Tag Archive | engineers

To Beat the Chamade of Love

Another contemporary English merging of the seasons of Mars and Venus – this one a bit more technical, not to mention more genteel, than the previous post.

A Letter from an Engineer in Flanders to his Mistress in London.


This is now the fourth time I have summon’d you to Write me an Answer to my former Epistles. I am now set down before the strong Town of Tournay [besieged 1709]. I believe it will rob us of a great deal of Time, Men, and Money, before we can be possess’d of that Fortress: Nevertheless, you may assure your self, as soon as it falls into our Hands, I shall make bold to lay close Siege to your Cittadel, howsoever Fortified.

If you have ten thousand Charms I have as many Compliments at my Command: I am a Man of Honour, and so much Generousity, as to let you know on which Side I shall attack you, though contrary to the Rules of War. If I break Ground the first Night, though it be with the Expence of some Blood, I shall value that no more than a Templer does an Oyster Women, or a Hackny-Writer does Engrossing Bills at Nine Pence per Skin. If I have but the good Luck, when I attack the Horn-Work of your Stays, as not to suffer a Repulse, I shall then, with more Courage, place my Digites upon your Demi-Bubbylunes, which will enable me to force the Counterscarp of your Hoop-Petticoat; Batter the Stockades of your Gambrils, the Pallisades of your Toes; make a Breach in your Curtell with my Culverin; pass your Fossee o’er the Gallery of you Affections; force you to Beat a Chamade of Love, and yield your self a Prisoner at my Discretion.

Alas, that fictional engineer would have had to wait: the bloody battle of Malplaquet and yet another siege – of Mons – awaited him in Flanders.

A moment of silence please…

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban

(15 May 1633 – 30 March 1707)

Vauban's final resting place (his heart at least)

Vauban’s final resting place at Les Invalides (his heart at least)