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Crusade


A poetic conversation between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart

Saladin:
Peace be with you Lionheart.
May Allah (peace be upon him) praise you as a warrior.
As your crusade is about to start,
I should send you this greeting oh honoured enemy.

Richard:
All praise Sal-ah-Din, mighty opponent,
Our chivalrous virtues are above our warring ways,
We are both brutal in war yet heaven sent,
Even in my fever, my respect is yours.

Saladin:
I have sent my doctor, oh Coeur de Lion,
Allah has taught us physik as well as chivalry,
He will cure you so you may fight for Zion,
Grow strong, my honoured enemy.

Richard:
Thank you for your kindness, oh noble Muslim,
Your alchemist has assuaged my fevered brow,
If we were not at war, I would be indebted,
But I shall just give thanks for now.

Saladin:
I shall greet you with sword and honour,
On the battlefield soaked with blood,
Revenge for Jaffa's heavy losses,
You have the port, you are the victor, for now.

Richard:
This Third Crusade must ease the tension, between our people, oh mighty lord,
We must take Jerusalem – you know our reasons,
It is Christ's and Christendom's not yours.
Ah, but if only we were not enemies, my friend!

Saladin:
You are now at Arsuf and have no horse, I hear,
Take mine, he is a warrior too,
We are famous for our horses, like us they have no fear.
We are chivalrous enemies through and through.

Richard:
Thank you for the horse, oh honoured enemy,
A strong fine beast to carry me hence,
A present fit for a king and from a king,
As pleasing as the snow you sent, to cool my fevered brow.

Saladin:
It is nothing oh honoured English rival,
It is what we Saracens do: kindness, hospitality, friendship,
When hearts are full of hatred, there can still be room for love,
Even to our most hated infidel – we are still men of honour.

Richard:
Oh noble Saladin, let us end this,
Can we not find more peaceful ways?
My sister Joan, an English Rose, could marry your brother
We could hope for better days.

Saladin:
A noble exchange, oh future brother, Muslim and Christian united through love,
Jerusalem as their wedding gift...?
No, not this time, the holy city is ours,
'Til Allah (peace be with him) decrees otherwise.

Richard:
A truce then noble Saladin,
Let us make peace, remove the blockades,
And let Christians make their pilgrimage,
We can end these long and cruel crusades.

Saladin:
Peace be upon us!
We shall cease to fight – for the time being.
But Lionheart, I know you are lionhearted,
How long will this last?

Richard:
Until our friendship wanes, oh honoured enemy,
We shall spill no more blood,
And sing and talk of our Holy War,
Of worthy opponents, of warriors of God.

Richard and Saladin:
Peace be with you Lionheart,
May Allah praise you til the end of days,
All praise Sal-ah-Din, mighty opponent,
Our virtues are above our warring ways.

Comments by author, Tom Fox (age 12)