|Roman Wall Blues. Picture by my dad.|
I've lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.
The rain comes pattering out of the sky,
I'm a Wall soldier, I don't know why.
The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,
My girl's in Tungria; I sleep alone.
Aulus goes hanging around her place;
I don't like his manners, I don't like his face.
Piso's a Christian, he worships a fish;
There'd be no kissing if he had his wish.
She gave me a ring but I diced it away;
I want my girl and I want my pay.
When I'm a veteran with only one eye
I shall do nothing but look at the sky.
You can read more about this poem, and the music composed for it by Benjamin Britten, here! Sadly the free download no longer works, but you can still listen to a clip here.
So I've been on an unexpected Roman history kick recently. It started when my parents were visiting last week, and we took a day trip with Rabbie's Tours to the Borders and Hadrian's Wall. It was very cool to drive along Roman roads, and see stones that have been piled in the same place for centuries. It was hard to imagine what an impact it would have made on the landscape at its original size, up to 5 metres high and stretching from horizon to horizon. As it is now, it can easily blend in with the other countryside drystone walls, but its linear neatness is remarkable even now.
|A serious historian examines the wall. Picture by dad.|