Thursday, August 13, 2020

Because We All Need A Little Catharsis Now And Then

     If you’re familiar with Mervyn Peake’s neglected fantasy trilogy Gormenghast, you’ll know the story of Fuchsia, the daughter of Lord Sepulchrave Groan, 76th Earl of the isolated community of Gormenghast. Fuchsia begins the story as an immature yet sensitive child, isolated by her position and her personality, who finds her deepest solace in dreams. As her young brother Titus, who is destined to occupy the Earldom, ages toward maturity, her isolation deepens, and she spends ever more time in the pursuit of love and acceptance through dreams and reverie.

     Fuchsia is perhaps classic fantasy’s most pathetic character: incapable of fulfillment until the instant of her accidental death. Yet it is her very insufficiency that makes her appealing. As the daughter of a noble house whose powers pass through primogeniture to the oldest male descendant of the expired Earl, she is of no use to the house except as a means by which to form a useful alliance through a politically advantageous marriage – something impossible to the completely isolated House of Groan.

     Readers have lamented and dreamed alongside Fuchsia for decades. But John Ford and Richard Hudson of the Strawbs were the first to immortalize her in song. Immerse yourself in her sorrows now, along with some beautiful images, woven into a compelling pastiche.

A child denied all love can't weep
But bravely bears her life alone
So Fuchsia as you try to sleep
You dream of friends you've never known

In troubled years when no one cared
You searched for comfort everywhere
For heavy burdens never shared
Became too much for one to bear

So much to give, but those who live
Don't know of you...
Your fantasy of love to be...
Cannot come true:
Oh Lady Fuchsia
Oh Lady Fuchsia

Now poised above the castle walls
You look your last on lonely skies
Night owls pray for you as they call
Returning ere the dawn shall rise

Your loveless life has led you here...
Not knowing why
Your troubled mind's no longer clear...
To live or die:
Oh Lady Fuchsia
Oh Lady Fuchsia
Oh Lady Fuchsia
Oh Lady Fuchsia


Margaret Ball said...

Beautiful and evocative, and it fits in so well with the book I'm currently plotting... if only I could quote some of the lyrics without running afoul of copyright issues! I've been sticking to folk songs, poems by people who've been dead a long time, and other public domain sources... but this is so tempting!

Francis W. Porretto said...

It's not impossible to get permission to use a lyric, Margaret. John Ford has a website through which you can contact him. He might even be flattered that you'd like to use his lyric, especially if you cited him as the author on your Copyright page. Give it a try!

Margaret Ball said...

Thanks for the tip! Duh, Stupid here never thought of asking, having heard some copyright horror stories. I'll let you know how it turns out.