My Summer Brothers

It had been a while since I was struck by song inspiration, which vexed me, but in the days leading up to the EK Spring Crown (in which Sir Culann was fighting for me) I found that my muse decided to come and visit.

This is a song about three men who have been influential to my SCA experience, Culann Mac Cianain, Ian Stewart, and Adam Brennan. I presented this to Angus before I left and to Culann and Brennan on Saturday night after Crown was done, dinner was had. (We made the semifinals! There was steak! There were people! Yay!)

Born of a Pembridge campfire at the War of the Roses, I give you the song, which you can hear by clicking the link.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

One summer brother came to me
A strong and comely knight.
That summer brother promised me
That beside me he would fight.
Never was I outside his view,
Nor lost in melee’s hold
Careful and watchful, was my shield,
His presence made me bold!

One summer brother came to me
With warriors at his side
That summer brother
Bade me sing, e’re they set out to ride.
Forty fierce and noble men
Brought wrath at his commands,
Yet would soothe my tears and place mulled wine
Within my hands.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

One summer brother came to me
So by his King assigned
That summer brother
Had given word he’d not leave me behind.
He brought me light to darkened hall
The concerns of all he’d quell,
His vigilant gaze on everything
Assuring all was well.

My summer brothers come to me
Now Duke, Master, and Knight
My summer brothers
Give me joy and stories fine to write.
Our lives have changed in many ways
Since that lazy summer fire
But like the sparks that fleck the night
They warm and they inspire.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

This summer sister loves you all,
You taught her to serve well.
This summer sister proudly sings
And your stories she will tell.
Seldom we stand as merry band
For we are rarely free
But I carry each one of you inside
With each joy and victory.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Will be songs forged of an ancient fame
Yes my summer brothers
Will be songs forged of an ancient fame.

 

Lullaby for the Mistlands

This piece was created for Anonii, Prince of the Mistlands, and his Princess, Helga. Antonii is a friend and has been an Eastern Unbelted Champion, and it was my desire to have a song for him during his reign. It is in celebration of the Mist-Cyguna War which happens every spring.

 

 

O the mighty wall of whitened cloud

Around the swan doth turn.

The mighty host of the brave Mistland

Will stand without concern

And ever there, throughout all time, no battle waged so fair

As the one between the swan and cloud

O would that I were there.

 

Cygunans fight with beak and wing

Their weapons fierce and fine

To cut the wall to the burning sky

Is the swan’s design.

 

Passing through the summer grey

Mistlanders bring the dew

Gathering steam, they build upon the veil

Which hides their retinue.

 

As ordained by the cycling sun,

Lead each with steel and might

Let your honor be your sword,

Favor all within your sight.

 

The bird and brume will ever feud

In contest long campaign

Then in peace shall live a while

As western kindred twain.

 

Maunche – Albreda Alyese

Quiet, gode people, as we praise a quiet worker,

sound the voices from the Eastern thrones.

 

We call one from whose hands the finest fibers flow,

Albreda Aylese, who sets the spear-beam into binding.

 

With strong rods does the thread resound for her.

The whirring shuttle moves across a sea of strands.

The weavers rods her oars, the lozenges her woolen waves,

Her songs are ancient, rhythmic ones.

 

Her progress passes as many nights

as swan-road journeys in the summer.
As snow-hare stands in silent footprint

still, she sits, softly guiding sweetest silk.

She crafts the pattern, bright or subtle.

Flowers bloom eternal at her bid.

Æthelstan would blush at such gifts as she gives.

 

Witness her name weave’d in history

as the newest of the Order of the Maunche.

 

In her heart-home deep in Coldwood,

At the Closing of the Inne

She is granted arms to bear,

Vert, a winged frog salient Or,

Whose form soars o’er the warp and weft

Away from this lateness of September,

on this twenty-fourth day, in Our fifty-first year.

 

It is so done by the hand of King Kenric and Queen Avelina.

* * * * * * *

(Calligraphy by Rhonwen Glyn Conwy, Illumination by ______________

Text by Aneleda Falconbridge, inspired by the Anglo Saxon riddles of the Exeter Book)

 


The inspiration was from Anglo Saxon riddles found in the Exeter Book (and some epic poetry and a little norse-ish prose.)

37 (k-d 56) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_Riddles_of_the_Exeter_Book/37

 

I was in there where I saw something,

a thing of wood, wound a striving thing,

the moving beam —it received battle wounds,

deep injuries; spears caused the hurts

of this thing; and the wood was fast bound

cunningly. One of its feet

was stable, fixed; the other worked busily,

played in the air, sometimes near the ground.

A tree was nearby, that stood there hung

with bright leaves. I saw the leavings

of the arrow-work brought to my lord

where heroes sat over their drinks.

Ic wæs þær Inne þær ic ane geseah

winnende · wiht wido bennegean

holt hweorfende heaþoglemma feng
deopra dolga daroþas wæron

weo þære wihte     ⁊ se wudu searwum

fæste gebunden hyre fota wæs

biid fæft oþer · oþer bisgo dreag

leolc on lyfte hwilum londe neah
treow wæs getenge þe þær torhtan stod

leafum bihongen Ic lafe geseah

minum hlaforde þær hæleð druncon

þara flan on flet beran

The favored solution is Weaver’s Loom. The “striving thing” is the web still in the loom; it is injured by the needle or shuttle passing through it. The spears or darts “must be the teeth of the batten penetrating through the warp.” “The two feet can only be the weighted ends of the two rows of warp threads.” The tree with leaves is a distaff, with flax on it; and the standing warp explains the metaphor of feet. On this see the learned and well-documented article by Erika von Erhardt-Siebold, “The Old English Loom Riddles,” Philologica, Malone Anniversary Studies, Baltimore, 1949, pp. 9–17. Mrs. von Erhardt-Siebold includes with the Loom Riddles 50 (k-d 35), Coat of Mail, which is related insofar as chain mail resembles weaving; and 45 (k-d 70), which is usually solved as Reed Pipe (p. 37 below).

 

Me the wet ground, exceeding cold,

first brought forth from within itself.

Neither am I wrought of woolen fleece

nor of hairs, with skill; I know it in my mind.
I have no winding wefts nor any warp in me;

nor with strong rods does the thread resound for me,
nor the whirring shuttle move across me,
nor the weaver’s rods anywhere smite me.
Worms do not weave me with fatal wiles

which fairly adorn the fine yellow web.

Yet nevertheless the wide world over
one will call me a joyful garment for heroes.

Say now truly, you cunning sage,
learned in language, what this garment may be.

10

Mec se wæta wong wundrum freorig

of his innaþe ærist cende

ne wat ic mec beworhtne wulle flysum

hærum þurh heahcræft hygeþoncum min ·

wundene me ne beoð wefle ne ic wearp hafu

ne þurh þreata geþræcu þræd me ne hlimmeð
ne æt me hrutende hrisil scriþeð
ne mec ohwonan sceal amas cnyssan
wyrmas mec ne ā wæfan · wyrda cræftum

þa þe geolo godwebb geatwum frætwað

wile mec mon hwæþre seþeah wide ofer eorþan

hatan for hæleþū hyhtlic gewæde ·

saga soðcwidum searoþoncum gleaw
wordum wisfæst hwæt þis ge wædu sy

In short, a Coat of Mail—woven, but not of wool or of silk. Weaving is suggested, yet with a series of exclusions to show that the thing is not what you would at first suppose.

 

Chivalry – Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen

One of the great benefits of being a wordwright is that I get to write words of praise and recognition for people who are special to me. Sir Colin contacted me with news that Kennimathor Giersson would be elevated to the Order of Chivalry at Birka and invited me to write the words to the scroll Master Ed MacGuyver would create. I leapt at the chance, because Kennimathor is very special to me. He was one of the Eastern Unbelted Champions from my time as bardic champion, a dear friend, and I had the great honor to be his consort for an Eastern Crown Tourney one fall. It was one of my SCA highlights and so to be able to tell his story this way was, in many ways, a gift to me as much as to him.

I wanted to respect his Norse persona and asked Their Majesties if I could write a nontraditional scroll that they would certify rather than sign. I tried to write of Kennimathor as if his knighting was one of the sagas I’ve read, which have blunt narrative and then poetry. I used some common kennings and created others as I needed them. I chose to feature a verse from the Hávamál that has special meaning to me and would resonate with Kennimathor as well.  

I was also given the honored position of speaking for him at his knighting as the representative of the Order of the Laurel. I called attention to that verse as well, and focused on a theme that art requires protectors who will defend it, uphold it, create it, and be inspired by it.

I also got to help name an amazing sword. Ulfgir the Nice (Jamie Lundell) created a sword for the occasion and we worked together to name it. First, Ulfgir asked people about what to name a Norse sword and Ken took the bait and told him “vengence”. I took that and researched Norse weapons names in ancient literature. Master Friderikr helped me clarify some thoughts and I settled on honoring the Norse god of revenge, Víðarr, with the weapon, naming it “Víðursnaturr” or Víðarr’s gift.

The text I created for Sir Kennimathor is below:


Requested to the law rock by King Brion and Anna, the Queen he served, Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen went to see them. It was Þorri*, the month of men, deep in winter’s grasp. At his approach, the Ring-givers spoke to the people of this oak-limbed warrior, as beautiful and dangerous as winter’s ice. Kennimathor was a son of the northland, raised upon the field of battle. He was rich with kin whose loyalty shone like arm rings.

His skill at eagle-feeding brought notice from the king’s þegns* who said that Kennimathor should be added to their war band. The rulers agreed and gave him a Patent of Arms marked with his sigils: Per saltire sable and argent, two Thor’s hammers inverted and two spears counterchanged. Others brought gifts – a strip of snow-colored leather, a pair of shining spurs, a chain wrought of gold that had been worn by his ancestors, and a fine wool cloak from his kinswomen. His kinsman, Colin, gave him a sword made by Ulfgir who called it Víðursnatur.* When he possessed these things, he was pronounced a member of the Order of Chivalry. His last gifts were stout blows but he returned all save the one given him by King Brion.

An ancient verse was then invoked —

“Then he began to thrive
and wisdom to get.
He grew and well he was.
Each word led him onto another word,
each deed to another deed.”*

Thus was he sent into the world.

Brion and Anna set their marks on all Thing-words at the Birka Marketplace in the Barony of Stonemarche, the outpost where Kennimathor had long served. It was day 28 in the month and the year of the Society was LI.

Their names are signed here, proving that this is true.

—BRION—        —ANNA—


Notes:
The sword was named Víðursnaturr = Víðarr’s gift, after Víðarr, the Norse god of revenge.
Þorri = The time of late jaunary / early february
þegns = seasoned warriors
hirðmaðr =  follower of a king or earl

  1. Þá nam ek frævask ok fróðr vera
    ok vaxa ok vel hafask,
    orð mér af orði
    orðs leitaði, verk mér af verki
    verks leitaði.

from verse 141 of the Hávamál – The Sayings of Hár -http://www.voluspa.org/havamal.htm

 

Maunche – Adrienne d’Evreu

Adrienne d’Evreus is a marvelously science-minded artist. I was invited to create words for her induction into the Order of the Maunche. Her Laurel, Mistress Isabel Chamberlain, lives far off, in another kingdom now, and so the scroll had some transit required! The desired piece required charter text, which is most appropriate for her persona. After a fair amount of looking and tossing a lot of sources, I decided that I’d use the “The Statute of Laborers, 1351” as the base of the text. The language has a great sound to it but it’s actually a somewhat harsh document. (You can learn about the statue here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Labourers_1351).

The Statute of Labourers, was issued after the great plague of the Black Death, which raged in Europe from 1347 to 1349. The same fields remained to be tilled, the same manual labour to be performed; but a large proportion of the labourers had died, and the rest could command what wages they pleased. Edward III, to stop this evil, issued this rather Draconian decree.” (– Henderson, Ernest F., Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages / London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.)

I adapted it heavily to keep the quality of the language and some of the themes, especially parts related to artists, and included my own riff on things as I listed items appropriate to her art and research projects, found on her blog. My goal was to have about 500 words. When done, it was 599 but I really liked it, so I sent Isabell it and an edited one. She chose the larger work to use in the scroll. 

Scroll for Adrienne d’Evreus for the Order of the Maunche, made by Mistress Isabel Chamberlain with words by Mistress Aneleda Falconbridge.

 

Their Royal Majesties Brion and Anna, from whom all Eastern powers flow, direct to the assembled members of the Court greeting. Because a great part of the people, and especially the of noble servants represented by the Order of the Maunche, have so suggested and ordered the consideration of the one named Adrienne d’Evreus, We, considering it is our honor and duty to recognize those skilled in the arts, have held deliberation and treaty concerning this with the prelates and nobles and other learned people sitting by us; by whose consentient counsel we have seen fit to ordain: that said Adrienne d’Evreus, be joined into the Order of the Maunche, to be recognised as such by every man and woman of our kingdom of the East, and to those beyond our borders even into the heart of the Knowne World, of whatever condition, whether bond or free, elder or younger, servant or noble, as one who has been bound to serve that Art which has retained her service for so many years preceding.

Provided, that in thus retaining her service, that she may be given fair reign to work her alchemy for the good of the court and kingdom, to serve without hindrance or interference, and to be granted access to all natural goods that she may require, without prosecution for poaching in the Royal lands, including but not limited to, buckthorn and iris, elderberry and oyster, walnut and oak gall, and any other such provisions as the lands may provide. Further, she is given Our permit to trade without molestation or impediment such alchemical and exotic supplies as may come from the great Ports of the Knowne World, including but not limited to, lead, alum, ochre, saffron, woad, indigo, lye, bones, woods of all lands, feathers, quills, nibs, pens, and other items which she may receive. Furthermore, and no matter what odor her concoction hath wrought, she may grind and soak, wash and rinse, pluck and work, elutriate and levigate at her will and whim.

And if a reaper or mower, fencer or archer, herald or minstrel, piper or tinker, mason or troubadour, other workman or servant, of whatever standing or condition he be, who is retained in the service of any one, do depart her from her selected service, without her leave, permission, or reasonable cause, he shall undergo the penalty of imprisonment, and let no one, under the same penalty, presume to receive or retain such a one in his service.

Likewise saddlers, skinners, white-tawers, cordwainers, tailors, smiths, carpenters, masons, tilers, shipwrights, carters and all other artisans and labourers, must be set to support her, and so they may recognize her, we hereby Grant her Arms that she alone may use: Azure, a fleur-de-lys argent, a bordure gules.

And if the lords of the towns or manors presume of themselves or through their servants in any way to act contrary to this our present ordinance, then in the Counties, Baronies and Provinces suit shall be brought against them for the triple penalty which shall be to live bereft of vermillion, ochre, cochineal, lapis lazuli, vergaut, malachite, saffron, verdigris,  turmeric, gypsum, lamp black, Tyrian purple, malachite and their books of hours shall be left ever empty.

By the Powers of the Crowns of the East and in the support of the Society, it is thus ordained on the Feast of Saint Odo of Beauvais at the Royal Court of King Brion and Queen Anna at the Marketplace at Birka in the Barony of Stonemarche on the 28th day of January in the Year of the Society LI.

King Brion    |    Queen Anna


The Statute of Laborers; 1351

(“Statutes of the Realm,” vol. i. p. 307.)

Edward by the grace of God etc. to the reverend father in Christ William, by the same grace archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, greeting. Because a great part of the people and especially of the, workmen and servants has now died in that pestilence, some, seeing the straights of the masters and the scarcity of servants, are not willing to serve unless they receive excessive wages, and others, rather than through labour to gain their living, prefer to beg in idleness: We, considering the grave inconveniences which might come from the lack especially of ploughmen and such labourers, have held deliberation and treaty concerning this with the prelates and nobles and other learned men sitting by us; by whose consentient counsel we have seen fit to ordain: that every man and woman of our kingdom of England, of whatever condition, whether bond or free, who is able bodied and below the age of sixty years, not living from trade nor carrying on a fixed craft, nor having of his own the means of living, or land of his own with regard to the cultivation of which he might occupy himself, and not serving another,if he, considering his station, be sought after to serve in a suitable service, he shall be bound to serve him who has seen fit so to seek after him; and he shall take only the wages liveries, meed or salary which, in the places where he sought to serve, were accustomed to be paid in the twentieth year of our reign of England, or the five or six common years next preceding. Provided, that in thus retaining their service, the lords are preferred before others of their bondsmen or their land tenants: so, nevertheless that such lords thus retain as many as shall be necessary and not more; and if any man or woman, being thus sought after in service, will not do this, the fact being proven by two faithful men before the sheriffs or the bailiffs of our lord the king, or the constables of the town where this happens to be done,-straightway through them, or some one of them, he shall be taken and sent to the next jail, and there he shall remain in strict custody until he shall find surety for serving in the aforesaid form.

And if a reaper or mower, or other workman or servant, of whatever standing or condition he be, who is retained in the service of any one, do depart from the said service before the end of the term agreed, without permission or reasonable cause, he shall undergo the penalty of imprisonment, and let no one, under the same penalty, presume to receive or retain such a one in his service. Let no one, moreover, pay or permit to be paid to any one more wages, livery, meed or salary than was customary as has been said; nor let any one in any other manner exact or receive them, under penalty of paying to him who feels himself aggrieved from this, double the sum that has thus been paid or promised, exacted or received and if such person be not willing to prosecute, then it (the sum) is to be given to any one of the people who shall prosecute in this matter; and such prosecution shall take place in the court of the lord of the place where such case shall happen. And if the lords of the towns or manors presume of themselves or through their servants in any way to act contrary to this our present ordinance, then in the Counties, Wapentakes and Trithings suit shall be brought against them in the aforesaid form for the triple penalty (of the sum) thus promised or paid by them or the servants; and if perchance, prior to the present ordinance any one shall have covenanted with any one thus to serve for more wages, he shall not be bound by reason of the said covenant to pay more than at another time was wont to be paid to such person; nay, under the aforesaid penalty he shall not presume to pay more.

Likewise saddlers, skinners, white-tawers, cordwainers, tailors, smiths, carpenters, masons, tilers, shipwrights, carters and all other artisans and labourers shall not take for their labour and handiwork more than what, in the places where they happen to labour, was customarily paid to such persons in the said twentieth year and in the other common years preceding, as has been said; and if any man take more, he shall be committed to the nearest jail in the manner aforesaid.

Likewise let butchers, fishmongers, hostlers, brewers, bakers, pullers and all other vendors of any victuals, be bound to sell such victuals for a reasonable price, having regard for the price at which such victuals are sold in the adjoining places: so that such vendors may have moderate gains, not excessive, according as the distance of the places from which such victuals are carried may seem reasonably to require; and if any one sell such victuals in another manner, and be convicted of it in the aforesaid way, he shall pay the double of that which he received to the party injured, or in default of him, to another who shall be willing to prosecute in this behalf; and the mayor and bailiffs of the cities and Burroughs, merchant towns and others, and of the maritime ports and places shall have power to enquire concerning each and every one who shall in any way err against this, and to levy the aforesaid penalty for the benefit of those at whose suit such delinquents shall have been convicted; and in case that the same mayor and bailiffs shall neglect to carry out the aforesaid, and shall be convicted of this before justices to be assigned by us, then the same mayor and bailiffs shall be compelled through the same justices, to pay to such wronged person or to another prosecuting in his place, the treble of the thing thus sold, and nevertheless, on our part too, they shall be grievously punished.

And because many sound beggars do refuse to labour so long as they can live from begging alms, giving themselves up to idleness and sins, and, at times, to robbery and other crimes-let no one, under the aforesaid pain of imprisonment presume, under colour of piety or alms to give anything to such as can very well labour, or to cherish them in their sloth, so that thus they may be compelled to labour for the necessaries of life.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/medieval/statlab.asp

Source:Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.