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Bardic Arts

Lady Dorothea's Lament

by
Diana Listmaker
July, 1967 (A.S. II)

The mists are gathering in the hills
And blotting out the day.
The embers of my father's hall
Are smouldering far away.

Alas for me that I was born
To set men's hearts afire--
Death like a conflagration spreads
Because of their desire.

My father gave me to the Duke,
Nor would he change again,
Although the one king of my heart
Was also king of men.

Who, ruler, was yet ruled by me
To carry me away,
And slowly died beside the road
As slowly dies the day.

The Rock where I am brought to bay
Stands like a castle tower
Below the Duke and all his knights
Surround me in their power.

Alas, my love, thou hast paid dear
To claim my heart and hand.
What weregild shall I pay to thee
And to this lordless land?

My last defender, true to thee,
Still stands here by my side,
Lest she who should have been his queen
Should be another's bride.

The Duke has scaled the Rock and now
His great sword raises high.
Shall I not weep that two such men
Should war for such as 1?

The swords gleam in the faltering light--
I know that there will be,
If my knight's arm should fail at last,
A last sword-stroke for me.

The mists are covering the hills,
Spread like a leaden pall,
And I shall reign in Hell tonight
With thee and him and all!


Written for the first SCA War. Published in Tournaments Illuminated, issue 40. Typed up at request by Gwendolyn the Rat Keeper.


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