I was extremely excited when Kolfinna Valravn asked me to write the text for Valgard av Mors’ Laurel scroll, and even more excited when I found out she was basing it on the Franks Casket (full details here!). I knew that Mors is an amazing smith (making the Franks Casket, with its depiction of Wayland the Smith, even more appropriate), but she had a few additional suggestions: skulls are good, and make it metal. In addition, the space we had was quite tiny, which I love – I love space constraints that require me to write something perfect for the individual in as few words as possible. Since we were in my happy home of Anglian artifacts, I of course had to write alliterative verse; since I had been reading more alliterative verse in the last few months, I had a much better sense of where I could bend the constraints of the form in the process. Once I latched on to an opening phrase and a few specific images, the poem sprung almost fully-formed, only needing some minor editing and adjusting to make sure the flow was as perfect as possible.
When Aurri le Borgne asked if I wanted to collaborate on an Opal scroll for Ilhuicacihuatl de Xochimilco, I lept at the chance! Ilhuicacihuatl is an incredibly giving person in both time and energy, an amazing teacher (I’ve learned so much from her classes), and a force to be reckoned with in New World studies in the SCA. In short: she’s awesome, and I wanted to be part of creating a scroll for her!
And then Aurri clarified that she wanted me to do both wordsmithing and calligraphy, and I went… okay. I was still considering myself a baby calligrapher, and I knew that whatever was out there was going to be far outside my wheelhouse, but it was worth it! (Also I don’t think I can call myself a baby calligrapher after this piece anymore!).
After convincing myself I couldn’t learn Nahuatl in less than a month and therefore an original language composition was out of the question (for now), I dived into research, looking for both a calligraphic hand and appropriate text. I quickly discovered Bernardino de Sahagún, a sixteenth-century friar and Nahuatl nerd who recorded both cultural and literary information regarding the Aztec people in a Western alphabet (score!). In the time I had, I couldn’t find both a literary text in translation and digitized manuscript, but I found two related pieces: The Florentine Codex, digitized by the Library of Congress and in Bernardino’s own hand, and Ballads of the Lords of New Spain: The Codex Romances de los Señores de la Nueva España, which was probably recorded by Bernardino, exists in one 17th-century manuscript, but available transcribed and translated by John Bierhorst and available for free online. Aurri had found a similar manuscript from Bernardino for the illumination, so we were good to go!
First: wordsmithing. Nahuatl poetry is new to me, and so at this point the most historically accurate I could get would be by cobbling together bits of the translated Ballads and massaging them into something that works for an SCA scroll. I read through the entirety of the Ballads (which aren’t particularly long), and I was struck by both the beauty and cultural resonance of the pieces. Despite knowing very little about the culture, I could still see the significance of multiple items and images (such as gold, jade, and flowers — flowers abounded!); I was moved by how the poetry wedded joy in beauty and sadness at its transience. Because I’m a language nerd, I still had to do a little linguistic digging, so I used the online Nahuatl Dictionary to look up Ilhuicacihuatl de Xochimilco’s name. I giggled at how perfect the name was for her and decided to work it into the scroll text.
The final text uses lines from poems I, II, IX, X, XVIII, and XXXIII in the Ballads:
Friends, let us go sing in Marinus, in Atlantia, on the second Day of Love. Eckehard and Jane have come to string jewels, to adorn with flowers. They value as gold the good service of a heavenly woman from flower fields; her heart and works are jade. Let there be broad plumes and opals: let Ilhuicacihuatl de Xochimilco be inducted into the Order of the Opal. May all know her name, may her flowers not wither. Let’s drink—let’s eat—cacao flowers: our hearts are glad with flowers this February 26, A.S. LVI.
Because I knew Ilhuicacihuatl was making chocolates for the event where this would be received, I had to include “let’s drink—let’s eat—cacao flowers” directly from Poem IX. Also, since the translation by Bierhorst rendered the poetry in a visually prosaic form, I retained that for the scroll text.
Next, the calligraphy! I was really lucky that I had an exemplar from one person, right? Right? WRONG. Y’all, Bernardino couldn’t write an “a” the same way twice in The Florentine Codex. He also couldn’t write the same size twice. Or keep his slant consistent. That said, all of this was a boon to me: I struggle with slanting scripts, and this late-period hand was entirely new to me (and learned in less than a week), so any inconsistencies in my version actually make it more accurate! Ha! An additional benefit was that his handwriting was not too different from earlier batarde scripts, which I had practiced in the past, so all-in-all it was not too difficult a task to handle. My final version was still a little rounder than the original, but I’m still pleased with how it came out.
For the ductus, I tried to use mostly letter-forms from the Nahuatl part of the manuscript; however, I had to fill it out with letters from the Spanish part, as there are multiple letters used in English and Spanish that did not appear in the Nahuatl text. Even with that, there were some letters that are fairly common in English that I couldn’t find in the manuscript (especially K and W), so I had to hypothesize my own letter forms for that based on the original.
To make sure that I got the calligraphy right on the first try, I did a test piece on Bristol using the same nib and ink (I don’t remember the nib size, but the ink was Noodler’s Eel Black). This piece was fairly successful, with only a couple errors but good spacing, so I taped over the errors and simply traced it for the final product.
I think it came out all right!
Esa inghean Donnchaidh was one of the first people I met in the SCA, and the memory of our meeting is engraved on my heart. We very quickly found out that we shared many interests (including dance, Scotland, the 14th century, and “early period” Britain). She’s also a fantastic researcher, doing masters-level (or higher!) research in her free time on women’s health and menstruation (you can check out her blog here and her website here). As a newcomer, she made me feel seen, welcome, and safe.
So when her Laurel, Beatriz Aluares de la Oya of the Spanish Seamstress, asked if I could find the time to write the words for Esa’s Golden Dolphin scroll in a tight turnaround, I thought I would rather gnaw off my own arm than say no.
Since the exemplar was from the Aurora Consurgens manuscript, specifically of “Bleeding Woman in Zodiac” / “Zodiac Menstrual Cycle,” I knew it was time for some iambic pentameter again! That said, the Aurora Consurgens manuscript is from the 15th century, slightly earlier than other recent scrolls I’ve written for, so I decided to use rhyme royal, a seven-line stanza in iambic pentameter with an ABABBCC rhyming scheme. Bonus: Geoffrey Chaucer first used this in the 14th century!
The poem itself has many nods and winks to Esa’s work, deeds, and path in the SCA. I am not going to explain them here, as they are for her pleasure to enjoy and discover.
The final scroll was calligraphed and illuminated by Baroness Ingegerd Kastanrazi.
O Venus, shining morning star, your light
Cannot be curtly dimmed by sun or moon.
Your curving path inscribes a divine flight,
A warming sight, a wondrous heavenly boon,
That reddens, flickers, blazes. Your face festoons
The midnight sky with glowing mystery,
Luminous bleeding generosity.
This wand’ring star has brilliant earthly twin
Whose arduous work illuminates the shade.
With labors long in stony broch and glen,
Heavy tasks she welcomed, refined, and weighed,
Service, wisdom, and truth bound and displayed.
The wise women know worth in blood and bone:
Esa inghean Donnchaidh their beloved own.
For love of Esa are these words proclaimed,
From Stierbach’s gates throughout the kingdom decreed.
Justice done by gentle Eckehard and Jane
Who thus award, as sages have agreed,
A lady who aids in spirit, word, and deed.
Th’ Order of the Golden Dolphin awaits
Esa, newest member, to celebrate.
Done November 20th, A.S. LVI, at Holiday Faire.
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.
I was honored to be asked to write the scroll text for Aemelia Rosa’s Pelican! Kolfinna Valravn did a beautiful job with the scroll, and it was super fun discussing our collab and making sure it fit the recipient. We agreed that the scroll text should be written like prose in a block (which is fully period and also let me write more words, ha!), but it was in fact a Petrarchan sonnet with some prose for the end matter:
Attend, Atlantia, to thy Queen and King
To hear of duty and dedication true
Steadfast service in many colors and hues
From Aemilia Rosa eternal springs.
No scribe or poet can number everything:
Though uncountable hours and great works ensued,
Sweet sacrifice and struggles were not eschewed.
She does not recoil from sharp arrows and slings.
Now in this sweet Barony of Hills so Bright
Eckehard and Jane make known Our will as the Crown:
What now must she become but a vulning Peer?
A gentle Pelican with wide wings of white,
When Fiery Trials and Royal Archers abound.
May all rejoice from what is presented here!
Thus also do We award her the sole and exclusive right to bear arms, to wit: Vert, a domestic cat’s head cabossed ermine maintaining in its mouth an artist’s paintbrush fesswise argent, a bordure ermine. Done by Our hands this day, October 2, A.S. LVI. In witness thereof, I Triton Herald set my hand by these letters Patent.
This poem is a treasure of Atlantia, begun by Duke Cariadoc of the Bow and expanded for Atlantia’s Thirtieth Year Anniversary, so I was honored when I was asked to update it for the Fourtieth Year Anniversary.
However, updating it was a bit of a challenge, as there was no information in the Poeta binder and several years were missing, so first I had to scour the internet for different versions. Then, I reached out to several helpful folks, including past Poetas. Several past Poetas were available to write the poems for reigns during their tenure, and I was kindly offered some verses by others. In addition, as I looked more closely at the poem, I realized that a few of Cariadoc’s original verses were repeated in the longer Thirtieth Anniversary verses, making it a little confusing to follow.
Therefore, I decided to add a new framing device that explained the poem’s origins and transitioned from Cariadoc’s verses to the fuller poem. Reflecting on the fourtieth anniversary, I also decided to honor the Crowns of the Principality before we were a kingdom by adding verses for them; this also created a smoother transition from Cariadoc’s original verses while also created distance between the verses that are repeated in both the original and the longer poem.
Because I also found it difficult to navigate the poem, I numbered the verses and reigns in the final text, which will be given to the next Poeta, and which I reproduced here as best as possible. Finally, because credit matters, I revised the credits to include both the verses and the reigns that each person wrote for, so it is easy to identify authorship in the future.
Now, without further ado, the Atlantian History Poem, updated for the Fourtieth Anniversary!
In ancient times and distant lands
A challenge came to pen a rhyme
Cariadoc stretched out his hand
and captured Atlantia’s crowns sublime
The first twelve crowns he placed in fame
for posterity and pride of peers.
With glowing stanzas for each name,
the duke’s own words follow here:
Carissa, Queen of all the East,
With Michael gave our realm its throne–
And then, before their reign had ceased,
They won it back to be their own.
Now Anya is a queen most rare.
Bertrand full half his kingdom knows.
He can describe each lady fair–
But not the color of her clothes.
In floods of mead the benches drown (verse 5)
And great the glee of thirsty men
When Gyrth, great-gutted, takes the crown
And Melisande is queen again.
Jahn and Tuiren have done more
Than ever lords of coast and sea-salt.
For they have ruled from shore to shore
Atlantia to Drachenwald.
Now Bedford’s blade in fury falls
And for his foes ’tis death to find it.
Duke Michael is a moving wall
Carissa wholly hid behind it.
It was Sir Olaf, when he fought,
For Aslinn with his heart and hand,
Who by his skill and fortune brought
Atlantia’s crown to southern land.
Now Richard Corwin for his Anne
Atlantia’s crown has bravely won
He’s just a good and faithful man
Who’s doing as his knight has done.
Sir Knarlic, with a dragon blade (verse 10)
Atlantia’s knights has beaten down,
But conquered by Atlantian maid
He to Alexis brings the crown.
For Gyrth it is a gladsome day
To know he has such sturdy men;
Count Richard in the bloody fray
For Anne has won the crown again.
Sir Olaf, through the flood of foes,
His Aslinn spies above the fray,
And bold Tsuneo, dying, knows
The crown will not be his today.
Tsuneo keeps his Nyan Nyan near.
He has such skills as suit a knight,
Can fight with sword and bow and spear.
His concubine can read and write.
Some kings and queens for dress are known,
Others for how they plot and scheme
Since Klaus for Cyffaith won the crown
Our sovereigns are a Melee team.
Now let the words straight from the Bow (verse 15)
Blend with Atlantian poets’ tongues.
To fly each word true as the crow,
Start the tale when we were young:
The first to rule our sea-lapped shores
Were Alaric and Yseult the good.
A principality in store,
They led us from the mirky wood.
Second upon Atlantia’s throne
A suitable and sterling pair:
The gracious Ysabeau Cameron
And son of Laverty, Laeghaire!
Quickly came the third successors,
Princess Carissa of Burgundy
Alongside Prince Michael of Bedford
To rule the principality.
In society’s thirteenth year
Atlantia firmly held her fortune
Gracious Khirsten and Bryetor
Rose to reign as their due portion.
Words we can no longer mince: (verse 20)
Herald the fifth with flute and drum!
Kindly reigned the Princess and Prince
Deadra and Tojenareum!
Sixth in line came Thorwald’s son
Ragnarr bravely joins the fray!
To make a princess the gilded one
called Gwenllian de la Forêt.
Now see our principality’s
Penultimate princely guides:
Astarte full of regality
And Bertrand boldly by her side
Bryetor and Kathryn grin;
Behold Atlantia, safe to grow!
Another era now begins
As a kingdom they bestow.
Here now begins the line of kings,
Through strength of arm the throne did find.
Learn of the fame that ruling brings
When art and service prowess bind.
Carissa, Queen of all the East (verse 25/reign 1)
With Michael gave our realm its throne —
And then, before their reign had ceased
They won it back to be their own.
In fire and flame came Count Bertrand
For Anya from Calais’ far shore
Reigned second in the sea-bound land
When they assumed the regal chore.
Sir Gyrth, the mighty Saxon thane
He swept the field at Sacred Stone
The third Atlantian King became
With Melisande he shared his throne.
Jahn’s chivalry all men have seen
And Queen Tuiren’s skillful hands
The fourth Atlantian King and Queen
Have honors earned in many lands.
Across the battlefield did ring
A parti-colored lion’s roar
So Michael came to be fifth King,
and to Carissa roses bore.
Sir Olaf at sixth crown he fought (verse 30/reign 6)
For Aslinn with his heart and hand
And by his skill and fortune brought
Atlantia’s crown to Southern land.
Richard Corwin was seventh King
Fair Anne his lady graced his side.
Oldcastle’s second king did bring
The crown northwards awhile to bide.
King Knarlic came from Normandy.
Alexis Queen ruled at his hand.
“No more Eastrealm treaty,” said he.
They were the eighth to rule the land.
As summer’s king did Richard claim
His place lo lead the knights to war.
The ninth king of the realm became,
Queen Anne beside him as before.
The lords for Aislinn’s love would sin.
Olaf has charm and ready quip.
This pair the realm’s tenth crown did win
With flashing sword and shaking hip.
Tsuneo ruled as in Japan (verse 35/reign 11)
With concubine of quickest wit
Nyan-Nyan hid not behind her fan
Eleventh reign with laughter lit.
Who was the twelfth on sea-hone throne?
Twas Klaus and Cyffaith, brave and best.
Fair and bright their swords both shone.
Two fighters reign — our kingdom’s blest.
Ten reigns and two the bards recite
‘Ere Judith reigned at Olaf’s side.
For service, craft, and battle-might
With open hands they did provide.
Then came Badouin to take our crown
And with his Caterina sit
The fourteenth on the sea-horse throne,
Their battles won with sword and wit.
As fighter, archer and artisan,
Sir Dafydd’s prowess all have seen,
Fifteenth King to rule the land,
Elizabeth his gracious Queen.
Barry and the fair Simone (verse 40/reign 16)
Were sixteenth King and Queen to reign
He won the right to claim the throne
Before he earned his belt and chain.
Once again does Michael stand
Victorious upon the green,
With Seonaid rules our happy land.
Their reign was number seventeen.
Now Barry comes again to win
Atlantia’s crown for Queen Simone
With drums and bagpipes they begin
Eighteenth reign upon the throne.
Duke Michael once again returns
Atlantian army leads to war.
A ducal crown for Seonaid earns,
The nineteenth reign in kingdom lore.
Duke Olaf swore, “Just one more time!”
For Aislinn he would win again,
The twentieth of royal line
As Sultan and Sultana reign.
For Luned’s smile and honor bright (verse 45/reign 21)
Sir Anton fought with might and will,
The twenty-first to reign by right,
First monarchs from Windmasters’ Hill.
Tall and strong stands Ingolf’s son
Galmr’s sword did bloodless slay
For Katharina fought and won
The twenty-second Crown that day.
King twenty-three, Michael returns,
Take up the Crown, re-seize the day!
To reign with Seonaid thrice he yearns,
The once and future king he’ll play.
A fresh light from Wulfshaven pours,
Steffan and Twila, twenty and four,
To new heights Atlantia soars!
Love and laughter forever more.
Cuán claims reign twenty and five,
Freshly minted, the three-dog knight,
Aria, the nimble-fingered,
Inspiring his winning fight.
Hidden Mountain’s favorite son, (verse 50/reign 26)
Black Kane strides forth with Muirgen fair,
Tragic lives too quickly undone,
Atlantia’s twenty-sixth pair.
Windmasters’ Hill calls forth its King
To serve twenty-seventh, yet twice,
Snowden’s best daughter Anton brings,
Winning calm counsel and advice.
Mighty Crowns the kingdom protects,
As armor shields the knight in war,
Thorbrandr from his forge defects,
With Eórann, twenty-eighth to soar!
Hail poured down while Michael was crowned,
But king twenty-nine was no fool,
Ice may cover the April ground,
Still, Michael and Seonaid must rule!
Cuán another queen creates,
Elevating Brigit sublime,
Both bending heads low, brows await,
The Crowns rest a thirtieth time.
God bless Katharina, our Queen, (verse 55/reign 31)
Galmr gifts her to us again!
Mercy flows forth from soul pristine,
Thirty-first, yet first, in hearts of men.
When Logan first did Rule our land
With Arielle, his chosen Queen.
Our Thirty-Second Monarch’s reign
Was all awash with Grace and Gleam.
Our mighty Cuán’s Dogs of war
Did claim the right for Bera true.
Atlantia’s Monarchs, Thirty-third
And all false paths they did eschew
So thirty-four was King Logan,
The black wolf besting sword and mace,
With Arielle always golden,
Beside him with her strength and grace.
The Stalwart Lion, Michael led
The graceful Seonaid to the throne
Pair thirty-five they were declared,
Because one cannot rule alone.
Not once, not twice, but thrice we’d seen (verse 60/reign 36)
Anton and Luned take the thrones
now full three dozen reigns had been
since fair Atlantia had its own.
While Stephan, thirty-seventh king
Was called away to foreign lands
Queen Niobe sought to bring
Peace to hearts and hope to hands
When Amalric did join the fray
The Black Hart raged for Caia’s fate
The list was strong; he took the day
Their reign was number thirty-eight.
Kyneburh and Ragnarr came
And sought to lead Atlantian hearts
The thirty-ninth to lead our game
Of service, fighting and the arts.
Then did Anton take the field
His strong left arm would not be staid
He did not fall and would not yield
Our fortieth Queen was Emer made
Havordh and Mary Grace did thirst (verse 65/reign 41)
To rule Atlantia’s mighty shores.
They served our kingdom forty-first
And at the thirtieth Pennsic war.
Galmr and Aryanna held
The burden of their sovereignty
From Lochmere’s lands in which they dwelled
Our forty-second monarchy.
Forty and three our queens and kings
Have ruled the lands in which we dwell
And now the praises all do sing
Of Logan and fair Isabel.
From Middle Kingdom came she hence
Pádraigín traveled to our shores
Stole Cuán’s heart and holds it since
Two score and four the reign they bore.
Fair Isabel, she is the sun
To balance Logan, dark wolf Knight.
The forty-fifth Atlantian Jewel,
Was a congenial sight quite right
The forty-sixth so then was seen, (verse 70/reign 46)
Ragnarr to take again his sword,
And serve with Kyneburh as queen,
True to the lands, in heart and word.
With sword and song did rise Cuán,
As king and too forty-seventh
In heart, Pádraigín was his twin,
Did bring the land to a zenith.
János leads with sword and shield
Rachel’s fiercesome quarrels fly
Allies cheer and foeman yield
When Monarchs forty-eighth came nigh.
Robert de Rath took up his sword
And for Denise he fought in course
The forty-ninth lady and lord
To lead Atlantia’s fighting force.
Societatis’ fortieth year
As our fiftieth crown by right.
János and Rachel helped to steer
Our kingdom on to futures bright.
Twenty-five years we had attained (verse 75/reign 51)
When Michael led us once again
With Seonaid, fifty-first did reign.
May we shine now as we did then.
With sword and wit as equal tools
Did Ragnarr on the list-field stride
The fifty-second king to rule
With Queen Anneke at his side.
Then Valharic, imperator
With Arielle, imperatrix
The fifty-third to lead in war
Sent all our foemen to the Styx.
As time does pass, and has before
So showed Logan as true and fit
To bear the crown as fifty-four
With Rowan’s grace and strong spirit.
The fifty-fifth was then Sinclair,
With Kari, he ruled with wisdom,
Their judgments were even and fair,
Keeping the peace in the kingdom.
For his Gerhild, Jason did slay (verse 80/reign 56)
Kin and kindred on the Crown’s field
Fifty-sixth King and Queen were They
Viking strength makes all foeman yield.
In Jason’s Crown new love alight
Our Fifty-seventh Crown to bear
Esa made Queen by Logan’s might
Her bright spirit beyond compare.
Betrothed when they took the field
He’d wed his princess soon after
Vlad and Kalisa, fifty-eighth
Monarchs of love and of laughter.
For reign fifty-nine again did Kynslay
Place the Crown on Gerhild’s fair head,
She did join in rapier play.
On all fields our enemies bled.
Bryan wins the sixtieth crown,
Radiant Brianna at his side.
Journeying the land, up and down,
Atlantia’s glory they spread worldwide.
Michael strides forward on the field, (verse 85/reign 61)
Seonaid cheering her lord ever on.
The sixty-first tourney’s fate was sealed
The thirtieth year was as year one.
Reign sixty and two brings Cuán,
A strong king both wise and gifted.
By his side rules fair Pádraigín,
By our sons and daughters beloved.
The Wolf, no fear will he allow;
He defeats Atlantia’s best.
Reign sixty-three is Bryan’s now–
For Brianna in steadfastness.
Valiant Vlad now fights once again
In chivalry, skill and fairness;
Stands tall for the sixty-fourth reign.
With Kalisa he brings blitheness.
Though pious and virtuous he may be
His strength came to be known to all
Sir Amos with his faith almighty
Ysabella matched him with siren’s call.
Ragnarr a master of hammer and sword (verse 90/reign 66)
Came before the Atlantian throne
Fair Lynette inspiring her noble lord
The sixty-sixth rule rich with their tone
King William has a mighty sword
Queen Kara is a burning light
The sixty-seventh crown They wore
And were Atlantia’s delight.
Michael of Bedford is well known
With Seonaid his sweet-loving Queen
As sixty-eighth to sit the throne
Their will we do not contravene.
Logan, a black wolf, sly and strong,
Esa, inspiration, for noble souls
Together they right all that is wrong
Fulfilling strong the sixty-ninths’ roles
With German strength comes Sir Christoph
On his arm the glorious Lady Adelhait
The seventy reign with drama starts off
Enough to inspire many an acolyte
To celebrate the fiftieth of the world (verse 95/reign 71)
Dietrich with Thora held most high
Atlantia’s seventy-first with banners unfurled
The glory of the kingdom none will decry.
For seventy-two the poet abstains
For pen will not falsely commend;
Dragons were slayed after this reign,
And no more words shall we spend.
Now Signy Heri by Cuán is Queen
Warriors fierce sitting to serve.
With kind words for the young and the green,
Justice and Truth come seventy-third.
Amos and Kara, as seventy-fourth,
Specious stifled the peahen’s cry
Hawking honors of great worth
As wint’ry months flew darkly by.
Yaşa was cried in Dietrich’s reign,
Alongside Una as Sultana.
His commanding bass boomed on campaign;
Th’ harmonious Una, vox humana.
Atlantia sang refrain once more, (verse 100/reign 76)
As Ragnarr Fifth joined Lynette II.
The seventy-sixth to rule our shore
May future rulers ring as true!
Jolly Christoph, beer in hand,
With sweet Adelhait they lead the way
As seventy-seventh holding the land
Mid laughter bright, they bade us play.
Cuán and Signy were called again
To guide our kingdom for half a year.
Seventy-eight, they did not wane
When the plague spread o’er the sphere.
Accompanied by hounds of white
Anton and Luned strong did reign
Seventy-ninth, through all plague’s blight
By light of their devotion’s flame.
And at the end of that dire hour,
Came the glorious eightieth reign!
As bright and blooming as sunflowers
Were Eckehard Thurn and sweetest Jane.
Of Kings and Queens our story told (verse 105)
Their might to rule these happy lands
Argent-azure the flag flies bold
The past lives on in future’s hands.
Original twelve verses by Cariadoc of the Bow
Original introduction (now verse 24) and final verse by Johanna von den Glocken
Principalities and new introduction (verses 1-2 and 15) by Ealawynn Mæru (alias Ela) upon the 40th Year Anniversary of Atlantia
Starred (*) poets have served as Poeta Atlantiae.
Authorship by verse:
3-14, 25, 30: Cariadoc of the Bow
24, 26-29, 31-46, 105: Johanna von den Glocken
47-55: Bran Trefonnen *
60-68, 72-77: Dunstan LeHeryngmongere *
58, 70-71, 78-79: Maaline Reynard *
56-57, 59, 69: James of Middle Aston *
80-83: Ceridwen ferch Owain *
84-85, 89-90, 93-95: Etienne le Mons d’Anjou *
86-88: Katarzyna Witkowska *
91-92: Deirdre O’Bardon *
99-100: Ishmael Stedfast Reed *
101: Evelyn Merrymet
103: Talia de Morales *
1-2, 15-23, 96-98, 102, 104: Ealawynn Mæru, alias Ela *
Authorship by reign:
1 and 6 repeat Duke Cariadoc’s original poem
2-5, 7-22: Johanna von den Glocken
23-31: Bran Trefonnen *
36-44, 48-53: Dunstan LeHeryngmongere *
34, 46, 47, 54, 55: Maaline Reynard *
32, 33, 35, 45: James of Middle Aston *
56-59: Ceridwen ferch Owain *
60-61, 65, 66, 69-71: Etienne le Mons d’Anjou *
62-64: Katarzyna Witkowska *
67-68: Deirdre O’Bardon *
75-76: Ishmael Stedfast Reed *
77: Evelyn Merrymet
79: Talia de Morales *
72-74, 78, 80: Ealawynn Mæru, alias Ela *
I was so excited to do calligraphy for the first time! I calligraphed a beautiful scroll blank by Adelaide Halfpint inspired by the Ormesby Psalter (1250-1330).
While I had practiced a similar script (Batarde), I practiced the script from the Ormesby Psalter for this scroll, meaning that I learned a new hand for my first calligraphy! I used standard scroll text, as I didn’t want to hyperfocus on my own words the first time I calligraphed something.
When Korrin Valravn asked me to write the text for Lucy of Wigan’s Coral Branch (AoA-level arts award), I lept at the chance, as Lucy is a dear friend.
Korrin had already selected the exemplar (a copy of Dante’s Inferno, MS Vat. lat. 4776, fol. 13r; Canto 4, ll. 64-87). This is a version of the Inferno with intensive planned glossing by Jacopo della Lana that had come up in conversation with Lucy when talking about glossing on legal texts. Glossing my own poem would be weird for a scroll, though, so Korrin brilliantly suggested I write a story to take the place of the glossing. To preserve the structure of the glossing and the layout of the exemplar, I decided that the story would incorporate lines of the poem.
The poem itself is hendecasyllabic meter (eleven syllables per meter) in terza rima (a rhyme scheme of ABA, BCB, CDC, etc.), which is the same structure as the Inferno. The prose interpolates lines of the poem in place of each glossed line in the original. Each section is approximately the same length as its respective gloss, which I achieved by taking a rough count of words in the exemplar and editing myself heavily. While the three animals in the poem (leopard, lion, and wolf) are pulled from the first canto of the Inferno, I twisted them towards Aesop’s Fables while also pulling heavily from forest episodes in chivalric romances. I also included an oblique reference to Dungeons and Dragons, as Lucy and I play together.
Hear, how midway in the journey of our lives,1
great merit and worth were discovered that we,
King Anton and Queen Luned, must recognize.
In Atlantia’s northern lands, fair and free,
dwells Lucy of Wigan in Roxbury Mill,
where with modesty she makes marvelously
her diverse delights with dedicated skill.
To list them all is a task most punishing
she creates with fiber and food — and more still!
Knitting and naalbinding, weaving and sewing —
sparing time for a dance, for Lucy loves balls —2
then to the garden, as greens need gathering.
Oft from her kitchen tempting fragrances call:
desirable dishes waft deliciousness,
while smooth libations sate all friends in her halls
Her subtlest arts remain; these are priceless:
We exclaim her judgment, mirth, and courtesy,
but the greatest of all her gifts is kindness.
Now induct her into that high company
of the Coral Branch! It is justly called for,3
and done by our hand and our Royal Decree,
For Lucy we laud, adulate, and adore,
in Anno Societatis Fifty-Five
on April the Tenth at Valencia Court.
Hear, how midway in the journey of our lives,
of that time when Lucy of Wigan was seized with a need to adventure, setting forth from the safety of her manor.
In Atlantia’s northern lands, fair and free,
Lucy set forth down the straight way into dark woods, until she came upon a leopard trapped in vines. Parched and near dead, it begged her to share her cordial, but Lucy knew a sip would not sustain the leopard — so she cut it free. It thanked her for her kindness, and she went onward. Soon she came to a lion weeping under a willow-tree. Once a prisoner, it had paid for its freedom with its mane. She could not bear its distress, so she sat—
Knitting and naalbinding, weaving and sewing—
with her diverse skills creating a new mane for the lion. Fastening the mane around the lion’s neck, she assured it of its handsomeness, with or without a mane. She left him gladly preening into a pond. As night grew closer, she came upon a starving wolf lying in the path. It whimpered pitifully, and Lucy was reminded of her own stomach rumbling when
Oft from her kitchen tempting fragrances call,
enticing her to taste the fine fare before it was finished. Kneeling, she offered a meat pie to the hungry wolf, who gladly took it. Soon it fell asleep, and she went onward. At last, she found herself in a grove where starlight reflected from every surface, for each leaf was of silver, bronze, and gold, and each branch of amber, diamond, and coral.
“Her subtlest arts remain; these are priceless,”
a sweet voice sang out; a luminescent figure stood in the middle of the grove. “You entered a forest, thick-crowded with troubles.4 Though you could have passed without a trace, you stopped for each creature that needed you, helping as you could.
For Lucy we laud, adulate, and adore;
A poet among poets would not have words to describe all you have done for those you have helped. You have done many works, with fiber, food, and flower.” The forest glowed gently around the figure, who plucked a twig of coral from a nearby tree. She extended it to Lucy, who knew then that the moon had come down to test and reward her. “But moreover, you were kind.”
1 Hear, how midway in the journey of our lives: This line is taken almost exactly from the first line of the Inferno, which begins (depending on the translation) with “Midway upon the journey of our life.”
2 Lucy loves balls: This is a joke that started at the first Pennsic Lucy went to, where she was very excited about the number of dances in the evening. We’ve all rather leaned into it.
3 of the Coral Branch! It is justly called for: This line and the following verse had to be changed, as to get me to attend Court for my Pearl, Korrin told me that Lucy was receiving her Coral Branch a week before she actually did. I had written the poem to include the date and the previous event, so I had to revise a few of the lines. Luckily, they were fairly straightforward to revise, and actually improved the final verse!
4 a forest, thick-crowded with troubles: This line is an adaptation from Canto 4, l. 64 of the Inferno (a line from the exemplar), which is sometimes translated as “a forest…thick-crowded with ghosts.”
Dartmouth Dante Project. Dartmouth College. https://dante.dartmouth.edu/
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. The World of Dante. http://www.worldofdante.org/inferno1.html
I was honored to write the scroll text for Baroness Catalina Riquel de Luna and Baron Jean Maurice le Marinier’s court barony scrolls, presented at Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival 2021. Korrin Valravn planned two beautiful maps for them, inspired by Dutch map from the 1570s. To match, I wrote two sonnets inspired by Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, a Dutch poet from the 16th/17th centuries. His sonnets followed the rhyme pattern ABBA ABBA CCD CCD, and mine did the same. I was particularly pleased that I was able to include all the required information (dates, event, and heraldic blazon) within the poems themselves.
For Baroness Catalina
On March the Sixth, A.S. Fifty-Five, we hear
of service, strength, and grace at the edge of the sea
that guided barony, people, and crown most diligently:
the siren who sings of the rainbow over water.
Her righteous voice shimmers in salty air
for many years, serving Marinus surely.
Now is respite, reprieve, and relief from duty,
but Anton and Luned, King and Queen, declare:
“Catalina Riquel de Luna, your monarchs choose
you as Baroness of Our Court. Now use
and display with pride and privilege a coronet baronial.
Grant also arms: ‘Or, four pallets gules,
on a chief vert, three melusines argent.’ Thus ruled
at Atlantian Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival.”
For Baron Jean Maurice
Hear from Queen Luned and Anton the King
of watery dangers, beauties, and beasts so bountiful
and a sailor and warden steadfast, brave, and faithful.
An excellent ship the Mariner was trusted with guiding.
Now finished, deserved shore-leave is softly calling
and he descends from ardent duty without proper label.
Loathe are we to have him leave Our table,
and thus his fervent service We must be rewarding.
On the Sixth of March, A.S. Fifty-Five, decree
Jean Maurice le Marinier “Baron,” and guarantee
the privilege to use and display a coronet baronial
and grant him arms: “Purpure, a seahorse contourny
Between three fleurs-de-lys Or.” Thus we agree
at Atlantian Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival.
I was honored to collaborate with Lady Clara Brauer and Lady Kaaren Valravn on Thea de Nes (“Aunt Nessie”)’s Pearl scroll. Clara did the majority of the illumination and all of the calligraphy, Kaaren painted the portrait and the cherubs, and I wrote the text. You can find more pictures on Kaaren’s site.
Endless delight is found in pearls: precious prizes, their gentle beauty is formed through great toil. Know that We, Cuan and Signy, King and Queen of Atlantia, have found such a pearl in Thea de Nes. Crafting wonders from fiber, pen, paint, and bead, she shares them freely; her generosity warms Our hearts and soothes Our spirits. Thus do We induct Thea de Nes into Our Order of the Pearl. Done this 8th day of February, A.S. LIV, at Bright Hills Baronial Birthday in the Barony of Bright Hills.