Thursday, April 7, 2016

Order of the Bedchamber

So, I had decided if I had managed to get into the third round at King and Queen's Bardic, that I would put on my resume (and hope to get asked) to do an Order of the Bedchamber piece. We know, from documents of the court, that there were two Skomorokhi in Ivan the Terrible's Order of the Bedchamber (which was a list of all his retinue that did the home tasks that were necessary). And we also know from journals of visitors that Ivan often enjoyed having his Skomrokhi regale him with songs, poetry, byliny, and epic tales - whether they were true or not. Sometimes he would have them recite epics that were well known and loved. But Ivan also enjoyed getting drunk and wearing masks and doing improv with the Skomorokhi, so almost anything is up for grabs.

In either case, for quite some time now I have been taking notes on phrases that would make good 'Order of the Bedchamber' glory to the King type of praise piece. And that is what I offered to do. Although I didn't make it into the third round, I finally decided I would like to try my hand at arranging all the phrases and see if I could make a worthy praise poem for the soon to be King Kenric of the East, as he and his beautiful lady have always been an inspiration to me.

So, based off a variety of byliny, but mostly the Lay of Igor's Campaign, here is the praise piece for Kenric that I wrote, something that would rival the Skomorokhi tales that were told while Prince Ivan languished in his bathing tub in the afternoons.

O you guests, invited guests,
Honored guests, warrior guests.
You are to be told a wonderous thing.
A wonderful thing and it is no trifle.

I speak of our King Kenric.
Swaddled to the sound of trumpets,
Nursed beneath helmets,
Fed at the spear's point.
He has girded his mind with fortitude
And sharpened his heart with valor.

King Kenric will speed like an ermine into the rushes,
Like a white duck onto the water.
He will spring upon his swift horse
And leap from it like a white footed wolf.
He will speed towards the meadows of AEthelmearc
And fly like a falcon beneath the mists
Slaying geese and swans
For his morning, midday, and evening meals.

What is this noise?
What is this ringing I hear far away?

He shouts.
The earth rumbles.
The grass rustles.
The tents stir.

The East advances on the great plain with scarlet shields
Seeking honor for themselves and glory for their King.

The roads are known to them.
The ravines familiar to them.
Their bows are strung.
Their quivers open.
Their sabres whetted.
They race across the land like grey wolves.

But a like battle was never heard of.
From dawn till evening,
From evening till dawn.
Tempered arrows fly.
Sabres thunder against helmets.
Lances of steel crash amid the land.

A blood red glow will herald the dawn.
Black clouds come in from the East
and streaks of blue lightning quiver within them.
There will be a mighty thunder.
Rain will come-
A rain of arrows.
Here lances will break.
Here sabres will strike against foreign helmets.

Brave thoughts carry our minds to action- to war.

Horses neigh beyond the shires.
Glory rings out in the baronies.
Trumpets sound in the cantons.
Standards are raised in Tir Mara.
The countryside is happy.
The cities are joyful.

We praise the deeds of the past.
Glory to Brennan!
Glory to Caoilfhionn!
Now we must honor the present.
Glory to Kenric!
Glory to Avelina!
Long live the King and Queen!
Long live the retinue!

Glory to the East!