Thursday, 30 January 2014

'An Eminent Person: the Strange Life & Marvellous Afterlife of the Chevalier D'Eon, Overture: The Traders' Chorus'

Where coffee boils and scandal-sheets are sold,
hunched over cups, we tussle with a question:
just what is the Chevalier to be called?

When told, some men turn giddy, some appalled,
but all compelled to give it their attention.
It seems to us a new thing in the world;

this world which, in its recent memory, brawled
to settle facts of conquest and succession,
asks now what one such warrior should be called.

Philosophers will posit; tavern-bawds
laugh "'Omm or femm? You just can't say wi'Frenchmen! "
It seems to us, this new thing in our world,

a puzzle which we cannot leave unsolved.
So men are polled, a betting-pool is sanctioned:
at this Exchange, a new thing in the world,
we'll settle what this specimen should be called.


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