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Bardic Arts

Hey Landsknecht
Gerhardt von Nordflammen

I am a son of the Swabian soil.
Born where life is but peace and toil.
Village, mother, gentle wife, I loved them all,
Until one day in spring when I heard this call:

     Hey Landsknecht, hey Landsknecht,
     Leben ist nicht aber krieg und schreck.

That morning I was ploughing well content with life.
When a black voice came a calling on the winds of strife.
I left my farm behind me and I went to war,
Leaving peace and joy behind for evermore.


Oh God have mercy on a Landsknecht like me.
For I am such that even Christ would turn and flee.
I now delight in nothing save for war and death,
And all good people curse me with their dying breath.


As I stand in the midst of the bloody fight,
I know I am cut off from God’s pure light.
No church, no home, no loved ones, naught but remorse.
Oh curse the day I set out on my evil course.


Between the bloody battles I just lay and drink,
With an ugly whore beside me full of worms and stink,
My misery is great, but greater still my shame,
For my mother now just spits when she hears my name.


Take heed brave youth if you come within our sight,
Swaggering about in our colors bright.
Its only the show of deception’s slaves,
Following the devil to an open grave.


"All of these songs are the products of my first few years in the SCA. I don’t know exactly what possessed me at the time, but I seemed to have this near unquenchable passion for turning out pedestrian lyrics. Ah well, I was young and feckless, and had not discovered the lyrics of the Provencal minstrels at that time (Ai Ya, whew, those are songs).
     "Anyway, back to earth. The one thing in here that has gained any sort of widespread popularity or recognition is “Hey Landscknecht”, which is sort of known as the theme song of the Westermark, and which always calls to my mind a beery old kraut bemoaning his long-lost something or other." -- GvN
© 1981, Lawrence Hyink III

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