Friday, June 26, 2015

For Bjarn and Orlaith on the Occasion of Their Wedding

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, June 26, 2015

Bjarn food-finder                    Orlaith oath-singer
Hungers for more                    Weaves her way brightly
Odin’s-hand gifted                 Freyja’s most loved
Handler of hunt-beast             Sky-mead maiden
Raven-feeding warrior            Valkyrie striding
Bound now together               Bound now forever
Praised by skald singing         Avowed by the Althing
Two wolf-hearts one               One heart beats on

Written in the style of a Norse poem without following the conventions of any style in particular.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ten Shall Remain

By THlaird Colyne Stewart, June AS 50 (2015)

For the Barbarians, upon winning the ten-man tournament at Murder Melee XXXII.

To Melee came            a host of might
A horde to fight          upon the field
As ravens flew                        and wolfen fed
All teams of ten          all trained to stand
To face the foe            to fight and bleed
When trumpets call’d              the thunder came
The horde fell to         the happy heri
Bright steel well-swung          the poets sang
As blood fed grass      as beaten fell
‘Til one side stayed     the bar’brous swords
In riches draped          the righteous awed
From beah-gifa’s hand            the heart of Rome
To plunder right          to rich-make home

Written in the style of Old German versification.

This form is made up of lines divided into hemistichs by a caesura. Each hemistich had at two stressed syllables and at least two unstressed syllables. The syllables in each hemistich almost always followed one of the following metrical patterns:

The A-line: / x / x (knights in armour)
The B-line: x / x / (the roaring sea)
The C-line: x / / x (on high mountains)
The D1-line: / / \ x (bright archangels)
The D2-line: / / x \ (bold brazenfaced)
The E-line: / \ x / (highcrested elms)

I used the B-line, though I broke the pattern in the first hemistich of the last line.

Alliteration must occur between at least one stressed syllable in each half-line. It should be noted that all vowels alliterated, and so did any words starting with the letter G (whether the syllables had assonance or not).

Heri is an old Germanic term for army, and beah-gifa means “giver of rings” here referring to the Baron and Baroness of Ben Dunfirth.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ardchreag Einvigi II

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, June AS 50 (2015)

Konungr called
Skalds spread the call
War-born came
To high cliffs hall
Ox-cloak spread
Spear-din commenced
All fought all
In Freyja’s name

Blood-worms fed crows
Bold ring-rich fought
Feet firm set
Hel claiming dead
Hœnir wept
For Mjolnir-slain
But for one
Bjarn the untouched

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ode to my Leg (Lost at Pikeman’s in AS 50)

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, June AS 50 (2015)

So sturdy, strong, a trunk my thew, sweet leg,
That takes me into battle’s brutal fray,
Encased in leather, and secured with peg,
And moves me into shieldwall ‘fore my prey.
At marshal’s call my line does fast advance,
A foe-man bold assaults against our might,
My shield-mate, vig’rous, clad in steel and brass,
Doth swing a mighty stroke with broken lance,
Misses foe-man, I feel sharp edge bite,
And find my lost leg lying in the grass.

Ardchreag Einvigi

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, June AS 50 (2015)

A squire to the tourney went,
Though arm was sore and élan spent,
For king had called for all to fight,
To show their strength and skill and might.
With token from his love, his life,
The squire went to tourney’s strife.
Long was the list of honoured foes
All blessing ‘round with mighty blows;
The squire found it hard to rise
But fought on with his trembling thighs;
The love of combat, love of king,
The love of household, all these things,
But most of all for love of her
His one true love was vigour’s spur.
‘Til finally, heralds halt the duels,
Award to winners sparkling jewels;
He, with few vic’tries to his name,
Before his lover kneels in shame,
And tries to hand her favour back,
With fingers numb and hanging slack;
She cups his face, he did her well,
For even spent he stayed the swell
Of combat, fought on, did not quit,
Earned her respect with every hit,
Squire, though victor next to none,
Then knew that he had truly won.

Monday, June 8, 2015

For the Honourable Lord Albrecht Stampher upon being Named a Vigilant of the Order of the Laurel

By THLaid Colyne Stewart, June AS 50 (2015)

[Voice 1:]
I sing now of a man most wise,
Who is adept at all he tries,
And has now come to Royal’s sight.

[Voice 2:]
I sing now of a man most prized,
Whose blade flashes’ neath the skies,
And who is known well for papers that he writes.

[Voice 3:]
I sing now of a man who tries,
Who where others fall he doth still rise,
And who wields a pen long into night.

[Voice 4:]
I sing now of a man who cries
With joy as manuscripts higher rise,
And with whom base ignorance doth lose the fight.

We sing now of Albrecht, eyes
Set upon the scholar’s guise,
Who will be raised to gloried height.

By Their decree, the Herald cries
For Albrecht, Laurel, to arise,
And bid him be a teacher bright

Written as a lied. The lieder (the plural of lied) were several types of German songs as they were referred to in English and French writings. The earliest examples are from the 12th and 13th centuries and were the works of the Minnesingers.

The lied proper usually made use of the bar form. It was made up of a strophe (stanza) divided into two stollen (confusingly also referred to as stanzas, and collectively known as an aufgesang). They were followed by an abesang (the after-song). It was apparently not uncommon for the stollen to be of different lengths. Melodically, the abesang would mirror the end melody of the aufgesang. The bar form was usually represented as AAB (with the As being the two stollen and the B being the abesang).

The courtly minnelieder were monophonic (a single melodic line). As musical notation of this period was not precise, the rhythmic interpretation is open to debate.

In the 14th century the monophonic lied went into decline, while the polyphonic lied was introduced (for two or more voices or voice and instruments).

In the 15th century the polyphonic lieder expanded to having up to four voices, and were addressed to scholars and clergy.

As Albrecht’s persona is 16th century German, I went with the later polyphonic version of the lied, which fit quite well as he is being made a Laurel for research, and the later lieder were often addressed to scholars.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Helheim Unfed

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, June As 50 (2015)

The rotter of bodies
Ravished my friend
But she fought
Like no other foe
Warrior stout
Weary but brave
Baldur’s best
Eir has well blessed

Writen as a kviðuhátr for Raven Haraldson, who beat cancer.

Kviðuhátr was an 8-line alliterative verse form, resembling fornyrðislag except that its lines alternated between three and four syllables. Alternatively, other sources say it is line 3, 5 and 7 that are 3 syllables with the rest being four. The alliteration can also carry over from one line to the next (so a word in line 1 alliterates with a word in line 2, a word in line 3 with line 4, and so on).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

For Korigan and Helen upon the Occasion of their Wedding

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, May AS 50 (2015)

When love binds hearts and friend to friend are one,
And vows are said and seen by kith and kin,
With hands tied fast beneath officiant’s grin,
Then love o’er hate the day has brightly won.

With vow to spouse, daughter proud, and son,
The lovers stand united midst glad din,
And on the floor they gleeful, playful, spin;
So sweet the kiss that can not be undone.

Written as an English octave. In English, an octave consists of 8-lines of iambic pentameter (while in Italian would be hendecasyllabic). The most common rhyme scheme for an octave was abba abba, which is what I used here.

The first line of the second stanza refers to the fact that Korigan and Helen did not just make vows to each other, but also to their children, making them part of the proceedings and further binding them together as a family. It was very touching.