Sonnet for Anna Isabella
When I reflect upon my vain conceit
And wonder why I praise my skill in duel,
This boasting, to my ears, sounds harsh and cruel
For out of hauteur I have found defeat.
So remov'd from right, who could I entreat
That would not call me villain, or a fool?
A noble head and gentle heart must rule,
A child's smile o'er prize is the greater feat.
I claim no right to that which I am held,
Yet such a fame may I forever seek
To earn the mark which she believes I own.
My sojourn ends only when I am kill'd,
And my reward is but to grow more meek,
That I might bear my unworthy renown.
I wrote this sonnet (the first I'd composed for the Society) back in late 2001 for a very young girl named Anna Isabella. That fall, I had competed in a competition to become the local barony's rapier champion. By luck, I had made it to the finals (which would be held as a best out of 5 situation). I was almost wiped out in the first three rounds, but I won that third round with the aid of a cloak to parry with. The cloak belonged to the young girl, who had graciously lent it to me without knowing who I was - and was enthusiastic to see her cloak keep me in the competition. I was eventually defeated in the tiebreaking fifth match, but Anna Isabella was simply ecstatic at how well I'd done. I was greatly humbled by her joy (for she thought me her champion, after my acceptance of the cloak) and I decided to write a piece that I hoped would show my gratitude towards her faith in me. I presented the poem to her father not long afterwards, and thanked him for holding onto the poem for me. Now and then I still see them, and I remain humbled that I was once a young girl's hero, and that I helped make a lasting memory in this Society for someone other than myself.