June 26, 2015 by phicks2012
In the SCA we have Peerages to which we elevate those whose talents, skills, and contributions have so impressed the Crown and others throughout the Kingdom that they are deemed worthy of extraordinary notice. We have Knights (singled out for skill in Heavy Combat), Laurels (known for skill in the Arts & Sciences), Pelicans (Renowned for their skill in Service), and now Masters of Defense (marked for their skill in Rapier Combat). All Peers of all flavors are also expected to maintain a certain standard of deportment, and to share their knowledge with others, taking students to train and to mentor. The Knights take Squires, the Laurels take Apprentices, the Pelicans take Proteges, and while the usage hasn’t had time to solidify into tradition, I’m given to understand that the new Masters of Defense (in some Kingdoms) take Provosts, and that some former Dons who are now MoDs intend to continue taking “Cadets”. On the other hand, alternate suggestions are many (and not all serious). I’ve heard Lackey, Minion, Peon, Warden, Prefect, Flunky, Patsy, and Stooge (but only when taken in groups of three). 😉
But back to the point, to earn a Peerage is a great honor, and not to be taken lightly, no matter which Peerage is being referenced. Expectations are high, and a Peerage is not a “merit badge” awarded upon completion of a “checklist”. Pelicans, especially, are elevated based upon a wide range of achievement, since service can take so very many forms. Great service is required, and the quantity and quality of that service are judged accordingly. However, we can and do encourage and advise our Proteges in their service, giving them pointers on general standards of behavior, attitude, and interaction, and the verse below was written with that in mind.
I hope some enjoy it.
“The Pelican’s Nest”
When a fledgling appears in a pelican’s nest
With its promise all brilliant and new,
If tis eager to grow, and to render its best
It can one day be one of the few.
To be fed upon knowledge should be its desire,
Nesting there in the days of its youth.
It should ever be willing lead and inspire,
There evolving in fealty and truth.
To be tutored in service, and fostered in skill;
If tis destined to rise and take flight,
It will need to keep honor, persistence and will,
And the needs of the many in sight.
It cannot only follow where others may lead,
And it should not expect only praise.
If it falters or fails it should own to the deed,
And go on to delight and amaze.
It should strive with humility, leading with grace,
Never bully, demean, or shift blame,
For the ones who inspire hold a coveted place,
In the light cast by history’s flame.
And the few who will rise from the nest and take wing
Will be honored, and never succumb.
They will kneel in their time at the feet of a King
To be praised for what they have become.
[16 January A.S. XLIX, 2015]