By the Weight of the Chain

This piece requires an introduction.

I wrote this song as a song about chivalry, and The Chivalry in the Society, because I felt there should be a song in which the aspirant has agency and acts on a lifetime of work to achieve her or his goal. I didn’t want a narrative song, about another person, but I wanted a first-person account of the love and work and the valor and vowing that is needed to become a Chivalric Peer. Many of the Knights and Masters of Arms I know who have been recognized as such to date have followed a path similar to the one I outline – each in their own way, but the path seemed pretty clear to me. I also wanted it to work for a man or a woman, and for a Knight or a Master. And finally, it had to have some pep and joy because to me the best chivalry is enacted with a heart of joy and forward motion.

This is that song.

The public debut was at Pennsic 43 at my concert, though it had been sung for two people before that night, one of whom was in vigil when I brought it as a song-gift.

There is a recording of the piece as it was first imagined and performed is at the bottom of the page. It has changed in tune, but it’s a good archive of how this stuff evolves.

The recording below was done at the SCA 50 Year Celebration and features Lady Abhlin and THL Andreas Blackwoode.

Aneleda Falconbridge “By the Weight of the Chain”
written July 20, 2014. Copyright Monique Bouchard 2014.

**By the weight of the chain
of gold I wear upon me
By the white of the cloth
about my body bound
By the spurs on my heels
I do swear upon my honor
to uphold the Knightly virtues
till I lay beneath the ground.**

When I was young
I watched the Knights go riding,
their armor so bright
and their glory brighter still.
My hands were small
but my dreams lay large around me
and once the goal had found me
I set out to gain my skill.

By the weight of the chain

When I had fledged,
I served as I was able,
I found worthy knights
and asked to learn their ways.
My form grew strong,
sturdy plates I wore upon it –
when I finally could don it
and the heavy sword could raise.

By the weight of the chain…

When I had grown
I followed into battles
warriors of legend
with my war-kin at my side.
My mind grew calm,
all their lessons moving through me,
my foes could not undo me
with these masters as my guide.

By the weight of the chain…

When I was raised
I stood before my sovereigns
and my new kinsmen
and unto them pledged my troth.
My heart is bold,
To my best I shall endeavor
to defend the dream forever
which first took me toward my oath.

By the weight of the chain…

When I was young
I watched the Knights go riding,
their armor so bright
and their glory brighter still.
My hands were small
but my dreams they did bind me
now that the goal did find me
I will ever heed its will.

_______________________________________________

…so later I went to the  Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium VII and while there I spent time with old friends and made some new ones.

I’d been invited to be a performer in a concert called “Luminaries” in which performers from 11 Kingdoms would participate. The names were familiar – a veritable who’s who of intimidating order. I was given the chance to perform and represent the East. Selecting the song had me in fits and I finally settled on “Weight of the Chain.”

Now I’d been hanging out listening to music late at night with a pile of people (imagine!) and Andrew Blackwood McBain and Kari Garanhirsson sang “Sons of the Dragon” and I was all kinds of blown away.

So I said, “HEY WE GOTTA DO THIS THING” and dragged them off into the night, you know, like you do.

I sang “Weight of the Chain” to them and then just said, more or less, “Ok. Do what you do.”  Mistress Zsof joined us and gave some artistic coaching as to the arrangement and we practiced it a few times before going to bed.  Before the concert we ran through it twice, where it really locked in.

The concert was pretty cool.

Here’s our part, now with three…

And you can download you own version in mp3 here….
http://mbouchard.com/misc/By-the-Weight-of-the-Chain–Aneleda-Andrew-Kari.mp3

_______________________________________________

Then Kari looked at me with big, soulful puppydog eyes and asked if he could please sing it. So, ok sure! And then Zsof asked if she could play. So, ok sure!

Now, you gotta understand this. Kari is the singer for a band, Deadiron. When he lets his hair out of the ponytail, he transforms into a rockgod. Which happens with alarming regularity and also he has nicer hair than I do so I’m jealous. But I digress…

We tried it. And this is what happened:

Original draft version recording below.

 

Procession for Ro Honig’s Laurel

My friend Ro Honig von Somervelt was going to become a member of the Order of the Laurel at an event in the winter, and I was invited to arrange music for her procession by her Laurel, Mistress Carolyne laPointe.

She has two apprentice-siblings who are both excellent singers and musicians, and we had also a wonderful friend who would act as herald, so it made the creation of something quite special possible.

Because Honig’s persona is German, I searched through the words of many Minnesingers (and the little music I found to go with their words) but found nothing suitable for our procession. I knew that we would have Alexandre St. Pierre play his drum, I would play my harp, and Camille des Jardins would sing. Jean du Montagne would be our herald.

Ultimately I realized that I would have to create something. I found words by the Minnesinger Ulrich von Winterstetten* (who wrote in the 1200s) which read, “Aller sorgen fri  uf gruenem zwi ir mout was guot, ze sange snel.” (Free from all sorrow on the green branch its spirit was good, bold in song.)

I altered the text to honor the Laurel, making it “Aller sorgen fri uf lorebeerbaum ir mout was guot, ze sange snel.” (Free from all sorrow on the laurel tree its spirit was good, bold in song.)

I then looked up each word in a translation site which had the phonetics of the words so I got the timing right in reading them and I spoke them in rhythm for a bit. (I’ve come to quite love the word “lorebeerbaum” after that!)

I then made a small tune – it had to be, for Honig, in a cheery tone and I wanted to keep with the medieval custom of playing fifths. So the tune went as follows:

Music notation and words for  "Der Lorebeerbalm" for Ro Honig

The method we had was to have Jean, the herald, begin the procession by speaking the words in German and then in English, then we sang the song (just one line) with the harp and drum playing. The drum played only in the choruses but the harp continued.

Jean then announced** “Now into this room comes Ro Honig Von Sommervelt member of the Order of the Maunche.” Then singing then, “Now into this room comes Honig Von Sommervelt, recipient of the Golden Lyre.” Then we sang then, “Now comes into this room Ro Honig Von Sommervelt, chatelaine of the Province of Malagentia.” And we sang, then “Now into this room comes Ro Honig Von Sommervelt, descendant of the proprietress of the Tyger and Bucket, the Best Tavern in the Known World.” And then I stopped playing the harp fifths and we sang the piece in a three-part round until all the procession had filtered into the area around the Royal dais.

And then all the important things happened, and we were happy to have done it and relieved it was finished, our fine friend was a Peer and all was well.

— Aneleda

*As she is Ro Honig von Sommervelt, and he was von Winterstetten, I kind of also liked that odd symmetry.

**I may have these out of order; and also my memory of the words is close but not exact, as Jean had created the lauds.

 

Love Conquers All – The Lay of Brennan and Caoilfhionn

This song was inspired by the deed day of my friend, war-brother, protector, Brennan MacFeargus on the day he became first, Sir Brennan, and then Prince Brennan. His love for his lady Caoilfhionn* and family served as his inspiration (for good reason – they’re wonderful) and so in return for her long love, he made her Princess Caoilfhionn. That is totally worth singing about.

We watched the day dawning.
Deep blue turned to gold,
On the road to the tournament
To witness history unfold.

There she sat beside him;
They laughed, then laughed more.
She would stand with arms open
to watch her tyger roar.

for
Love fights the good fight.
Love raises the sword.
Love holds up the banner.
It holds back the horde.
Love cares for the broken.
Love avenges the fall.
Love elevates the simple.
It elevates us all.

A crowd was assembled;
The sun now burned bright.
Tears with cheering mingled
as his red belt turned to white.

Rose then our Sir Brennan
As his pretty Caoilfhionn shone.
In this, as in every other thing,
He would never be alone.

for
Love fights the good fight.
Love raises the sword.
Love holds up the banner.
It holds back the horde.
Love cares for the broken.
Love avenges the fall.
Love elevates the simple.
It elevates us all.

The new Knight paced, ready.
He entered the list,
Gave honor to his lady
From whom all honors exist.

He took down his opponents.
’Twas hard to best his sword.
His resolve seemed to double
With each look from his adored.

The autumn sun was waning
when the final battle came.
Determined to give her this,
He fought now for her fame.

It ended on a heart’s beat.
His children with joy danced!
He set a crown upon his lady;
All who saw it were entranced.

Love fights the good fight.
Love raises the sword.
Love holds up the banner.
It holds back the horde.
Love cares for the broken.
Love avenges the fall.
Love elevates the simple.
It elevates us all.

In one day a knight – a prince –
Crowned true love with gold.
Love lead all the virtues,
for in it others must enfold.

None forget the moment
As the stars did rise that fall
When Eastern prince and princess proved
that love could really conquer all.

Love fights the good fight.
Love raises the sword.
Love holds up the banner.
It holds back the horde.
Love cares for the broken.
Love avenges the fall.
Love elevates the simple.
It elevates us all.

We will do this together.
Our love elevates us all.

____________________________________

* prounced Kee-lynn

Come Again Sweet Love…the Parental Version

A contrafact by Aneleda with apologies to John Dowland

Come again, sweet love – hey that’s enough!
You’ll fall off it again!
I think, thank God you’re tough!
I sit, I sigh, I weep, I’m sure, you’ll die
In deadly pain before your next birthday!

Come away! No! Do not touch that thing!
No stove, stairs or shelves…
Let go or mum will sting!
Don’t touch, don’t grab, don’t eat, don’t throw, don’t whine –
To bed you’ll go, until the end of time!

Cut it out! I told you once before!
That food is not a toy –
You won’t get any more!
To squish, to mush, to pour, to mess, to throw,
into a pile, a laying-on the floor.

HEY! Get down! Do not stand on that chair!
Put those feet on the floor
While mum repeats her prayer:
Dear God, l breathe, in once, and count, to ten
Before I sell this child to Gypsy men.

On the floor, you laugh here while I sing,
then you run toward the stairs
knowing at you I’ll fling,
you stomp, you grin, I grab, you reach, you can’t
For I have you now by the back of your pants!

Come again! Lay your head on my knee.
You seem to know it works –
You smile at mum with glee
I sit, I sigh, I shake my head, and smile.
You drool on me, then play alone a while.

Quiet now. Mum does not like the sound,
It comes to nothing good
When noise is not around
And then, mum hears- a splash! Away to rush,
For that’s the sound of fingers in the flush!

Come again, sweet love – hey that’s enough!
You’ll fall off it again!
I think, thank God you’re tough!
I sit, I sigh, I weep, I’m sure, you’ll die
In deadly pain before your next birthday!

So, we we having kind of “a day” here with the wee Falconbridge Milkdrinker, and for some reason, while I repeated “DON’T” for about the ten-thousandth time, John Dowland came to mind. So, I beg his forgiveness and that of his gravekeeper who will certainly have to trample down the sod over his resting place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiZ44CA3K9Y has a guitarist playing the
tune for those who don’t know it. This version, unlike Dowland’s, has
8 verses. Dowland only has 6. This was likely because he had no kids.

Sept 2008

Ever Comes the Sun

A lullaby for a hard day.
http://mbouchard.com/misc/Ever-Comes-the-Sun.mp3*

Fear not my sweeting
for the the day is o’er
through dire trials many
sleep you now secure.

For all the people
and kindness they have shown
never will leave you
to face the dark alone.

Though there is darkness
ever comes the sun
pulled up from the ocean deep
by these blessed ones.

See watching over
clad in green and blue
doubtless and fearless
they watch over you.

Into all dangers
go they for all
sleep knowing dear one
they protect the small.

Though there is darkness
ever comes the sun
pulled up from the ocean deep
by these blessed ones.

From fearful city
to uneasy towns
none can take our deeds,
they will not cut down.

Many the hands
that come to bear the load
ever we forward look
unwavering from the road.

Though there is darkness
ever comes the sun
pulled up from the ocean deep
by these blessed ones.

Fear not my sweeting
for the the day is o’er
though dire trials many
sleep you now secure.
For all the people

and kindness they have shown
never will leave you
to face the dark alone.

Though there is darkness
ever comes the sun.

____________________________________________________

*I offer half-hearted apologies for any guinea pig noises there might be in the background (there’s a big, ridiculous thud in the middle of this song. This would be a jumping guinea pig. This was recorded at the kitchen table, clock ticking and all, and it seemed that the pigs were mostly quiet but you know – it’s a lullaby. And there’s life, noisy, funny life in the background. Which is exactly how it should be, every day. And this was also a song I just wasn’t willing to let wait until tomorrow.