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Bardic Arts

Timor Mortis
by
Rima of Rockridge

I who was big with spiteful breath
To swell at those who'd challenge me
Lie spent before encroaching Death:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Death hath taken goodly knights
By feints and sudden butchery
To snatch the victory from their sights:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Since He hath challenged all the lists
No man can steal sweet victory
Or break his grasp by subtle twists:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

His arms enclose both count and squire
And closing will not let them free
But hold the merciless entire:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

No man so quick as Death to strike,
So sure to hobble them that flee;
Eke ill and good takes he alike:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

'A'th summoned Douglas to his dance,
Undone for bransles of Burgundy,
Limbs locked in rigor's mocking stance:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

'A'th won the toss from lucky Will
Who gambled at conspiracy:
His nine quick fingers now lie still:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Bern Bellower's his, who roused the town
With bawdy songs and minstrelay,
No more to reach for crock and crown:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

York's William hath he straght devoured
The swifter for his gluttony;
Macarailt hath he overpowered:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

'A'th dunned Dunharrow: Westmarch lies
Weighted down with ironmongery;
Spilt, scribe Elriin's brightest dyes:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Both Stevens stiffen on the ground
Constrained in camaraderie,
MacEanruig to Lorraine still bound:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Sweet Perigrynne hath kissed the field
Persorming his last courtesy
Whiles carrion crows surmount his shield:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

Good Houghton's ta'en from Rollingwood
For all his laudability;
What mercy his, whom men called good?
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

What mercy Andrew's, unreprieved
When lamed he fell upon one knee,
Too young for Death to take ungrieved:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

If Death's the readier to slay
Brave youth and laudability,
What mercy mine save that I pray:
    Timor mortis conturbat me.


From a collection of fighter poems titled Valhalla. This is from the section titled: "The Way It Was".

"Long ago, the West Kingdom bards decided to produce poems for every fighter in each crown lists. We carried this on for several years before finally faltering. A large number of bards were required, since the lists kept getting larger and eventually the effort involved wore us out. Even so, we published two volumes of the best of the fighter poems. I was president of the college of bards of the West Kingdom at that time and I regard that effort as perhaps the most satisfying thing I ever achieved in the SCA." -- Steven MacEanruig


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