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Bardic Arts

The Black Band
Gerhardt von Nordflammen

When gallant Georg von Frundsburg
Was lying close to death,
He called his young son to him
And spoke his final breath;
“Bold Kaspar pray remember,
“I’ve served our master well,
For this great House of Hapsburg,
“I’d fight my way to hell.
“My victories were many.
“My praises then were cried,
“Yet none of this will give me joy
“Till the Black Bands have all died.
“They swore to serve our Kaiser.
“I swore that they’d be true.
“And when they took their traitor’s road,
“My honor with them flew.”

     Come follow me brave boys!
     We fight with this object:
     To cleanse the honor sullied,
     By Black Band Landsknecht.

Now young Kaspar von Frundsburg,
His eyes were like a flame.
His noble heart was filled with rage
At his dead father’s shame.
His word he held before him,
And mighty oath he cried.
That never would he rest his soul
‘Till foul Black Bands had died.
He went then to the Kaiser
And begged leave to command,
The army bound for Italy
Where froggies plagued the land.
And Karl the Kaiser smiled sweet
At Kaspar’s gallant plea
And gave the youth the Landsknecht
And Obrist titled he.


Then Kaspar went forth grim and bold,
To Pavia’s mighty gate.
Where brazen French were laying siege
As pawns of Satan’s hate.
Full twenty thousand Frenchmen,
King Francis leading all
And ‘mongst them too the Black Band fell,
Who answered Juda’s call.
Young Kaspar turned unto his men,
And crying out spake he;
“Oh Landsknecht who have stood true!
“Do you these traitors see?
“For mean remand of worldly gold
“They forsook chivalry,
“And serve the wiles of hated France,
“With serpent loyalty.”


Forth from our brave Landsknecht,
There came a lusty cheer.
That spoke the noble Kaspar
An answer fair and clear.
“Come let us charge these turncoat swine!”
They shouted with one voice.
“The devil and the yawning grave
“Will be their only choice.”
With that our gallant Kaspar
Did spur his steed full hard,
And following, our Landsknecht
Did come in like regard.
Their banners clove the vaulting sky,
Their pikes were leveled true.
With steely points sun kindled
As at the foe they flew.


Before our lads the Black Band stood,
Defiant in its pride.
For all who dared to test its strength
Had fled or swiftly died.
Their lips were touched with laughter bold
As came our warriors near,
For they beheld no hint of harm,
Nor counseled any fear.
The Black Band then let drop its pikes,
Charged in such grim array,
That many of our loyal ranks
Did turn and flee away.
Yet then the fearless Kaspar
Did press on without fail
And then the men did follow true,
Ashamed that they should quail.


Then met the pikes with mighty clash,
Met the swords a swinging.
And many fell on bloody soil,
While death above was winging.
And Kaspar filled with wrathful pow’r
Did carry all before,
And soon t’were few of the foul Black Band
Free of death and gore.
Then noble Kaspar offered terms.
But these they did reject,
For though their trust that had betrayed,
They were still Landsknecht.
Who spit on mean surrender,
And life at cost of shame,
And thus they chose to stand and die
With honor to their name.


So Kaspar thundered on once more
The slaughter to direct.
And after came invincible
Our loyal Landsknecht.
That when the battle came to end,
And rest was ere at hand.
There was not one to draw a breath
In all of Black Band.
And thus it was at Pavia,
That Kaspar sweetly cleared
His father’s honor of the stain
By Black Band’s treason smeared.
And virtue showed to such degree
That knighted then was he,
By grateful hand of Kaiser blessed,
To honor chivalry.


"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)." -- GvN
© 1981, Lawrence Hyink III

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