Research notes – The Nothing Song
I think you’ll like this. The Nothing Song was written in the 12th century, by the gloriously randy Duke William IX of Aquitaine, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s grandad. According to William of Malmesbury he ‘roved the world, bent on the seduction of women’ and had an insatiable thirst for sensual passion and adventure. He once planned to establish a convent of prostitutes.
While married to his second wife, Phillippa, William was excommunicated for “abducting” the beautuiful Viscountess Dangerosa (great name, eh?) from her bedchamber. The lady, however, appears to have been a willing party in the matter. He installed her in his castle in Poitiers and even painted a picture of her on his shield, saying it was his will “to bear her in battle as she had borne me in bed”.
Phillippa was understandably pissed off to discover another woman living in her palace, and retired to the Abbey of Fontevrault, where (in a twist you you would decry in a novel) she was befriended by Ermengarde of Anjou, William’s first wife. Anyway, here’s his song about nothing at all. And yes, I am using it in 1322, my current work-in-progress.
I made this verse on sweet F.A.
There is no person to portray
No talk of love or youth at play—
Nothing, of course.
Composed while sleeping yesterday,
Sat on my horse.