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….–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.


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