Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lament for the Golden Rapiers

The Order of the Golden Rapier (that's the East's White Scarf equivalent for those who are not Eastern) has suffered the loss of a number of members in the last few years.  Most recently, this weekend, Jehan Fitzalan passed away far too soon.

King's and Queen's Bardic Championships is coming up this weekend.  One of the components of the competition is to do a piece on an "SCA theme."  I had originally planned to take a period musical piece and write some modern English SCA-themed lyrics.  I did this, and one day it will be performed.

However, during my insomnia the other night, while searching for something else, I found "Lament for the Makers," a poem written by the Scottish poet William Dunbar c. 1505.  The poem is a tribute to dead Scottish poets as well as a meditation on the transitory nature of life.  It's in 16th cen. Scots.  It is beautiful.   You can find the original poem here: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poems/lament-makers

In honor of the OGRs who have passed, I have re-worked Dunbar's poem, still in 16th cen. Scots (thank you Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (http://www.dsl.ac.uk/)), to honor my fallen brothers.  I will be performing it as my "SCA-themed piece" on Saturday.  It may not be as polished as what I wrote weeks ago, and I don't think I'll have it memorized, but it is from the heart.  There will be documentation and footnotes for the Scots terms by Saturday.

Lest anyone think I am a better poet than I actually am, the parts actually written by me are bolded now.

by Alys Mackyntoich, adapted from "Lament for the Makaris" by William Dunbar (1456 - 1513)

Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
This fals warld is bot transitory,
The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

The stait of man dois change and vary,
Now sound, now seik, now blith, now sary,
Now dansand mery, now like to dee;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

No stait in erd heir standis sickir;
As with the wynd wavis the wickir,
Wavis this warldis vanite.
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

On to the ded gois all estatis,
Princis, prelotis, and potestatis,
Baith riche and pur of al degre;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

He takis the knychtis in to feild,
Anarmit under helme and scheild;
Victour he is at all mellie;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

That strang unmercifull tyrand
Takis, on the moderis breist sowkand,
The bab full of benignite;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

He takis the campion in the stour,
The capitane closit in the tour,
The lady in bour full of bewte;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

He sparis no lord for his piscence,
Na clerk for his intelligence;
His awfull strak may no man fle;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Death he hes my brethers tane,
Allace! they nocht with us remane,
So schort, so quyk, our lyvys be:
  Timor mortis conturbat me.

Death hes done petuously devour,
The nobell Morgunn, Aethelmearc’s flour,
Of goldin ordour our prymarie;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Gud Maister Patris du Chat Gris
In sepulture  rests lamentablie,
Gret reuth it wer that so suld be;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

He hes the honoured Don Michel
Slaine with his schour of mortall ills;
A bettir fallow did no man se;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

In Endeweard Death hes done roune;
A swerds-man of great renoune,
Don Gregory enbrast hes he:
Timor mortis conturbat me.

And he hes now tane, last of aw,
Capteyne Jehan gud gentill saull,
Of quham all wichtis hes pete:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Sen for the deid remeid is none,
Best is that we for dede dispone,
Eftir our deid that lif may we;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

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