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Bardic Arts

The Princess and The Sea

Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
February 16, 1985 (AS XIX)

On the seastrand, dark as foam,
     Walked a Princess, proud and true,
To the western lands came she,
     From the only home she knew.

From the eastern lands she came,
     Where the sun and sand hold sway,
To the pounding, rocky shores
     Where the sea calls night and day.

Came she not to seek for joy,
     Came she not for riches fair,
Came she for the love of him
     Who'd lost himself in her dark hair.

Prince of all the western lands,
     Journeyed far in all his pride,
Lost his heart, and gave his crown,
     And brought her home to be his bride.

Lost and lonely, far she walked,
     While the moon rode on the foam,
Knowing none but her fair Prince,
     Dreaming still of her far home.

Then she heard, upon the tide,
     A song for mortals peril-wound,
And she saw, upon the waves,
     All the seafolk shoreward-bound.

And upon the standing waves,
     While the moon shone down the lea,
Danced the seafolk, in her sight,
     Called the seafolk, proud and free:

"Come and join us, mortal maid,
     Cast thyself upon the sea,
Come and learn to dance the foam,
     Come and let thy heart be free."

Long she stood upon the strand,
     Yearning eyes upon the sea,
While, along the moonstrewn waves,
     Ran the great dance wild and free.

Came a step, along the strand,
     Spake her Prince and low spake he,
"Know I well the burden hard
     Which my love hath placed on thee.

"Where I love, I would not rule,
     Where I'm free, I would not bind,
And thy duty's not to me,
     Nor unto my western kind."

Slow she turned, and long she looked
     In his eyes all proud and sere,
And she spake his doom and hers
     In the moonlight cold and fair:

"Where I love, 'tis mete I rule,
     Freely wed, myself I bind,
Stand I here a Princess born
     And my duty's to my kind.

"Lonely still, I yearn for home,
     Gladly could I swim the sea.
Yet, my honour matches thine,
     And my heart would be with thee."

Up then spake the seafolk bold,
     And they sang most courteously:
"Though your choice be to the land,
     Still, you choose most rightfully.

"So, a gift we give to you,
     For we honour chivalry:
Come with us, one night a year,
     And dance the moonfoam burden-free."

"Nay," said she, and low she laughed,
     With the moonlight in her hair,
"Great the gift, and hard the choice,
     But this path I cannot fare.

"A Princess was I born on earth,
     To rule my people was I bred,
And to serve the western folk
     A Princess was I when I wed.

"So," said she, and low she cried,
     With the seafoam in her hair,
"I must stay a Princess true,
     And so the sea I must not fare."

Up then spake the seafolk King,
     And he sang fair and mightily:
"Thou hast chosen for thy folk,
     And therefore we honour thee.

"If thou wilt not be one of us,
     And wilt not come dance the sea,
Then wilt thou our homage take,
     And our Sovereigns in honour be?"

The seafolk came unto the shore,
     And there they swore their fealty,
And the Princes and the Prince
     Gave they grace and courtesy.

So honor them, who hear my song,
     Who brought the Mists, by chivalry,
Dominion wide -- and duty same --
     Over all the land and sea!

Copyright ©1985, David C. Thewlis

"This song was written for Her Highness of the Mists, Sariya al Mus'ad, as commanded by His Highness Stephen of Beckenham, on the occasion of Their Investiture, February 16, AS XIX, 1985." -- Siegfried von Hoflichskeit

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