Wearing the Raiments of Emperors

Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva by John Collier

Wearing the Raiments of Emperors

Oh People of Coventry, turn not away !
For not only Thomas should view this display.

Oh People of Coventry, look not in shame,
She canters so proudly, erect in her frame.

Oh People of Coventry, unshield your eyes !
She wants us to watch her, to join her, to rise.

Oh People of Coventry, protest exudes,
So cast off your shackles, your breeches, your prudes.

The story is based on a real woman – Godgifu, Countess of Mercia, who survived her husband Leofric and died soon before the Domesday survey of 1086 (which lists her former lands).  The bareback ride doesn’t appear until the Flores Historiarum collected and retold by Roger of Wendover in the early HE 11200s (early 1200s AD), and Peeping Tom didn’t get a look-in until 11600-700s.

As for the poem, I wrote this so long ago that it feels almost as old as the legend.  Strange I was trying to channel socialist values through a protest over lower taxes !

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