Alexander acquires the horse he will ride into many later battles.


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11/16/2009: Rhythm section (drums, bass, rhythm guitar). No vocals or lead guitar.
2/17/2010: Lead guitar done. No vocals yet.
2/25/2010: Tweaked lead guitar tone. Still no vox.
3/2/2010: Vox recorded, principal recording is done.
3/31/2010: De-harshed the vox with a bit of EQ.
7/16/2010: Alpha mix.
8/19/2010: Beta mix.


Milord, the emissary mocks us
With the tribute he has given
Of what use is the swiftest
Strongest steed that can't be ridden

Our finest riders all
Have failed to break the beast
Permit me to slay it now
And serve it as his feast

Father, let me try my hand
No finer mount in all the land
Could be the envy of the gilded south
Father have you seen our guest
Smirking at his private jest
Let honey turn to brimstone in his mouth

Milord, that beast will kill the boy
A spectacle no doubt, but one
The queen would not enjoy

I can make more sons if this one's not as sharp as he thinks
Either way watch that smug Thessalonian choke on his drink

Sweet stallion be calm, you need not fear an attack
Just because of the shadow of a man on your back
We'll face the sun to ride until you finally learn
And someday we'll ride away and never return

Father, have I made you proud?
Fearless as I face the crowd
Triumphant after all before me failed
Father, might I know my place?
I read no answers on your face
So strange to see your wild eyes seem so veiled

A word of explanation:

Sometime during Alexander's tween years, a Thessalonian horse dealer
offers the powerful but previously untameable horse Bucephalus to
Alexander's father Philip, who declines the offer. Legend has it that
Alexander, having observed the animal's behavior, realizes he gets
spooked when he sees his shadow. It seems unlikely to me that a
horse would be afraid of its own shadow, but I think it's completely
plausible that the shadow of a rider would look like an impending
attack by a predator, triggering instictive defense mechanisms like
bucking and kicking. At any rate, Alexander offers a deal to his
father: if I can ride him, can I keep him? Philip agrees.

While it might seem like reckless endangerment by today's standards,
Philip has ample reason to indluge Alexander's request. First, the
Macedonian nobility is constantly pressuring Philip to produce
a full-blooded Macedonian heir (Alexander's mother is foreign).
If Alexander gets himself killed, it will make them happy. If he
succeeds, it will shut them up for a while. Perhaps more important,
throughout his life, Philip gives Alexander the opportunity to fail
or excel on his own merits, never to be mere pampered royalty.

Alexander turns Bucephalus toward the sun and rides successfully.
Everyone is stunned. This is allegedly the source of Philip's statement:

"My son, seek thee out a kingdom equal to thyself; Macedon has not room for thee".

Modern historians consider Philip's quote to be apocryphal since it seems
out of character if taken at face value, but I speculate he was being sarcastic
and a little bit condescending after Alexander's unexpected success (maybe
even keeping a poker face to conceal a little bit of genuine pride).

Alexander later rides Bucephalus into many battles, and founds a city
in his name after he dies.

Copyright 2009 Jeff Buser.

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