So now, as this post goes out on the day of his memorial concert - he was a composer - I'm going to remember him. And I'm going to do it in a historical way - in my usual historical way, actually. I'm going to report on the ancestors.
When I was little there was a small typed piece of paper stuck up the bath, which, steam-stained and ancient, read thus: 'This family is directly descended in two lines from Robert the Bruce, therefore we should rescue spiders from a dreary end in the bath'. My grandfather (he died in 1960) had put it up, and I spent much of my childhood rescuing spiders from a dreary end in the bath. At one stage, knowing that Marat had met such an end, I believed him to be spider. Such is the confusion of small knowledge on small people. But I digress.
When I wrote my Book of the Heart, in the last years of the last century, I discovered that Robert the Bruce wanted, when he died, his heart to be taken to Jerusalem. It was accordingly taken south, via Spain, by one Sir James Douglas, in 'ane case of silver fyn, enamilit throu subtilite', which he wore around his neck. With 'Good Sir James', 'the Black Douglas', rode Sir Symon Locard of Lee who, having distinguished himself fighting the English, was given the honour of carrying the key to the precious case.
Sir James and his party got caught up in a battle between the King of Castile and the Saracen King of Granada. In the course of it, surrounded by enemies and seeing that all was lost, Sir James took his precious necklace and flung in front of him into the heat of the fight, crying: 'Onward as thou wert wont, I will follow or die!'
He died . . .
The heart in its locket was discovered, after the battle, under Sir James's corpse. It was taken up, and Sir Symon and Sir William Keith carried it back to Melrose Abbey in Scotland. (There, after being lost, and the subject of much dispute, it was finally reburied in a new box in 1998. Yes, 1998.)
After his return, Sir Symon Locard changed his family name to Lockheart, later Lockhart. He added to the family coat of arms a heart in a fetterlock, and the motto Cordo serata pando: I open locked hearts.
So. My beloved was called Robert Lockhart. Did his many-times grandfather carry the key to my many-times grandfather's heart, or the heart itself, back in the fourteenth century? It gave us pleasure to imagine so.
At my father's funeral I read this poem:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Robert set it to music for me. Before he lost his voice to throat cancer, he recorded himself reading it, over the beautiful piano and violin setting he had written. Susan Bullock is going to sing it on Sunday - today, when you read this.
Looking it up today, I came across this:
http://www.contrariwise.org/tag/ee-cummings/ - scroll down, and you will find the heart-carrying section. Yes, it gives me ideas.
Raise a glass to him today. He had the key to mine.