When Kolfinna Valravn asked me to write the scroll text for Mestra Esperanza Susanna Flecha’s Laurel, I jumped at the opportunity; I’ve admired Esperanza as both an individual and an artist virtually since I joined the SCA, and I was honored to be asked to write words to honor her and her art.
The exemplar that Kolfinna chose was by Caravaggio, which meant I would be looking at late period poetry (I had to write poetry for Esperanza. Had to.). I had already been writing a significant amount of late period poetry recently, especially iambic pentameter. I knew I was pretty locked in with iambic pentameter, but I wanted to change it up slightly, so I decided to go with the Spenserian stanza. This was created by Edmund Spenser in the late 1500s specifically for The Faerie Queene. It provided a good length for scroll text: nine lines per stanza would provide plenty of space in two stanzas, without overtaxing the scribe with verbiage. The form itself is still iambic but more complicated than a sonnet: the first eight lines are pentameter with the ninth being hexameter, and the rhyming scheme is a fun interlaced ABABBCBCC. Having taught this poem multiple times before, I felt comfortable with the form despite not being too experienced in it.
For the final (jaw-dropping) scroll, see Kolfinna’s website.
Before proceeding further, hear these words:
The kingdom sings the praise of flowing quills
That smoothly flourishing, depict th’ interred,
Find in darkness and death delightful thrills.
Though dressed in fluffy plumes and gentle frills
No contradictions found in her bright cheer;
‘Tis black and white, the extent of her skill,
With swooping ornaments rightly revered.
Esperanza Susanna Flecha’s worth is clear.
The beauty of her art cannot be writ
With tines and tips in minims fat and lean.
Suitable rhymes and swirling strokes must flit
With brushstrokes painting proper peerage scene.
The will of Eckehard, King, and Jane our Queen,
Marked in pen and ink with gentility,
Is ornamenting her with leaves of green,
Gilding her with fame by royal decree.
All shall know that Esperanza a Laurel be!
Done by Our Hand on November 20th, A.S. LVI, at Holiday Faire in Our beloved Barony of Stierbach.