April 3, 2013 by phicks2012
As I mentioned previously, my hobby is History and I participate in the SCA. while the real Middle Ages were not an entirely glamorous time to live, with life being hard and short for most, there were some very inspiring things about the period. I love the art and the music and the architecture, and the dress, and the concepts of honor and chivalry. I love the heraldic display, and the skilled craftsmanship, and the beauty of illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells, and I find it amazing and heartening that I can look about me today and see ordinary people around me who, thanks to the SCA, are producing extraordinary things and are behaving in a way far more gracious and honorable than they otherwise might.
It’s not just about dressing funny and bowing to the Crowns, and calling everyone milord or milady. It’s also about having a code of behavior and living (part time, of course) in a world that rewards such virtues as honor, and courtesy, and gallantry, and service, and artistic achievement with praise and esteem. It has blessed me with renown (albeit in a relatively small theater) and inspired me to come out of the closet with my art, and made me a better and more confident person, and for this if for nothing else I would owe the SCA my gratitude. Thank you!
The poem below was written in that spirit of gratitude:
Lords & Ladies
There were Lords and there were Ladies in the histories of yore,
And the Kings held regal scepters, so tis said in elder lore.
Crownéd heads and noble virtues were the stuff that legends made;
Mighty arms and swords of valor earned heroic accolades.
There were songs of faith and revel, all in celebration sung.
There were poems writ to beauty, and in halls bright banners hung.
There were silken favors given; on the hills stood castles tall,
And the blades were raised in honor when came forth a battle call.
But with time the virtues faded, and the legends were forgot,
All our heroes disremembered as the standards fell to rot.
Long ago the armor rusted, and the brilliant banners frayed,
And the walls began to crumble ‘round the castles Kings had made.
All the years they passed, so many without sight of shining helm,
Or of chivalry and honor in a lost and saddened realm.
There were so few Kings to follow; fewer Knights to call at need,
Seldom Queens embodied virtue, and the fools were fools indeed.
Then at last upon a Beltane, when the world seemed all bereft,
Came a tournament chivalric, calling forth what we had left.
And the banners were rewoven, and again bright armor worn.
As these latter dreamers gathered, on that day the Dream was born.
Then the music was remembered, and the poetry returned
To a land where we were waiting for the tales so long unlearned.
We reclaimed our silks and linens, and our blades were polished bright
As with combat, art and service we reclaimed each hearts’ delight.
And today we raise our glasses. Drink a toast to Crown and Heirs;
Serve a feast not soon forgotten as we cast off all our cares.
Let the legends once more flourish, for as rare as it may seem,
There are Lords and there are Ladies in our world to live the Dream.
[May 1st, 2008]
First Published in the June 2008 Popular Chivalry
Popular Chivalry is the official Kingdom Newsletter for the SCA Kingdom of Meridies