This drawing is inspired by a beautiful poem, called 'Laüstic'.
The earliest version we know today, was written down by Marie de France (late 12th century). In the land of Saint Malo there was a famous town. Two knights lived there and had there two strong houses. One had married a wise wife, courteous and well turned out. It was wonderful to hear the pains she took, according to their manners and customs. The other was a bachelor well known among his peers for his prowess, his great value and his generous welcome.
He loved the wife of his neighbour. They kept their love very secret and took care that they weren’t found out, disturbed nor suspected. Nothing troubled them. They were both very much at their ease, though they couldn’t at all attain to their wish because the lady was tightly guarded when her lover was in town.
At night, when the moon shone and her lord was asleep, often she left his side, got up and wrapped herself in her mantle. She went to her window to her lover, whom she knew was there. So often did she get up that her lord got irritated. Many times he wanted to know why she got up and where she went. “Sir,” the lady replied, “he has no joy in this world who won’t get up to hear the nightingale sing. It’s to hear him that I come here. So sweet is his voice in the night that hearing it is a great delight for me and I have such a desire for this joy that I can’t close my eyes and sleep.”
When her lord heard what she said he gave a corrupt and angry laugh. He thought of one thing only: catching the nightingale in a snare.
When the nightingale was taken they took it alive to the knight. When he held it he was very happy and went to his lady’s chamber.
“Lady,” said he, “where are you? Come here, so I can speak to you! I’ve caught the nightingale in a trap because you’ve been kept awake by him. Now you can sleep in peace, he’ll keep you awake no more.”
When the lady hears him, she’s sad and heart-sick. She asks it from her husband, and he quickly kills the bird there. He breaks its neck with his two hands. Then he did something too bad to say: he throws the body at his lady so that it bloodies her dress a little above her breast. And he goes out of her room.
“Alas,” said she, “bad luck is on me! I can no longer get up in the night nor betake myself to the window from which I used to watch my lover.”
The Bretons made a lay of it. They called it “the nightingale.”
This is a selection from the literal translation by Jack Ross.
But of course you prefer to read the entire Old French poem, which you can find here, for example: [link]
(including the translation)
I drew this picture for several reasons. First of all, because we're creating a song about this poem with our band at the moment. But also because I am awed by the poem from the moment I read it, it simply can't get out of my mind. Thereby I wanted to submit it as an entry for the the "insanity" contest at
since this group is the only one I really like for the group itself. I think you will hardly find a more inspirational gallery on dA. Most of all I love the sharing of wonderful stories.
So by submitting this drawing to the contest, I wanted to tell people another beautiful tale! It is rather heartbreaking, the way the husband treats his wife, keeps her prison in her house, kills the little bird and throws it at the woman. So I wanted to put the focus of the drawing on that sadness, inflicted by the man's cruelness. You see, insanity is not cool, it's dangerous. This sick man is smothering all the woman's joy in life.
I made a subtile contrast between cold and warm tones, with the red blood and the light blue eyes standing out. Just so you know, because the scanner.... did SO not understand :/ *sigh*
Here is the link to the reference [link]