Friday, May 04, 2007

Saint George and his dragon

Saint George and the Dragon

But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,

For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore
And dead (as living) ever he adored.

It was the feast of Saint George last week, and the dragons were breathing down our necks all morning as children preferred to toss the schooling to the side for a time, to create, play, and choose the chivalry of slaying a dragon to spelling and math lessons. For a time I fought their desire to this instinctive play, imagination surrounding me to create a chaos, and much laughter. Surely Saint George would consider searching for the dreaded dragon of great importance, and so it was.

It’s all my fault really, especially after reading the favorite story again of "Saint George and the Dragon" by Margaret Hodges, followed by “A Squire and a Scroll” by Jenny Bishop.

The playmobil dragons came out with one figure resembling St. George. The battle had been re-enacted, and it seemed any room I entered throughout the day had something trickling into it about Saint George and his dragon.

With window markers in hand, a marvelous creation appeared on a son's window, with castle and dragon in amazing detail noted for all to see. The photo below truly doesn't do the artistic endeavor much in the way of justice from the lighting outside, however use your imagination and know it was great!

As some think this is only a legendary figure, like St. Patrick he is not. Here's a little something to chew on...

best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton.

According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish.

The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George,
making the sign of the cross, bravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection as patron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted.. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churches, honour, the clergy and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in the dragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer.

Saint George and two dragons!