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Bardic Arts

The Rules of The Lists

by
Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
Fall Coronet, 1985 (AS XX)

Now these are the Rules of our combat,
          And they govern it both near and far
And those who obey them are welcome;
          But those who deny them are barred.

As iron becomes steel in the forging, By the Rules all our Kingdoms are wrought:
For the SCA's strength is the fighters, And without It, the fighting means nought.

1.  When ye go with your friends into battle,
         Ye do it by choice and design.
     And so ye shall not fault another,
         If harm should confound thee or thine.

2.  Though no one would doubt thy intentions,
          The future may not be benign.
     And so, before coming to combat,
          Each fighter a waiver shall sign.

3.  If any, who still remain minors,
         By fighting and combat be led,
     By Law, they cannot sign their Waivers --
         Their parents must sign them instead.

4.  Lists Right is the right of the Monarch.
         For each who would enter his name,
     The Sovereign may choose to refuse him,
         And non may deny him the same.

5.  All fighters who enter the tourney,
         Whatever their rank or degree,
     Shall be chivalrous in all their conduct,
         And knightly in all but decree.

6.  To judge of a foe's blow against you:
         The weapons and armour are real.
     And in doubt, ye should yield to your foeman,
         Lest your conduct be cause for appeal.

7.  No fighter shall enter the combat,
         Who hath not a consort to reign
     Beside him, should he become victor,
         Although he need not speak her name.

    No fighter shall enter the combat,
         Who hath not a consort to reign
     Beside her, should she become victor,
         Although she need not speak his name.

8.  In all that ye do in the combat,
         In armour, and weapons, and skill,
     Ye must follow the Marshallate Standards,
         And be governed by each Kingdom's will.

9.  The Right to reject any weapon
         From use without hindrance or claim
     Is the Right of the Monarch or Marshal,
         And none may deny them the same.

10. A weapon may be used in battle
         If all who would face it agree,
     Unless, when the Marshals review it,
         Its banishment they should decree.

11. If a weapon be banned by the Marshal,
         An appeal to the Crown may yet win,
     But a Court must pass judgement thereafter,
         Before it be used once again.

12. If ye like not the weapon against you,
         And its safety ye fully deny,
     Thy opponent must then change his weapon,
         Or, without fault, the challenge must die.

13. The sword and the dagger you cherish,
         Unlike tourney weapons are real.
     So carry them not into combat:
         And seven times never draw steel!

14. If thy shield ye would bear as a weapon,
         Declare it ye must to thy foe,
     And the Monarch or Marshal shall judge it
         Before ye may strike the first blow.

15. Ye must not use a weapon for thrusting,
         Unless to this end it was made.
     And if your opponent reject it:
         Have done! and strike blows with your blade.

16. Ye may not grasp a blade to impede it.
         If ye drop your sword, stop and rearm.
     If ye slip, then call "Hold!" to recover,
         Lest an unguarded blow do ye harm.

17. Ye may not, in the Lists of a tourney,
         Throw aught at your foe on the field,
     Nor bear any weapon for throwing,
         Lest by your mistakes ye must yield.

Because of His Right, and His Stature,
         Because he is King over all,
In all that the Rules may leave open,
         The Will of the Monarch is Law!

Now these are the Rules of our combat,
         And many and mighty are they.
But the head and the heart of the Rules,
         And the sword and the shield is -- OBEY!


Copyright ©1985, David C. Thewlis

"The Rules of the Lists, with obvious thanks to Rudyard Kipling, was written for the Fall Coronet Tourney in AS XX, 1985, and was performed (appropriately enough) during the Invocation. This is NOT a song, but a chant." -- Siegfried von Hoflichskeit


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