecy, the Temple Mount, Jesus clones, and Jason Isaacs).
The Château de Chambord was built for Francis I as a hunting lodge with decorative moat, though it proved impossible to heat properly even with fireplaces connected to the more than 350 chimneys that make its silhouette so memorable. Leonardo da Vinci designed the double helix staircase and likely worked on the building architecture as well. The red and blue bedroom was furnished for Louis XIV. During World War II, the contents of the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, were stored at Chambord for safekeeping. Despite all the chimneys, it proved impossible to heat the 400+ rooms in the winter!