Silver Crescent for Cateline la Broderesse

Scroll for Cateline la Borderesse illuminated by Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt  with calligraphy by Alexandre St. Pierre.
Scroll for Cateline la Borderesse illuminated by Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt with calligraphy by Alexandre St. Pierre.


A tous nobles oyant ces dires issant de l’humble serviteur de leurs majestés Kenric et Avelina y voit grande joie.Chanson m’estuet chanteir de la meilleur qui onques fust ne qui jaimais sera. Huimais ne dot mie que n’aie boen jour car sa grant dosour n’est nuns qui vois die. Mout a en li cortoizie et valour bien et bontei et charitei I a.Qui est cette dame? Car celle l’ot fait, qui bien euvre de fil de soie et de fil d’or, c’est Cateline la Broderesse belle au chief noir.

Bele Cateline, a la fenestre au jor, sor ses genolz tient paile de color, a un fil I fet coustres beles, cost un fil d’or, l’autre de soie.

D’un boen samiz une robe cosoit; a son ami tramettre la ami, en sospirant, ceste chançon chantoit: “Sainte Clare, tant es douz li nons d’amors! Ja n’en cuidai sentir joie!” Tard la nuit travaille,. Telle la lune dans le ciel, un croissant d’argent.

“Et Deus il voile merir  toz les biens k’elle m’anvoie. Car se je mualz estoie ce diroie ju ensi, “dame, grant merci.”

Car temps est dores en avant de recorder des bons le bein, por animer celi qui a present sont adonnez a toute arte et service, tout bien et honneur.

Pour que soient reconnues ses nombreuses heures de service, qu’elle puisse joindre, telle broderie au tissu, l’ordre du Croissant d’Argent.

Mandé de par Kenric et Avelina, suzerains des Terres de l’Est, en l’occasion de la Fête des Rois dans leur fief d’Anglespur ce sixiesme jour du Janvier, anno sociatis XLVIII.



Words by Aneleda Falconbridge with translation assistance from Baron Pellandres dit le Frere (Jean Francois Jacques).
** St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of embroiders

To all a nobles who will take my recommendation as herald of Their Majesties Kenric and Avelina, I give joyous tidings.I must sing a song about the best womanwho ever was or will ever be. Henceforth I am not afraid of not having a good day, for her great sweetness, is greater than anyone can say. She is filled with courteousness and virtue, with goodness and kindness and charity.

Who is this lady? She who worked well in gold and silver thread and made it, beautiful dark haired Cateline la Broderesse.

Lovely Cateline, at the window in the light, has on her knees a cloth of bright color which she stitched beautifully with thread. She sews with one golden thread, another of silk.

She was sewing a robe of fine silk. She meant to send it to her friend, sighing all the while she was singing this song: St. Clare, how sweet is the name of love! I never thought it would bring me such joy!” She works through the night. The moon shines down, a silver crescent in the sky.

May it please God to reward her for all the good things she sends me. For even if I were mute I would say this, “Many thanks my lady”

For now it is time to recall the good qualities of a worthy woman in order to inspire those who are presently devoted to art and service, goodness and honor.

To reward her long hours of service she is joined as silver threads to cloth to the Order of the Silver Crescent.

At the command of King Kenric and Queen Avenlina, Monarchs of the Eastern Realm, at the celebration of Feast of the Three Magi on Twelfth Night, in the Shire of Anglespur this Sixth Day of the New Year, anno sociatis XLVIII.

Cateline’s Silver Crescent was wonderful because her persona is very clear and while she serves in many leadership roles, one of the major points of her service is that she creates many gifts for others at the request of royalty or for friends having peerages. I chose to make the scroll using French working songs, about and sung by women, as the basis for the scroll.

I had not planned to actually make it in French, but to just choose one line as a highlight for the English. As it would go, my lovely friend and Northern Army hero Baron Pellondres was available to help me with one small change and from there it snowballed and the next thing I knew it was totally in French. He translated the opening and closing sections, as well as changed the gender of one section reference to praise a woman rather than a man.

The words of this piece come largely from early French working songs which women would sing (and maybe wrote) called “Chansons de Toile” from the late 12th and early 13th century. Many of these song-stories reference a woman sewing or embroidering cloth for her beloved, they are about love lost and found, bad happenings and good ones. Because sewing and making cloth beautiful was regular woman’s work, it is often mentioned at least in passing in the pieces.  I took many of those references and wove them together to make the whole of the piece. They were sung while working, it is proposed, and I pictured Cataline as the singer/subject of the songs as I created.

Because French is open to so many end-rhymes, these songs have beautiful cadence. Many have a small chorus and a beautiful end rhyming scheme for which French is perfect. Because this is a more utilitarian thing, I did not try to make it poetic in that way, and I don’t have sufficient command of French to create poetry in that language. Also, its calligraphy destination is as prose, so it seemed like it was better to just make it beautiful prose.

I was extremely blessed that the herald for the event, Rowen Stuffer,  was willing to have it read in both languages. I am so indebted to Master Lucien de Pontivy for his reading of it in Old French, which was, frankly, stunning. (The hall went silent – not even a murmur – as the scroll was read. I kind of swooned.)

The following pieces were used in the creation of this one:
All original text for the scroll was translated by Baron Pellendres dit la Frere.

“Galeran de Bretagne” – a poem by Renault
“Quant vient en mai que I’on dit as ions jors” – Chanson de toile
“Chans de singe ne poire mal pelee” – Sotte chanson
“The Lay of Pergamon” 197v-198r from the tales called “Perceforest”
“Chanson m’estuet chanteir de la meilleur” by Rutebeuf
“La Bele Aye” – Chanson de toile
“Bele Yolanz en ses chambres seoit” – Chanson de toile

A line-by-line breakdown of the document is available here….Cateline12thNightText.