Monday, July 6, 2015

For Percival de la Rocque upon His Elevation to the Order of the Pelican

By THLaird Colyne Stwart, July AS 50 (2015)

I must now praise a man of worth
Quite tall of form with argent hair
Well known for love of drink and mirth
An archer with a herald’s flare
Who well can fire bow in clout
And once stood as a bear-lord stout.

With fingers nimble on the bow
And keen mind bent on ancient lore
Face bordered by white hair like snow
Eyes purpled by the hint of war
The bee-loved man stands proper, proud,
Is brought before a Royal crowd

And all achievements he has earned
Are loud proclaimed for all to hear
As from him heralds all have learned
And archers could cock bow to ear
For of his time he freely gives
And through him Ealdormere bright lives

Glad from his arms he gives his strength
His mettle shown with all he does
For service he will go to length
And ever this is how it was
This man of worth, this man so true,
Who shows great merit through and through.

And so the Royals name him Peer,
A Pelican of Ealdormere.

A blason written as a grand chant. A blason was a 16th century French ordered poem of praise, or blame, usually directed towards a woman which praised her physical features using metaphors. I decided to write a blazon as it takes its name from the heraldic term “blazon” which forms the root of the word “emblazon” which means to celebrate or adorn (with heraldic markings). This seemed appropriate given Percival’s love of heraldry. I also tried to use a few heraldic terms sprinkled throughout the verse.

The gran(d) chan(t), also known as the courtois, was an Old French genre of lyric poetry devised by the trouvères in the 12th to 13th centuries. It was adapted from the Occitan canso of the troubadours. Like the canso it explored courtly love, but it could also be used to expound on many other topics or themes.

Typically, a canso had three parts: the exordium (the first stanza where the composer explained his purpose), the main body of the text and then one to three envois (which were not always present). Except for the envois, the stanzas all had the same sequence of verses (each verse had the same number of metrical syllables). The envois took the form of a shortened stanza, containing only a last part of the standard stanza used up to that point.

Each stanza had the same internal rhyme scheme (so if the first line rhymed with the third line in the first stanza, it will do so in each successive one).

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