Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

P-Polit-Songs-art - 2/7/05


"Period Political Songs" by Baron Hrolf Herjolffsen OP.


NOTE: See also the files: p-songs-msg, song-sources-msg, songs-msg, SI-songbook1-art, Bardic-Guide-art, music-bib, singing-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org


Period Political Songs

by Baron Hrolf Herjolfssen


Bards in the SCA are often criticised for writing verse that is not always ÔniceÕ.  I thought that I would include a couple of songs to show how mild we are in comparison to period practice.

This is a filk (yes, they can be period) by an unknown author using the tune of a popular hymn of the time.  It celebrates the murder of Edward IIÕs ÔfavouriteÕ Piers Gaveston by the Barons in 1312.  As well as being openly flaunted as the KingÕs lover, he was regarded by many as being the person who actually ran the country.  His friends and relations were pushed  into positions of power and this was also resented  by both the Barons and the commoner people.

De Petro de Gavestone

Vexilla regni prodeunt,
fulget cometa comium

Comes dico Lancastri¾
qui domuit indomium

Quo vulneratus pestifer
mucronibus Walensium,

Truncatus est atrociter
in sexto mense mesium

Impleta sunt qu¾ censuit
auctoritas sublimium

Mors Petri sero patuit, —
regnavit diu nimium

Arbor mala succitur
dum collo Petrus c¾ditur: —

Sit benedicta framea
qu¾ Petrum sic aggreditur !

Beata manus jugulans !
beatus jubens jugulam !

Beatum ferrum feriens
quem ferre nollet s¾culum !

O crux, quae pati pateris
hanc miseram miseriam,

Tu nobis omnem subtrahe
miseri¾ materiam !

Te, summa Deus Trinitas,
oramus prece sedula,

Fautores Petri destruas
et conteras per s¾cula !  AMEN

You didn't think that I would leave it untranslated did you?

The banners of the kingdom go forth, the comet of Earls shines, I mean the Earl of Lancaster, who tamed him whom nobody else could tame; whereby the pestiferous one being wounded by the blades of the Welsh, was disgracefully beheaded  in the sixth month.  What the authority of the powers above has been fulfilled; the death of Peter at last has been effected — he reigned much too long.  The bad tree is cut down, when Peter is struck on the neck: — Blessed be the weapon which thus approached  Peter!  Blessed be the hand which executed him! blessed the man who ordered the execution!  blessed the steel which struck him whom the world would not bear any longer!  O Cross, which allowed to be suffered  this wretched misery, do thou take from us all the material of misery.  Thee, highest God in Trinity, we pray earnestly,  destroy and crush for ever the maintainers of Peter.  AMEN

The following is the start of a song written during the reign of Henry III in the early thirteenth century.  For reasons of space,  I only have the translation (these things are long).

Song on the Corruptions of the Time

How wide and how long is the web of crimes with which our breasts, choked with vices, are enveloped, tell and reveal.  O muse, with a mournful countenance, if you care to touch the heart of the spectator with your lament.  The wretched and profane people seem to form their wishes in consideration, not of the price of virtue, but of flax or wool:  what is done in the evening is unwrought in the morning. O cares of men!  O how much emptiness there is in things!  Every eye is blind to justice; every mind is large in injustice; a thousand hopes of men and the differing aspects of things depend on the dice and uses of fortune.  When chaste maidens join in dance with the strumpet, when the Arabs play the pauper under the robe of a beggar, when Tydeus denies his faith to his Polynices, then, if you are admitted to the spectacle, my friends, can you restrain your laughter?  If you are anxious to know all men by their several failings, who practise sloth, who are the plotters of treason, who are the servants of Mammon, who are the despisers of God, we must observe the manners of every age of life.  The boy, as he learns the use of feet, hates the doors, flies abroad; he respects things and honour less than the least; anger and joy succeed each other with short intervals, for the changes are sudden.  The youth flies from his tutor and confinement; he delights in horses, dogs, dice and wine, a hunter of his pleasures, whose occupation is with women, a slow provider of useful things, prodigal of money.  When arrived at manhood, that he may rule the citizens and dictate to the pr¾tor, that he may extend his possessions with a longer cable, and fill his bags with greater treasure, he seeks riches and friendships and is a slave to honours.  (and six more pages)

These are taken from:
Wright, Thomas (1839) The Political Songs of England: From the Reign of John to that of Edward II
Camden Society, London.



Copyright 2002 by Cary J Lenehan, 16 Maweena Pl, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia. <lenehan at our.net.au>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org