Sleeping Beauty remodeled the moat,
And sold an easement through the forest;
Oh Loveliness, enchanting and remote —
L’Ars florissant she sent back to the florist.
At least her fit of pique is on display
To add a note of valuable contempt,
For who ever heard of saints without dismay?
The perfect knight requires a sidekick unkempt.
Sans peur and sans reproche are out of stock,
And rarely will a dragon work for scale;
No wonder Blue Beard’s castle is for sale:
La Belle Dame Sans Merci hath thee in hock.
Sleeping Beauty is irritated when awakened,
So take her glamorousness and vanity —
Morality plays convey the divine and inanity —
Yes, take the bathroom fixtures and the vanity,
But leave the air of innocence unforsaken.
NOTES for Students of English
L’Ars florissant – Old French for “the flourishing art” referring to l’ars nova florissant, a style of polyphonic music that developed in the 14th century.
“Sans peur et sans reproche” – French for “without fear and beyond reproach,” used to define the epitome of chivalry — the fearless and faultless knight.
“To work for scale” means to work at the minimum wage as set by the actors’ unions; “scale” suggests “scaly,” the texture of reptile skin.
La Belle Dame Sans Merci – French for “the beautiful lady without pity” — a ballad by John Keats written in 1819. The tenth stanza reads:
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried — “La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!”