Chanson du Dame AquitainebyTirant lo Blanc©
Upon these sheets I do profess of the Lady who has wholly command of my heart, my loyalty, my life, and hereafter when these words, ever humble and deficient to praise her for her due worth, when these words of mine are fulfilled I shall consign them all to the fire at hand, that, like my lorn spirit, they shall be scattered irreplaceable to the winds. How still every image collected by mine vision of that sweet form, that noble Lady, flaunts before me; and I, William Gaspard du Vichiers, must have witness of my afflicting love, even be it only this blaze prepared by my own hands, ere I abandon this life for good. So brief was the entry of this creature of grace and supple worth into my life upon this world, and yet I am filled, one glance caught with her alluring eye would pour into one’s life cup beyond the brim, overflowing with her splendor.
I am ten years senior to my first arrival upon these lands across the sea, traveling with an elder brother into the service of Antioch, its Prince, and the greater glory of the protection of this, our Holy Land. May my deeds speak alone for my valor, among the brave men of Antioch I stood against hosts of Mosul and Aleppo, only was I ever derelict in one region, only one field remaining barren, that of marriage. A younger son, I had no obligation to fulfill, and therefore had only my own name to brandish and win renown for. Now, after ten years veteran to the deserts and the blood and the strife, love has forced herself into my ferrous shell and stricken my heart to its core. Oh, sweet Lady Eleanor, Queen from a distant land, long forgotten to me, you have become my Queen, and I your lost servant.
That dearest and highest of women had come from her far away home, with the goodly King Louis of France, her husband, with his many stalwart companies and vassals, lords and squires. That famed procession of the Frankish court and retinue and army was already a victory in the hearts of many a man, highborn and low alike, against the recent downfall of our northern neighbor, Edessa. The streets of this long-known city were covered in richest carpets, and adorned with countless banners, tapestries new made, and flying from windows and poles the emblazoned symbols of the Houses of France and that of Antioch flying side by side, in brotherhood of arms. Loud were the cries, the drums, music and song greeting the King and his followers, all in fine livery proffered them at their landing at port.
For all its amassed and medley decorations, for which no cost was spared, and the greatest of entrances that have been witnessed in my life, all of this was quickly shattered and shadowed by my first glimpse of Eleanor, the Duchesse-Aquitaine. Led through the procession in her litter, the embroidered curtains thrown aside to give view of the welcome to her, its passenger, and she was dressed in garb fit maybe for a very empress of Byzantium, but even this was paled upon the skin of my love, my Queen.
From the gates to the palace courtyard the procession went, the Patriarch at their head, and the cheers of the public enveloping them one and all. Awaiting with open arms, a smile bearing white and even teeth, and a warming demeanor, my Lord and Prince Raymond de Poitiers hailed the whole of them, and the King of France was brought before him, and after a clasp of hands and an embrace of comradery, the multitude of Frankish nobles and courtiers dismounted and were escorted each by a brother in arms of the Antiochene court. My Lady the Princess acted as guide to Queen Eleanor and her ladies-in-waiting. It would not suffice, but for my brevity, to make short mention of the feasts and shows made for the occasion, but all was not to be so joyous for long, when discord settled into the minds of men, and the grumbling began.
For my own part, I remained steadfast in my loyalty to my Prince and my city; but so many who had the French King’s ear gave ill-council. The complexity of the politics were not to gain my audition, for I am a simple knight assigned to the palace guard and the person of the Prince, but blind would one have to be to miss the growing fondness between my Lord Raymond and the beautiful Eleanor, whom it was said were kin, and had been close before the Lord Raymond was called to be Prince of Antioch. And more, it was quite clear, although I was not often in the company of Frankish crusaders, that King Louis was letting his head be filled with jealousy against my Lord and Prince. I will not speak ill of Louis VII of France, for a king is God’s ordained, but his close court members are none innocent, for it was their own jealousies that they shared unto him.
I was oft in service upon the Queen’s hall and apartments during these days, which offered to me many, but brief, visions of the tall and proud woman of my heart. It was indeed in this service through which I caught my longest and most absorbing sight of my dearest Eleanor, whose name was upon my breath every night since I had laid my eyes upon her at the entry of Antioch. Many comings and goings there were, pages and visitors to the Queen in her chambers, but it was to me when on duty that fell the task of keeping shut the doors when she wished to be alone, or when she would retire for a night’s rest. And the words that she would offer me direct were worth a kingdom to me, no, worth much more.
While making rounds in the hall a certain day past, I saw approach the Queen’s doors a man in Frankish livery, seemingly impatient as I hailed him. He was pressed for time for what I knew not, but he claimed he had word for the Queen from her husband, and must see her presently. She was not in, I gave him notice, I could not offer more, as it was not mine to know the whereabouts of the Lady Eleanor for all times of night or day. He bid me knock upon her chamber regardless, and when silence replied, he handed, but hesitantly, a bound letter, waxed closed with the King’s own seal, to me. “See that this be left for her, that she read it immediate upon her return, the King wishes it,” he ordered me, and without further ado, the knave retired.
Knocking once more for ceremony’s sake, I opened the chamber of my beloved Queen, and with the reverence of a novice crossing the threshold into the choir, I went within. As the sweet aroma of her favorite flowers, each gathered into rich vases, and the colors personally chosen to drape her bed, as indeed everything of this temple washed my senses, I brought the letter forgotten in my hand to her private table, and set it there. It was then, just as I would be forced to tear my eyes and thoughts from her to return to my post, then that I noticed her wardrobe ajar and from the gap a small stretch of cloth—the tip of her gown. Drawn toward that teasing token of sweetest Eleanor, I gently opened further the wardrobe, baring its interior, and a collection of gorgeous garments, and all of them made inviolable by the very touch of their mistress’ skin.
Knowing that her body, so long and flawless, had been covered by this and each of the clothes gathered neatly within the cedar-lined closet, that these lovely fabrics had nestled close and embraced the flesh of my love, my adored, I slowly knelt down before them. Wishing ever the while that I had been blessed with a higher birth, a richer station, I bowed my head low before these relics and laid upon the hem my lips, gently, humbly I kissed them the entire length. It was here, kneeling upon the chamber’s floor, my lips against the Queen’s clothes, that I heard a man’s deep voice nearing the door.
Feeling stricken in an indelicate situation, I hurriedly rose, snuck into the wardrobe and closed the door before me only as much as to leave a slit for my vision. Surely I erred, and should have risen and awaited the coming of whoever this was approaching, but I had not thought, so overwhelmed by emotion for the unattainable sweet-hearted Queen, and merely reacted. So, there I was, trapped by myself as the man whose voice had startled me entered, leading a lady by the arm, both moving with steps full of spring and joy. No others were these than my noble Lord and Prince Raymond de Poitiers, and the most darling of women, Queen Eleanor, Lady of Aquitaine!
The chamber’s doors were thrust open, and gaily did this couple come into my vision. The Prince’s mighty arm was wrapped about her, holding her close beside, and he led her inside toward her soft and luxurious bed. Already one shoulder and more had been bared by her carelessly falling dress, the small round breast fresh and white in the dimming light falling through the window. Wide were the smiles shared between the two, who could not have looked happier in all my imaginings.
“I would that this day could be an eternity, my Prince,” Eleanor spoke with her voice a song to entrance, to entwine the conscience of all who could hear.
Releasing her waist, Raymond did then take her face into his hands, gently holding her gaze: “Yea, all the days may be finite, and each so far advanced, but as happy as this one today, we are not given it leave yet!” With this said, he drew her close, allowing his lips to brush across hers, his hands sliding down to her neck, and with surprisingly soft strokes of his finger tips, he caressed her milk white throat.
I shall not interrupt again the telling of this encounter through to its completion, its climax, only now to say that I witnessed every part of this romantic play, and will remember the beauty of my Queen all the days of my meager life.
Urging the loosely hung gown from her other shoulder, Raymond let both breasts now free into the open air, both equal in glory, those small, rose-crowned breasts. Breaking momentarily their kiss, he took her again by the waist, and raising her high, he twice pirouetted around before settling her down upon the feathery bedding awaiting them. Giggling, she spurned his flirting gesture, before taking his giant hands into her own small, precious little ones. The joy, gleaming from her face, like all the rays of the sun upon a bright Spring day, was such that there could be thought not its peer in all the world. Bright shone those deep and quick eyes of hers, piercing with her powerful presence, she held the mighty Raymond, said to be the Heracles of our days, a giant, man of prowess and without equal, she held him enraptured to her. He knelt down before her, nudging his wide shoulders between her knees, and nestled his face into the gown now bunched around her small waist.
Lightly he breathed and kissed upon her through the fabric of her silken dress. Loosing a sigh in response and encouragement, the sweet lady Eleanor leaned back and laid herself back onto the cushions of her bed. Without needing his urging, her legs parted wider, and she shivered with appetite while his hands released hers to lift her gown, from her small, lovely feet, delicate and impeccable, up her legs, and past her thighs. This lady, this goddess from the west, was as a Juno and Venus united, with such presence and passion, such irreproachable bearing and such beauty shared unto her vassals in this court of love.
Imagine her there as she was seen by eyes filled with yearning love, her neat fur as auburn as the locks on her head, and just as those beautiful strands framed so perfectly her face, so this trimmed ornament accentuated her smooth, warm sex. And yet Prince Raymond was blessed beyond only this sight, as he nuzzled between her thighs, gifted with the subtle perfumes of her body. Eleanor rose again and wrapped her fingers through her amour’s hair, whispering so quietly to him, almost a purr. Her fingers crept down along his neck and further down his back, and bid him come to her, laying kisses upon his forehead the while. She allowed him to pull the gown, now gathered about her hips, from her body, to disarm her of every covering to his eyes, his lips and his eager, yet obedient hands.
Perfection she was, from the auburn falls around her head to the petite, white feet which held this great Queen with such a posture to impose grace and respect, everything in between as well was simply impeccable. From the delightful valley between her thighs, over the flat, smooth plain of her stomach, and over the small rises of her breasts, Eleanor had no equal, and would find without fail a champion against whomever would dare say otherwise. Solely blessed with the touch of that flesh, the giant Raymond, Prince of Antioch, was obliging and complaisant, a devoted worshiper at this, her temple. Rising before her, to an incredible height, worthy of a titan and enviable to the lowly and plain, he left himself entirely in her care, his eyes only on her. Discarding his belts, letting his trousers and leggings fall to the floor at their feet, sweetest Eleanor brought out of its hiding that member which would be foremost in her honor and praise. Both her small hands, warm and tender, took his mass between them and massaged with a gentle care, caressing the full length and mighty breadth of this her proffered sacrifice. She leant against his body, pressing the solid phallus against her breast, desiring his flesh to cover hers, to embrace him tight to her.
Supplying many kisses to the engorged tip, she won from her Prince words of ardor and love, poetry that flowed free from his breath and set her heart alight. Impassioned for him, hungering and resolved, she released his manhood long enough to, taking his hands into hers, pull him down to her, onto herself, the erotic and encompassing weight of her mighty lover settling over her body. And again, yet with such puissance, their lips met in a fervent kiss, while her breasts rose and fell beneath the heat of her lover’s chest. Noticeably, her thighs quivered betraying the deep and indefatigable penetration ensuing, alike to the teasing and exploring of Raymond’s tongue as it slipped between the sweet, rose lips of Eleanor’s agile mouth.
The Prince broke from her lips and arched his back that he could suckle from her savory breasts, he looked the lion pouncing, and his potent arms enwrapped the Queen, holding her tight beneath himself. Grand Raymond played long, avid strokes upon the petite bosom of his Queen, pulling lightly on their darkened buds, as from succulent berries he greedily sucked and licked. Breathing and sighing out her lover’s name, gorgeous Eleanor writhed in bliss at the meeting of their loins, feeling the massiveness, the solid length and stock of Raymond sheathing deep, again and again, with untiring devotion.
“Mon Seigneur, mon amour, mon gentil dieu-d’amour,” heaved she, headily into the heated air of the chamber. My Lord, my love, my sweet god of love, were these words, words that could ensnare any who could claim to be their object.
With her arms stretched out wide over the soft sheets of her bed, and her hair disheveled yet alluring still spread about her fair head an aureole of passion. Time had seemed in inordinate haste between them, a craven robber of the couple’s embrace. Faint was the sun’s voyeuristic rays through the chamber window now, drawing long shadows in every hollow, accenting in a deepened red every contour of the duet, as they continued their tryst. In the dimming of evening, the coming of night, the Prince tightened over his Lady, holding fast his hips against hers, and sighing aloud upon the enclave of her breasts, he came en-force.
The rapture that seemed aglow upon Eleanor’s features were enough to answer the heavy voice of her lover, in a harmony of expense and delight. Again he stretched himself to length over her gently shaking body, and took possession of another kiss of her lips. Under the fading light, his bronzed body seemed only a shadow of Eros hugging onto the pale, moonbeam hue of dear Eleanor’s figure. He slid lazily from her, and took her into his arms, holding her close, her sweet face pillowed against the strength of his chest. And there they laid for a while in silence, moving only enough for subtle caresses and gently stolen kisses in the filling nightfall.
Movement became all but invisible, the shifting of shadows, as night came full on, when Raymond without quitting the side of his lover or disturbing her satiated repose lit a couple candles from a dim, flickering taper. The lights danced over their bodies, glancing off the soft sheen of spent exhilaration so evident upon their flesh. Neither slept there, but accompanied each the other in a silent night of reverie and remembrance, trying long but fruitless to keep at bay the ending of that night. Soft words flitted between them, lost to the world outside, words of love and sincerity and such devotion.
All too soon, even though it was truth they had been together from before sundown to the very peek of the new dawn, the time had come for their separation. As the Prince stood from the bed gathering and donning his garments sweet Eleanor sat up and gestured her hands for him, telling him she had no wish but to stay in Antioch, in the palace. The roads hither had been fierce enough, but now with gossipmongering among the Frankish army itself, she could not bear it, not when here, in this city, there was one who could cherish her as a woman, and not disdain that she herself was strong, independent.
“My dearest, adored beauty, I will submit it before your King and Husband that you wish to stay out here during the expedition, although I fear it will not fall on a pliant listener. He would that you were safe, to be sure, but there are other’s whom hold his audition these days.” He was not easily brought to despairing, and would not mar the memory of that past night upon a sullen note. My Queen,” he spoke again, “I will speak my piece to him none-the-less, and my argument I assure you shall not fall on deaf ears, and we, you and I, will find ourselves in company for as long as you wish me.”
She made to speak, but he pressed his fingers to her lips. “Take your rest now, Love, and I shall return when the sun rises high. Sleep and dream, and know that I dream of you, too.”
Leaning down over her he brushed his lips across both silky nipples and left a trace of a kiss upon her forehead. With that he left her chamber, a last longing look cast to her noble face before pulling the chamber closed once more. Beautiful Eleanor gave forth a sigh, and stretched herself languidly out upon the soft bedding, her dainty fingers unconsciously fondling the recently kissed summit of both her breasts. Her eyes closed and she laid there, those coral lips gracing the world with a smile, one of satisfaction and anticipation both.
From my vantage in secret, surrounded by the sweet laces and silks and gowns of her wardrobe, I had been witness to these beautiful events. I watched over her as she slipped into a calm sleep, how sweet and pure and glorious she looked, elegantly strewn out over the cushions of her bed. Very slowly outside the window the dark grew shades of brighter blue, as morn passed into day. Such a peace reigned within that Queen’s chamber, but was destined to be broken and stolen away, by the wills of devious and black-hearted men.
When she rose later and had pulled over herself a nightgown, covering and revealing equally, and myself still hiding, cramped within the closet, steps were heard gaining her doorway from the hall. Thinking it my chance to escape and thrust myself into the company that would be given admission, mingling there and when allowed I would hand over my charge, albeit tardy. The approaching party stopped just outside the doors, but the expected knock never came, in its stead, the door was shoved upon without ceremony, and I could see them enter, five or six sergeants in King’s livery. Of course my first thought was to make my appearance and demand to what travesty did they owe this indiscreet intrusion, but of course in my haste, only just checked, I’d disregarded my own position, also an intruder, and worse yet it would put pure Lady Eleanor’s honor in compromise.