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Song Parodies -> "The Not-So-Majestic King Harold"

Original Song Title:

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Original Performer:

Gordon Lightfoot

Parody Song Title:

"The Not-So-Majestic King Harold"

Parody Written by:

John Jenkins

The Lyrics

Before the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Duke William of Normandy was known as William the Bastard. After the battle, he was known as William the Conqueror. History teaches us not to go to war against an army commanded by either a bastard or a conqueror.
The legend lives on from ancient Romans on down
Of how England cannot be invaded
Her perversity and harsh geography
Leave most enemies intimidated.

Though Roman forces, with strong ships and fast horses,
Did it in the first century, BC.
Later assaulters sadly watched campaigns falter,
Losing battles on both land and high sea.

Then 1042 gave England a monarch who
Vowed to keep earthly joys out of his life.
Edward the Confessor had no direct successor
Because he abstained - even with his wife.

Was Queen Edith pleased when he ignored her strip tease?
Probably not, but somehow he kept her.
But subsequent kings shunned the celibacy thing
And enjoyed using their royal scepters.

When King Edward died, three claimed to be qualified
To sit on his throne and rule England.
But what happened next left the mourners perplexed
As two war strategies had to be planned.

In 1066, Harold of Wessex was picked,
Not the French duke, nor the king of Norway,
But King Harold knew, as his rivals did too
That they might soon appear at his doorway.

But Dover's high cliffs gave him the advantage if
Armies tried to invade England's south coast.
So when Duke William's eyes turned to England's grand prize,
All the world assumed he would be French toast.

But Norway's attack took King Harold aback,
And left his troops huffin' and puffin.'
When the battles were through, would the loser's menu
Feature French toast or an English muffin?

When Normans appeared, Harold began to fear
That his reputation was imperiled.
Would it be his fate to be known as 'Hal the great'
Or 'The Not-So-Majestic King Harold'?

So when Destiny called, though his staff was appalled,
Harold made no attempt to refuse her.
But he should have said 'No,' and picked a lesser foe,
Maybe one who was named, 'Bill the Loser.'

Historians say that at Hastings that day
Saxon bulwarks were bravely defended.
But it's sadly true that when the fighting was through,
Harold's reign and his life were both ended.

England still honors kings who have sat upon her
Throne and ruled with success and distinction.
But, while William found fame and a hero's nickname,
Harold's legacy entered extinction.

King Arthur, we hear, still gets roundly revered,
And Richard the First gets lionizing.
But when people look at England's history books,
Harold's exploits just get minimizing.

It's legendary that the French military
Lacks courage to fight – that's today's dictum.
But in one war, France had soldiers not wet their pants,
And King Harold was the tragic victim.

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Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.4
How Funny: 4.4
Overall Rating: 4.5

Total Votes: 16

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   2
 2   0
 3   0
 4   2
 5   12

User Comments

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Phil Alexander - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Nice one, JJ - I tried writing a "Hallowed be thy Name" parody on the same story, but gave up 'cause I couldn't get it to work well enough. One thing that cropped up in research was that the Normans, whose name I'd always assumed derived from them being from the north of France, turns out to be a corruption of "Norsemen".. i.e. more bloody Danes ;-)
Stuart McArthur - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
loved this, John, but you'll have to wait for my score until I've cross- checked the accuracy of each and every historical fact in my encyclopaedia - watch this, this one -> 555
Royce Miller - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Really good piece of work, John--trying to teach us boneheads some history?
Rick C - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Ambitious and very well written, John! Bravo! 5555
Michael Pacholek - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
A little shaky in some places, but some great rhymes. And you managed to do it without trying to rhyme "Godwin," Harold's family name. All that was missing was a reference to how the Norman "baits" the Saxon. A worthy entry into the Fitzgerald Tapestry (even without a reference to England's legendary King St. Edmund). Perhaps I should write a 1066 parody, but then, frequently, Hastings makes wastings. And Royce, speaking of "boneheads," one day, ask an Englishman how football (a.k.a. "soccer") was invented.
Dee Range - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Terriffic rhyme scheme, and a good, funny, history lesson. High 5's John!
Peter Andersson - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
I'm with Michael on the shaky, but doing all the verses and a historical subject more than well makes up for that. I've only had time to read two tonight, I'm glad this was my second choice. :-)
2nz - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Damn, I wanted to go one day without learning anything. But then again I already learned today that I don't know how our new phone system works here at work, so never mind. Thanks for the entertaining history lesson, John. Kinda shaky in places, but very well done all the same. And my favorite line was: "All the world assumed he would be French toast."
Stray Pooch - July 06, 2005 - Report this comment
Perhaps your next parody should be "Blue Bayeux?" I can imagine you would have a "tapestry" of ideas to include in it. (I shall refrain from any reference to a certain Carol King album here.) I have considered writing a history of the entire second millenium and calling it "From William the Bastard to that Bastard Bill." Since I have ancestors who came over from Normandy either with William or within a generation afterwards, I guess I have a little bastard in me as well. So I'll have to dock you a point on pacing (it was a tad off) but otherwise, nice job! 545.
Johnny D - July 07, 2005 - Report this comment
Masterful work here, JJ, superbly done. I especially like "French toast" and "English muffin".
Michael Pacholek - July 07, 2005 - Report this comment
Pooch, that's not fair. Bill Gates is not a bastard. Yes, I know who you really meant. Well, the reason Willie the Conk ordered the Domesday Book is that he wanted to tax everything and do it right (also the reason Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem, 'cause Caesar Augustus wanted his taxes), so you probably don't like him any more than William Clinton, the conqueror of Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr and Henry Hyde.

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