Thursday, September 30, 2010

Words: Alys's Tyger of the East

Jon Blaecstan did the calligraphy and illumination. (I hope to post a picture later. It's a knockout.) My source had a couple lines still in French in the beginning, and Brunissende helped me retain that with her French translation.

As Jon was using the Vienna Codex 1856, a c.1470 Burgundian manuscript, for the art, my search for a poetic source for words began with 15th-century Burgundian poetry. I found Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465), who fathered King Louis XII from his third wife, Marie de Clèves, the niece of Philip of Burgundy; and as well his erstwhile friend, François Villon, with his bizarre itinerant life of writing poetry while thieving in Paris and across the French countryside. François was part of a criminal group called “Coquille”, an organization akin to a small mafia which reminded me of the Morgendammerung gang of a certain Bretonnian thief’s acquaintance (biography).

Charles d’Orleans was a great mentor of poetry in his time: during the last 15 years of his life he received many visitors who joined with members of his household in poetry contests. He supported the poetry of François Villon, who stayed with him sometimes (in between prison sentences, that is). Charles wrote mainly rondeaux and ballades and is now thought to have inspired Charles Baudelaire (Key Figures in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia).

François Villon’s poems inspired me for this purpose: particularly the one below, the opening of which so clearly suggests a Demon Queen of Fence reference.

The bolded lines below repeat, and I’ve partly mimicked this.

Alys Mackyntoich Tyger of the East

Dame du ciel, regents terrienne,
Naguere couronee infernale reine d'espee…

Lady of Heaven and earth, and therewithal,
In early times crowned Demon Queen of Fence…

We, thy right Sovereigns, thy name do call,
And name thee Demon Courtier hence,
For in courtly ways art thou wicked good.

But all Our banter may not mar
Such merits as thy worthy merits are;
Without the which (as true words testify)
A kingdom’s Heaven remains fair and far,
Untouchable, so We reign, and say goodbye.

King Andreas, and Gabriella, Queen,
Lift thee in grace as thou hast lifted Us
And name thee Tyger of the East, full seen
At the Coronation of Our Heirs, done thus
This third day of October, with all trust
That We have chosen what is meet and just.
Anno Societatis XLIV,
A Tyger’s Year, shalt have no loss thereby.
Unto Our blessed court: in peace and war,
Honor this, for We reign, and say goodbye.
Ballade To Our Lady by François Villon, 1431 - ? (disappeared in 1463)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English trans.

Dame du ciel, regents terrienne,
Emperiere des infemaux palus....

Lady of Heaven and earth, and therewithal
Crowned Empress of the nether clefts of Hell,—

I, thy poor Christian, on thy name do call,
Commending me to thee, with thee to dwell,
Albeit in nought I be commendable.

But all mine undeserving may not mar
Such mercies as thy sovereign mercies are;
Without the which (as true words testify)
No soul can reach thy Heaven so fair and far.
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.

Unto thy Son say thou that I am His,
And to me graceless make Him gracious.
Said Mary of Egypt lacked not of that bliss,
Nor yet the sorrowful clerk Theopbilus,
Whose bitter sins were set aside even thus
Though to the Fiend his bounden service was.
Oh help me, lest in vain for me should pass
(Sweet Virgin that shalt have no loss thereby!)
The blessed Host and sacring of the Mass
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.

A pitiful poor woman, shrunk and old,
I am, and nothing learn'd in letter-lore.
Within my parish-cloister I behold
A painted Heaven where harps and lutes adore,
And eke an Hell whose damned folk seethe full sore:
One bringeth fear, the other joy to me.
That joy, great Goddess, make thou mine to be,—
Thou of whom all must ask it even as I;
And that which faith desires, that let it see.
For in this faith I choose to live and die.

O excellent Virgin Princess! thou didst bear
King Jesus, the most excellent comforter,
Who even of this our weakness craved a share
And for our sake stooped to us from on high,
Offering to death His young life sweet and fair.
Such as He is, Our Lord, I Him declare,
And in this faith I choose to live and die.

Words: Violet's OSC

Brunissende did the calligraphy and illumination. I'm unsure of Violet's persona, but I think it's 16th-century lowland Scots. I based these words on 16th-century English poet Edmund Spenser's An Hymn In Honour Of Beauty. The rhyme scheme is ABABBCC.

The first verse of the award text is directly based on the below verse from Spenser.

Violet Coleson OSC

To serve is that which giveth pleasant grace
To all things fair, that kindleth lively fire,
Light of Our lamp, which, shining in the face,
Thence to the soul goes all that would inspire
The goodly deeds in Barony and Shire;
Therewith is Violet Coleson to be seen,
Supporting works for Shire, and king and queen.

Long hath she labour’d, in a quiet way,
For gates and kitchens while the hours spend
Their perfect minutes on the manner’d play
That good and gentle company attend,
Until Our feast meeteth content’d end;
She stayeth then, mayhap into the night,
In setting litter’d land and house aright.

The bees that make the honey, make the hive;
We Edward, and Our fair queen Marguerite,
This blessed day of Anno XLV,
As Our crown’d heirs come to the royal seat,
Induct Our Violet Coleson, as is meet,
Into Our Silver Crescent Order’s line,
And to her person privileges assign.
An Hymn In Honour Of Beauty by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

57 That is the thing which giveth pleasant grace
58 To all things fair, that kindleth lively fire,
59 Light of thy lamp, which, shining in the face,
60 Thence to the soul darts amorous desire,
61 And robs the hearts of those which it admire;
62 Therewith thou pointest thy son's poison'd arrow,
63 That wounds the life, and wastes the inmost marrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trim set for Alesone

A set of linen trim. One of them is 3 colors and two are 4 colors. The yellow one is a pattern I made up tonight that I'm kind of liking.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inkle loom and trim

Some of the trim finished lately.

The pink, tan and cream one is an experiment from one of my first patterns. I changed the pattern some and the loom here is threaded with the new version. There's also some trim for Violet and Lissa that didn't use a pattern, just alternating bands of colors. The white, grey and pale blue one is an experiment from a pattern Bruni made.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Words: Margaret's OSC

Eva Woderose did the calligraphy and illumination for this piece, based on a 14th-century missal. The assignment came to me Wednesday morning for a Saturday court, but I had a few hours and was able to get it out that night.

With the 14-century English missal as the source for the art, I was going to use Chaucer at first, but decided to go for something new. The source, The Letter of Cupid by Thomas Hoccleve, 1402, has a rhyme scheme ABABBCC. The award text is mainly influenced by the first two verses of 'Cupid. I was able to keep very close to them in this case.

Margaret of Rochester OSC

Our juste wyl, unto whos comaundëment
The gentil kinrede of goddes on hy
And mortel Estren folk been obedient,
And Margaret of Rochester serve besily,
Of the East, right Kinge and Quene soothly,
To alle tho that heren Our decree
This faire day, hertly greting sende We!

In general, We wolë that ye knowe
This lady of grete help and reverence
For the newe compaignye y-sowe
Such seed of hy prayse in our audience
And Order, and noon gave she of offence
That it Our eres greveth for to here
That she is not a Companion by this yere.

Wel Edward and Marguerite have thoughte
To remedye this wronge, what shal be sene;
Our Companions of the Silver Crescent oughte
To knowe their honoured wyshes wroughte
A rightwyse order from their kinge and quene;
Forty and fyve our yere, July the tenth day,
Margaret shal amongst your Order stay.

This We do at Our Grete Northestren Warre
In Malagentia, with Our faire court before.
The Letter of Cupid, by Thomas Hoccleve, 1402

Cupido, unto whos comaundëment
The gentil kinrede of goddes on hy
And people infernal been obedient,
And mortel folk al serven besily,
The goddesse sonë Cithera soothly,
To alle tho that to our deitee
Ben sugets, hertly greting sende We!

In general, We wolë that ye knowe
That ladies of honour and reverence,
And other gentil women, haven sowe
Such seed of compleynt in our audience
Of men that doon hem outrage and offence,
That it Our eres greveth for to here;
So pitous is th’effect of this matere.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Words: Alys's Manche

Brunissende did the calligraphy and illumination for this one. I haven't done a legal text in a while, so I made some process notes, omitting the dead ends:

Alys’s persona is 16th-century, from Inverness in Scotland. Since the recipient was receiving the award for work in legal-sourced award texts and heraldry, I searched for early modern English (1500 and after) legal documents, preferably one bestowing a grant (since in many kingdoms this would be a grant-level award, so it's about the closest thing to our Scadian invention). I didn’t see anything that drew my interest until I was reading the Newberry Library of English Manuscripts’ Checklist of Post-1500 Manuscripts:

Cook, Robert
[Armorial bearings of the kings and noble families of Great Britain from the reign of William the Conqueror to that of James I]
England, 1572
Case MS F 0745.1915

This wasn’t a link to a text, but it was a lead. Here was a thing to do: find a legal text from (or for) a King of Arms from a time and place appropriate to the recipient’s persona. This way we can combine legal works and heraldry (the recipient’s accomplishments) on the same document.

From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
Cooke, Robert (d. 1593), herald

From the English College of Arms:
There’s a small image of the document (scroll down a bit) for the “Letters patent of Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, dated 18 March 1576, confirming arms and crest to Henry Stanley, of Sutton Benington, Nottinghamshire, and granting arms for his wife, Anne, daughter of Richard Bradshaw.”

This is English, not Scottish, but it's a nice-looking piece. I sent the link over to Bruni, who mailed the College of Arms asking for a higher-res image of the art. I searched online for its text, but wasn't able to find it. I asked the College for that, but they didn’t respond. (And still haven’t.)

Time was short, since the award was to be given in two weeks and I was going on vacation for the following week. So I found a related text, Robert Cooke bestows arms on the City of Bristol:

By 1570, the city could muster 160 men with new uniforms, equipment and guns with enough for 20 more stored in the Guildhall. The uniforms cost the city another £65 and consisted of cassocks with laced sleeves, breeches and iron corslets. This was quite a sizable force for a city of 6,000 inhabitants as Bristol then was.

John Evans in his 1824 book "A Chronological Outline of the History of Bristol and the Stranger's Guide" describes the letter of patent:

'By a patent of "Robert Cooke esq, alias Clariencieux, principall and kinge of armes of the southe easte and weste partes of this realme of England from the river of Trente southewardes," the arms of the City of Bristol are declared to be "gules on a mount vert, issuant out of a castle silver upon wave, a ship golde;" and the crest and supporters now granted, "upon the heaulme in a wreathe golde and gules; issuant out of the cloudes two armes in saltour charnew, in the one hand a serpent vert, in the other a pair of balance gold; supported with two unicornes seant gold mained, horned; and clayed sables mantled gules dowbled silver." The motto, "Virtute et industria."'

The full text of this letter of patent is in both "Proceedings of the Clifton Antiquarian Club for 1904 - 1908" and John Latimer's "Sixteenth Century Bristol" (issued in 1569).

The source text is written as being from the principal herald and I have written Alys's award text as being from the Crown. I'd be happy to discuss why I've done this if anyone's interested, but I think I've rambled enough in this space.

Alys Mackyntoich OM

To ALL AND SINGULAR AS WELL NOBLES AND GENTLES and others to whom these presents shall come Edward Kinge of the Easte realme first of His name and Marguerite juste Quene sendithe humble comendacons and greeting FORASMOCHAS aunciently from the begining the valiaunt and vertuous actes of worthi persons have ben comended to the worlde with sondry monumets and remembrances, emongst the which the chiefest and most usuall hathe ben the bestowing of privileges which are evident demonstracons of prowes diversly distributed accordinge to the qualities and deserts of the persons meretinge the same to the end that suche as have done comendable service to their kinge or quene or country eyther in warre or peace may receave due honor in their lives.

AND WHEREAS ALYS MACKYNTOICH hath of long time ben lerned in the artes of auncient lawfull documentes and armes by studie of auncient workes and by vertue of techenge the artes of auncient armes to Our divers subjects she now by the Kinges and Quenes Majestie as is aforesaid and by vertue of which merets incluson in Our most worthi Order of the Manche the first privilege thereof there hathe ben a due and lawfull documente, YET NOT UPSTANDING, UPPON divers consideratons We shall require also a medalion bearenge armes, that is to saye, Per pale Or and purpure, a manche counterchanged, WHEREUPPON, CONSIDERING the worthines of the recipient aforesaid We shall by vertue of Our sovereigne mighte require sondry greeting from the Order aforesaid to their new Companion, and knowenge this request to be reasonable, We shall confirm and bestow it unto Alys Mackyntoich, now Companion of the Manche, TO HAVE and HOLDE THE SAID privileges, and she them to keepe for ever more without impediment let or interuption of any persons or persons, In Witness whereof We have subscribed Our hande on the thirde day of July in the yere of our Society XLV, feaste day of Saint Thomas, in Our sovereigne reigne, by grace Kinge and Quene of the Easte, Defendors of the Realme, emongst Tygers the most valiaunt, at Our Northern Region Warre Camp in the Shire of Glenn Linn.
Patent of Arms to the City of Bristol
by Robert Cooke, Clariencieux Principal Herald, 1569

To ALL AND SINGULAR AS WELL NOBLES AND GENTLEMEN and others to whom these presents shall come Robert Cooke esquire alias Clarencieux, Principall Heraulte and kinge of armes of the southe easte and weste partes of this realme of England from the river of trent southwardes sendithe humble comendacons and greeting FORASMOCHAS aunciently from the begining the valiaunt and vertuous actes of worthi persons have ben comended to the worlde with sondry monumets and remembrances of their good deserts, emongst the which the chiefest and most usuall hathe ben the bearing of signes in shildes caled armes which are evident demonstracons of prowes diversly distributed accordinge to the qualities and deserts of the persons meretinge the same to the end that suche as have done comendable service to their prince or country eyther in warre or peace may both receave due honor in their lives and also derive the same successively to their posteretie after them.

AND WHEREAS THIS CITIE OF BRISTOLL hath of long time ben incorporate by the name of mayor and comonalty as by the moste noble prince of famouse memory Kinge Edward the third and laitely confirmed by the Quenes Majestie that now is by the name and names as is aforesaid by virtue of which corporation and sithens the first grant thereof there hathe ben auncient armes incident unto the said mayor and comonaltie that is to saye, gules, on a mount vert issuant out of a castle silver, uppon wave a ship golde, YET NOT UPSTANDING, UPPON divers consideratons they have required me the said Clarencieux kinge of armes to grant to their auncient armes a creaste, withe supportars due and lawfull to be borne, WHEREUPPON, CONSIDERING their worthines and knowenge their request to be reasonable, I have by vertue of my office of Clarencieux kinge of armes confirmed given and granted unto John Stone now mayor, John Hipsley recordar, David Harris, Willm Pepwell, Robert Sayer, Roger Jones and Willm Lawe, Aldermen, Thomas Crickland and Richard Yonge sherives, Robert Halton chamberlayn and Richard Willimot towneclarke, and to their successors in lief office, this Creaste and supportars herafter followenge that is to say, uppon the heaulme on a wreathe golde and gules, issuant out of the clowdes, two armes in saltour charnew in the one hand a serpent vert, in the other a pair of balance gold, supported with two unicorns seant gold mayned horned clayed sables mantled gules doubled silver as more playnely aperth depicted in the margent, To HAVE and HOLDE THE SAID armes creaste and supportars to the said mayor and comonalty and to their successors, and they it to use beare and shew for ever more without impediment let or interuption of any persons or persons, In Witness whereof I have subscribed my hande and set hereunto the seale of my office the fower and twentithe day of August in the yere of our Lorde God A thousand five hondrethe thre score and nyne, and in the eleventh yere of the reigne of our sovereigne lady Elizebethe, by the grace of God Quene of England France and Irelande, Defendor of the Faithe, et cet "Robert Cooke Alias Clarencieux" "Roy D'armes."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Words: Lylie's Pelican

Brunissende de Broceliande did the calligraphy and illumination for this scroll, with scenes including Lylie in court and a bedroom scene for her interest in period bedrooms. Lylie's persona is late 14th-century English, so I returned to 1380's Chaucer for this scroll. Lylie is another of the Wyves of the Oaken Glen, so I used The Wife of Bath from Canterbury Tales as my main source. My need for Middle English words extended beyond one tale, though, so I borrowed from throughout the 'Tales.

For help with pronunciation, I used mostly this guide, including its sound file of the Canterbury Tales Prologue near the page bottom. There was another source, but it seems to have gone offline.

Lylie of Penhyll's Pelican:
Middle English version
(Modern English version below)

In th'olde dayes of the right Kyng Hanse,
Of which that Estren folk speken as grand,
All was this land fulfild of saluyng
In song and word they were rehersyng
For gentils newe to hir compaignye
To revel ful ofte in hir melodye.
Oon swich lady, swete Lylie of Penhyll,
To sondry folk in nede made wist hir wyl
To go ful swithe the regne up and doun
Hem avaylyng, and she niste renoun,
Blessynge halles, listes, kichenes, boures,
Burghes, castels, gates, and toures
With her laboures, for to fynde grace,
And fro hir love for ech thyng fynde a place.
Edward King, and Marguerite our Queene,
Fro hir right laboures ful rekene
That come twenty and nyne, the Roses day,
When mede lylies inspiren month of May,
Forty and fyve our yere, Saint Winebald feste,
We shal make a Pelican of the Este.
This decree a leveful Pere warente.
We give hir arms by lettres patente:

Per pale azure and argent, a fleur-de-lys
per pale argent and azure and a bordure
semy-de-lys counterchanged.

With swich answere as We wolde yow purveye,
Ful fayn take leve, and wende forth youre weye.

Lylie of Penhyll's Pelican:
Modern English version

In the old days of the good King Hanse,
Of which many Eastern folk speak as grand,
All was this land a land of greeting
In song and word they were rehearsing
For gentles new to their company
To revel oftentimes in their melody.
One such lady, sweet Lylie of Penhyll,
To sundry folk in need made known her will
To go swiftly the kingdom up and down
Helping them, and she knew not renown,
Blessing halls, lists, kitchens, bowers,
Burghs, castles, gates, and towers
With her labors, to find her own grace,
And from her love, for each thing find a place.
Edward King, and Marguerite our Queen,
From her right labors, have bid and seen
That come the twenty-ninth, the Roses day,
When valley lilies inspire the month of May,
Forty-five our year, and Saint Winebald feast,
We shall make a Pelican of the East.
This decree a lawful Peer warrants.
We give her these arms by letters patent:

Per pale azure and argent, a fleur-de-lys
per pale argent and azure and a bordure
semy-de-lys counterchanged.

With such answer as We would you purvey,
Full glad take leave, and wend forth your way.
The Wife of Bath from Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer, 1380s English

In th'olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour,
Of which that Britons speken greet honour,
All was this land fulfild of fayerye.
The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignye,
Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.
This was the olde opinion, as I rede;
I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.
But now kan no man se none elves mo,
For now the grete charitee and prayeres
Of lymytours and othere hooly freres,
That serchen every lond and every streem,
As thikke as motes in the sonne-beem,
Blessynge halles, chambres, kichenes, boures,
Citees, burghes, castels, hye toures,
Thropes, bernes, shipnes, dayeryes,
This maketh that ther been no fayeryes.
For ther as wont to walken was an elf,
Ther walketh now the lymytour hymself
In undermeles and in morwenynges,
And seyth his matyns and his hooly thynges
As he gooth in his lymytacioun.
Wommen may go saufly up and doun.
In every bussh or under every tree
Ther is noon oother incubus but he,
And he ne wol doon hem but dishonour.
And so bifel it that this kyng Arthour
Hadde in his hous a lusty bacheler,
That on a day cam ridynge fro ryver;
And happed that, allone as she was born,
He saugh a mayde walkynge hym biforn,
Of whiche mayde anon, maugree hir heed,
By verray force he rafte hir maydenhed;
For which oppressioun was swich clamour
And swich pursute unto the kyng Arthour,
That dampned was this knyght for to be deed,
By cours of lawe, and sholde han lost his heed -
Paraventure, swich was the statut tho -
But that the queene and othere ladyes mo
So longe preyeden the kyng of grace,
Til he his lyf hym graunted in the place,
And yaf hym to the queene al at hir wille,
To chese wheither she wolde hym save or spille.
The queene thanketh the kyng with al hir myght,
And after this thus spak she to the knyght,
Whan that she saugh hir tyme, upon a day,
"Thou standest yet," quod she, "in swich array
That of thy lyf yet hastow no suretee.
I grante thee lyf, if thou kanst tellen me
What thyng is it that wommen moost desiren.
Be war and keep thy nekke-boon from iren!
And if thou kanst nat tellen it anon,
Yet shal I yeve thee leve for to gon
A twelf-month and a day to seche and leere
An answere suffisant in this mateere;
And suretee wol I han, er that thou pace,
Thy body for to yelden in this place."
Wo was this knyght, and sorwefully he siketh;
But what! He may nat do al as hym liketh.
And at the laste he chees hym for to wende,
And come agayn right at the yeres ende,
With swich answere as God wolde hym purveye;
And taketh his leve, and wendeth forth his weye.
He seketh every hous and every place
Where as he hopeth for to fynde grace
To lerne what thyng wommen loven moost;
But he ne koude arryven in no coost
Wher as he myghte fynde in this mateere
Two creatures accordynge in-feere.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Words: Antonio's OGR

The recipient's persona is late-period Italian. The callligraphy and illumination for this piece were by Eva Woderose, based on Missal (Harley 2912) of late 16th-century central Italy (possibly Rome). The original text was in Latin. I based the words on Gerusalemme Liberata, 1580 Italy, by Torquato Tasso.

The source was written in ottava rima, 8-line stanzas grouped into cantos of varying length with rhyme scheme ABABABCC. The text was most influenced by the verses below.

Antonio Patrasso
OGR (Backlog)

O gracious court of Anno XXVIII,
Lucan and Jana, second of their names,
This 23rd of April, Saint Pusinna’s date,
So order verse be writ for due acclaim
And privileges of an increas’d estate,
That lawful words uphold a lawful claim:
Antonio Patrasso We raise hence
To the Golden Rapier’s Order and defense.

To our Companions, that venture forth
To wars, and our lands defend
From friends of Ignorance and Error’s worth,
Your thoughtful eyes upon this labor bend:
We, in Malagentia’s frozen north,
Our Kingdom University attend
To in turn defend your favor’d due
As spring’s pledges blossom and renew.
Gerusalemme Liberata, 1580 Italy, by Torquato Tasso

O heavenly Muse, that not with fading bays
Deckest thy brow by the Heliconian spring,
But sittest crowned with stars' immortal rays
In Heaven, where legions of bright angels sing;
Inspire life in my wit, my thoughts upraise,
My verse ennoble, and forgive the thing,
If fictions light I mix with truth divine,
And fill these lines with other praise than thine.
Ye noble Princes, that protect and save
The Pilgrim Muses, and their ship defend
From rock of Ignorance and Error's wave,
Your gracious eyes upon this labor bend:
To you these tales of love and conquest brave
I dedicate, to you this work I send:
My Muse hereafter shall perhaps unfold
Your fights, your battles, and your combats bold.

Words: Cellach's Court Barony

Brunissende de Broceliande did the calligraphy and illumination for this court barony scroll. I based the words on The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, 1590. Not much liking the period Irish poetry I found, I used the English Spenserian stanza from The Faerie Queene, which is at least set in Munster. The scroll words were most influenced by two stanzas from Canto I.

Cellach ingen Chernaig
Court Barony, with Grant of Arms

A lovely Ladie kneels us faire before,
With yeres of labour done for gentle artes,
Wherein the needle pricks a vele or gore
And dresses it with threde ere it departs;
Such ladies close we hold within our hearts
Who tireless spread a craft with full support;
As pretious as fine flax in laden carts,
Or silke from storied Easterne farms and ports,
Most deare is she, a Baronesse of our Court.

Cellach ingen Chernaig is faire called she;
King Konrad and Queene Brenwen full bestow
Her barony with grant by this decree
At Mudthaw and full pleasd the rows
Where gentles from Athena’s Thimble show
Their vertues in embroideries displayd;
This Anno XLIV so will all know,
We have full orderd writ that which we say,
Done this bold March the 27th day.
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, 1590

A lovely Ladie rode him faire beside,
Upon a lowly Asse more white then snow,
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
Under a vele, that wimpled was full low,
And over all a blacke stole she did throw,
As one that inly mournd: so was she sad,
And heavie sat upon her palfrey slow;
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,
And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.

So pure and innocent, as that same lambe,
She was in life and every vertuous lore,
And by descent from Royall lynage came
Of ancient Kings and Queenes, that had of yore
Their scepters stretcht from East to Westerne shore,
And all the world in their subjection held;
Till that infernall feend with foule uprore
Forwasted all their land, and them expeld:
Whom to avenge, she had this Knight from far compeld.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Words: Raven's Pelican

Jonathan Blaecstan did the calligraphy and illumination for the Pelican scroll of Brannat Dub, called Raven. As far as he knew, the persona of the recipient is Scots-Gaelic, so I used "The Poet asks an Irish Patron for a Harp", Scottish-Gaelic, c. 1450, from The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English on my shelf.

Although my original persona was Lowland Scots and I've used Scottish legal documents, this was my first foray into Scottish poetry. Gaelic is also a linguistic nemesis: with this handicap, and with time constraints, I chose in this case to follow content and flavor over meter. There're many parallels between the scroll and source texts: you can see the first in the swapping of the first two lines of each.

Brannat Dub, called Raven

Under the rule of Andreas and Gabriella,
wheat flourishes on Eastern plains;
each ear of corn carries its full burden
on the black-cherried lands of Our gains.

The most joyous court of the Eastern realm
is its king’s fort, on its green-jewelled leigh:
the white castle with its precious stones
above the tranquil Eastern sea.

Numerous and noble are the members of Our house,
numerous Our hunting hawks on the wing;
wine is quaffed in that capital of garnered plenty:
it is the palace of a noble king.

Cows yield sweet milk in milking folds;
the East has fallow land rich in grass;
Andreas, lord of all,
has fierce bloodhounds watered by a lass.

We, Andreas, and Our fairest, Gabriella,
have come, and good is Our reason,
from Our fair lands to war, as is meet:
for war and reward each have their season.

Even so, at war, We call one to honor:
Brannat Dub, O raven-haired one,
lass who looks after Our bloodhounds and men
and all others who thirst in the warmth of the sun.

The account of your works, Brannat, called Raven,
has been chronicled in a fair, loving hand;
everywhere, the watchful have seen your labors
and your careful services are in demand.

O Daughter of the East, for your provisioning
of water, in this kingdom and afar,
your establishment of safe practice, your cleaning,
washing, sweeping, ever following your star

We decree, at this August’s foreign war,
Your inclusion in a loved and famed Order:
Pelicans, know her as your Companion
From this day on Aethelmearc’s fair border.

Thus in Anno Societatis 44 do We bestow upon Brannat Dub, called Raven, Arms by letters patent:

Per pale argent and gules, a raven sable and in dexter chief a mullet azure.
“The Poet asks an Irish Patron for a Harp”
By Giolla Críost Brúilingeach
A poem in Scottish Gaelic from c. 1450
Translation to English by Derick Thomson
From “The Poetry of Scotland—Gaelic, Scots and English”,
Edited by Roderick Watson, ©1995

English translation:
The Author of this is Giolla Críost Brúilingeach

Red wheat grows on smooth plains
under the rule of Tomaltach, lord of Céis;
on the white-hazelled domain of Coll’s descendant
each ear of corn carries its full burden.

Cows yield sweet milk in milking folds;
he has fallow land most rich in grass;
both in its smooth demesne and its hilly land
it is lovely country bearing a heavy crop.

Tomaltach, lord of all,
has fierce deerhounds on golden leashes;
in early morning there are studs of horses in the proud assembly
round the most warm lough of virtue.

The most joyous court on the ridge of the world
is Mac Diarmada’s fort, with its bright aspect:
the white castle with its precious stones
above the tranquil lough of Cé.

Horns and goblets and fair-wrought cups
are there in the thronging court of Lough Cé;
wine is quaffed in that capital of garnered plenty:
it is the palace of a noble king.

Numerous are the members of his household, comely and noble,
numerous his gestures and tall steeds;
spears and blades and mailcoats,
and sedate, large-kneed, stern men.

I have come—good is my reason—
from Scotland to visit you, as is meet,
drawn by your fame, O white-footed son of Connacht,
O great handsome Tomaltach.

I have come to make a request of you,
from Scotland, O golden-haired one,
over the stormy sea with its clustering wave-tops,
chill and huge, the home of grilse and salmon.

A harp in special, in return for my poem,
grant me at my request, O king,
O countenance like the ripe fruit of the apple-tree,
for this is something that you happen to have.

O Son of Conchobhar of the Rock’s haven,
to pay poet-bands befits you well;
the account of your handsomeness is being chronicled;
may Ireland be yours for your filling of hands.

The daughter of Walter de Burgh of Brega
is a famous lady who does not stint store;
her hair is deep-trenched, bright-locked, in tresses:
she is the choice among Ireland’s fair ladies.

Caitilín of the white palms
has a long lovely hand decked with rings;
red her lips, luscious and noble,
gleaming the rosy nails of her hands.

Gaelic version from the oral traditions of Argyll and Perthshire, Scotland:
Auctor Huius Giolla Críost Brúilingeach

Cruithneacht dearg ar maghaibh míne
fá Thomaltach chosnas Chéis;
bídh ar clár collbhán uí Cholla
lomlán a droma ar gach déis.

Lacht milis ag buaibh i mbuailtibh,
branar fa féaraighe fonn;
fá h-árainn mhín is fá monadh
tír álainn fá toradh trom.

Míolchoin gharga ar iallaibh órdha
ag Tomaltach ’s ceann ar cách;
sguir go moch san aonach uallach
mán loch bhraonach bhuadhach bhláth.

An chúirt as aoibhne ar druim domhain
dún Mheic Dhiarmada as geal gné
i gcaisteal fionn na gcloch mbuadha
ós cionn Locha cuanna Cé.

Cuirn is cuaich is copáin chumhdaigh
i gcúirt líonmhoir Locha Cé;
ibhthear fíon san chonnphort chnuasaigh:
is longphort ríogh uasail é.

Iomdha a theaghlach álainn uasal,
a éideadh ’s a eachradh ard;
iomdha sleagh is lann is lúireach,
agus fear mall glúineach garg.

Tánaig mise, maith an t-adhbhar,
dot fhios a hAlbain, ó’s cóir,
mád teist, a Chonnachtaigh chaisghil,
a Thomaltaigh mhaisigh mhór.

Cláirseach ar leath dom dhán damhsa
tabhair mar iarraim, a rí;
ghnúis mar bhláth na h-abhla abaigh,
ó’s ní tharla agaibh í.

A mheic Chonchobhair chuain Chairrge,
cubhaidh riotsa díol na ndámh;
tá cuid do sgéimhe dá sgríobhadh;
Éire dhuid ar líonadh lámh.

Inghean Bháiteir a Búrc Breaghdha,
bean nósmhor neamhghann má ní;
folt cladhach cúlghlan na gcéibheann:
rogha úrbhan Éireann í.

Deárna álainn fhada fháinneach
ag Caitilín na mbas mbán;
dearg a h-imle solta saora,
‘s ingne corcra laomdha a lámh.