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Bardic Arts

The Wayward Youth
Gerhardt von Nordflammen
A.S. XII

Oh when I was a wayward youth,
I took as my aspect,
The form of a bold wanderer
A seeking new prospect.
And I wandered over river,
And I wandered over lee,
‘Til one day by some mystic road,
I wandered to faerie.

That night when sun had fallen
Another light did grow
From leave and twig and blade and branch
There came a whispered glow.
It spoke of greenwoods glimmer
In moonlit nights of spring,
And lit the way for Elven folk
To find the fairy ring.

They were their harps a strumming
They raised their voices high
Their silver words did leap aloft
And dance about the sky.
They sang of Elf love’s sweetness
As swiftly they drew nigh
And I in my concealment
Did tremble like to die.

And then one fair Elf maiden
Did catch me with her eye
“Oh look, dear brethren, ‘neath this tree,
“A mortal man doth lie.”
Her face was bright and bonny.
Her eyes were black as coal.
When I beheld her loveliness,
I knew I’d lost my soul.

She came and stood close by me
And gave me her white hand.
Said, “Come sweet man I love thee
“Tonight we shall be bound.”
She led and I came after
Up to the Elven King,
Said, “Father let him dance with me
“All in the fairy ring.”

The Elf King he spat fire
A mighty oath swore he
No daughter of his Elven flesh
Should wed with mortal be.
The Elf maid then was weeping
“I love him,” she did cry
“And if you will not give us leave
“By my own hand I’ll die.”

The Elf King then relented
To grant his daughter’s plea.
And led us to the fairy ring
Where we would wedded be.
“Oh daughter you shall have him,
“If that is your desire
“Yet with the dawn you both shall part
“Till earth does die in fire.”

We danced about the circle.
We swore our wedding vows.
And then we wandered through the trees
To bed beneath the boughs.
Our union was quite tender,
And sleep we did not see
For we did now that with the dawn
A parted we would be.

At length the sun was rising
She clung unto my breast
“If you should wait through tide and time
“Your patience shall be blest.
“For I shall ne’er betray thee
“With others of male kind
“And when the world doth fall in fire,
“Our fates shall be entwined.”

And then my wife did vanish
And then the day did break
And I was lying all alone
A weeping for her sake.
So that is why I’m waiting
Beside the swelling sea
For earth to rise in blinding flames
That light me to faerie.


"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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