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First Word

Well, we're less than a week away from the Corvus '99 tour and I finally got the plane tickets in my hot little hands! We'll definitely be taking lots of pictures and will share them with everyone when we get back. I think Messer Giuseppe had a great idea when he suggested posting some of them on the House Corvus website. Maybe we can make a special photo gallery section for both the Corvus '94 trip and the Corvus '99 trip? And, don't forget, Corvus '02 is closer than you think when it comes down to saving money. It's called Crusade for a reason (they're expensive!). Actually, it's called Crusade because we'll be traveling the route an English knight would have taken to end up in the Holy Land (or Constantinople, I still haven't decided). Anyway, Lady Medb, Lady Sine, and I will certainly bore-- uhm, I mean, regale you with tales of our adventure upon our return from the Corvus '99 tour of Arthur's Britain!

Of course, all of our excitement this month isn't predicated upon imminent travel. April has been replete with excellent experiences starting with our Easter get together down at my grandmom's house in Orlando. While the water in the pool was a little too cool for skinny dipping (hey, I have a fence!), it was great weather for a barbecue! Messer Giuseppe, Baroness Rowen, and Lord Robert all came over as well as Mistress Marenna of Rathlin and her new pal (and ours!), Stefan. What a relaxing weekend! And I loved our walk around Winter Park! Rowen showed us a beautiful park in town I never even knew was there. What a treat!

Thank God for that rest, since we needed it going in to THL Eldred's and Lady Ealdthryth's event Passage to the East I: The English Anarchy! The event went great with members of House Corvus busy in a variety of areas, not to mention the Autocrats! Their Atlantian Majesties, King Stephan and Queen Niobe took especial joy and delight in Their portrayals of Steven and Mathilda, claimants to the English throne. It was the kind of role-playing extravaganza that Atlantia, in general, has a hard time grasping. Yet, Their Majesties attacked the opportunity with gusto and helped to create a day filled with fun. Our thanks to the 'E's for putting on such a marvelous weekend and helping both their home Barony of Nottinghill Coill and House Corvus shine!

Due to Mistress Rhiannon's sore throat, I had the opportunity to herald Their Majesties' Court at The English Anarchy. This was a real treat since, not only do I enjoy that sort of thing, I was right there to see Eldred's and Ealdthryth's faces as they were called in to Court. In addition to thanking them for hosting such a fine event, Their Majesties bestowed an Augmentation of Arms upon Lady Ealdthryth in the form of Supporters for her Arms and inducted THL Eldred into the Order of the Golden Dolphin (Atlantia's service Order)! Talk about exciting! Vivats, not just to our hard working Anarchy duo, but to all of the members of House Corvus who helped out at the event!

It's more than just our achievements within the Society that make me proud to be in House Corvus. While I tend to focus on those activities in which we all share, and the SCA certainly serves as the common frame of reference for us as a group, there are members who are also making strides in their modern lives. Please be sure and share those achievements with me so that I can share them with everyone in the Household. I'm constantly thrilled to hear about Lady Signy's drill meets! I'm ecstatic over Lady Medb's promotion at work (she's now management at Tone Software!) and her new home! Lord Cassan's adventures at NationsBank are always fascinating! And you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw Lord Robert trying on his robes for his commencement ceremonies from Emory! He'll be graduating on May 10th with a Master's Degree in Public Health and starts up medical school in the Fall! Congratulations!

These are defining moments, as sure as any SCA event, in which I want to share. Moreover, I want everyone in the Household to be a part of them, at least in spirit. When great things (or even not-so-great things) happen in your lives, let's share them in the Roundtable as well as on-line in the House Corvus e-group. Especially, for those people not on-line, write some of these things down and send them to me for publication (I really do want a write up on one of your drill meets, Susan!). I do cull some material from the news group because, while I love the immediacy of the internet, I also enjoy the written chronicle of our lives together. That's what the Roundtable is all about -- sharing moments with people you love! -- BRAN

Novice Tournament

This weekend, my good Baroness and I traveled up to the Barony of Sacred Stone in Atlantia to attend their Novice Tourney event and also witness the investiture of our newest cousins, Sir Duncan and Lady Emer. Five Trimarians attended this event including Wyvernwood's Lady Maeve MacBrighde, Milord Miguel, and Milady Alsiltia from the shire Narval Dorado.

The event was a single day event that took place on Saturday. We arrived on-site in the morning. The Last Court of Her Excellency Rachel de Johnstone, Baroness Sacred Stone was at 11:00am. I must confess, Rowen and I were a little nervous about attending Court. We were one of four sets of landed nobles accompanying Their Majesties, Stephan and Niobe. It was definitely a case of "Toto, I don't think we're in Trimaris anymore."

At the beginning of Her Excellency's Court, she called us into her presence. We presented a gift basket to TRM Stephen and Niobe, and then discussed before the populace the friendship treaty between our noble Baronies. As a gift, and as a renewal, we presented HE Rachel with a calligraphed version of the treaty, as prepared by our own Mistress Melisaunde. I believe Rachel was most pleased with the treaty. We then took our places, and Her Excellency Rachel continued Court.

As her court continued, Her Excellency Rachel presented many awards to members of her Barony, and also received many gifts from her populace and cantons. It was very evident from the outpouring from the populace that Rachel is indeed much beloved by her people. Then, finally, she announced to TRM Atlantia her intent to step down. As she walked out of court, TRM opened Their Court. In short, TRM Stephan and Niobe are some of the most eloquent and regal people I have ever met. They come from a line of nobility, King Stephan being, modernly, the son of Duke Paul Bellatrix. It was truly an honor and a privilege to attend Their Court. As the morning progressed, They called forward the heirs to the Baronial seats, Sir Duncan and Lady Emir. Through much emotion, they processed forward to take on the charge and responsibilities of seated Nobles. Nervously, they swore fealty to TRM Atlantia, and took their seats next to Them. As a last order of business, TRM Atlantia called forward Rachel to receive the title of Court Baroness. To the surprise and joy to both Rachel and the populace, TRM also called forward the Order of the Pelican, and placed Rachel on vigil!

But before the moment was complete, They announced another to join the order. Our own good friend and Companion to the Order of the Wyvern's Scale, Baron Bran, was asked to fetch the new candidate. He walked down the aisle to take the hand of Baroness Susan of Andover, the founding Baroness of Sacred Stone. There was a great sounding of emotion as both were led to their respective vigils, and morning Court ended.

Late afternoon, there was a second Court. It began with the Court of Their new Excellencies Sacred Stone, Duncan and Emer. Immediately, they called Rowen and I forward. We presented them with new heraldic kneeling pillows for use in their Courts. I am pleased to report that they were well-received. They then carried on with Court nervously bestowing awards and Orders to their populace. In a nostalgic moment, Rowen and I remembered very much our first Court, and the nervousness that ensued.

After Baronial court ended, TRM opened Their Court. After bestowing a few awards, They called forward Baroness Rachel for her elevation. The ceremony used was one in which a representative of each of the four peerages is called forward to speak on the behalf of the candidate. It was a very emotional ceremony, and many beautiful words of praise were said about Rachel. She was then elevated, using a medallion that was worn originally by Mistress Rhiannon, and a cloak made by Master Bran. On a personal note, I was very touched that Rhiannon's medallion was used, as it was the one that I made for her. Later in Court, Baroness Susan was called forward to receive her accolade. In a similar ceremony, many people spoke the praise of Baroness Susan. It took Baron Bran everything he had to keep his composure throughout the ceremony, as he and Susan have been very good friends for a long time. Most special was the representation of the Chivalry. Susan's Knightly representative was none other than Sir Jason Michael who was not only founding Baron Sacred Stone with Susan, but also her mundane son!

By the end of the ceremony, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. But before TRM closed Court, His Majesty spoke to the good people of Atlantia of the wonder and beauty of the Kingdom. He paused briefly becoming quite overcome with emotion. He then told the populace how He and His good Queen and family would be forced to leave Atlantia shortly after the end of Their reign. (They are modernly a military family). But in the time that They have been in Atlantia, They have been made welcome, and have called it home. In short, His Majesty Stephan had everyone bawling their eyes out. I, for one, was totally overcome by the sincerity and eloquence of His Majesty. The two of Them then stood and processed out of Court as the Herald (Rhiannon) announced the end. I was truly, truly awe-struck with the emotion of the moment, and the regalness of TRM. The rest of the event was wonderful, and we were all treated with highest hospitality. All of the Trimarian guests were invited to High Table, and we enjoyed a wonderful repast made by House Corvus' very own Oshi, Sine, Eldred, and Ealdthryth! It ended shortly thereafter, and we were all left with memories of a magical time. -- GIUSEPPE

Poetry Corner

At the recent Coronation of TRM Stephan and Niobe, a poetry competition was held with the theme, "Niobe: Queen of love and beauty." In the last issue of the Raven Roundtable, I presented the first of two poems I wrote for Her Majesty. This is the second.

I chose to write this poem in the style of Chaucerian occasional verse similar to Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Complaint to His Purse.' As a man of accomplishments who was often at Court, Chaucer, like other courtiers, was called upon to write both occasional verse and lyrics. Of the handful of these shorter poems that survive, 'To Rosamund,' 'To His Scribe Adam,' 'Complaint to His Purse,' 'Merciless Beauty,' and 'Gentilesse' all bear similar style, length, meter, and rhyme. All of these poems are in the characteristic three-stanza ballade form with variations on the courtly-love lyric. Chaucer's 'Truth' is the only extant poem with four stanzas. Each line contains ten syllables in the iambic pentameter typical of all Chaucer's work.

'Complaint to his Purse,' 'Gentilesse,' and 'Truth' each contain the most challenging rhyme scheme of all Chaucer's poetry. The pattern of ababaacc is maintained in every one of their respective stanzas using identical rhymes. In other words, each successive stanza follows the exact same rhyme scheme and rhythm of the first stanza!

I have chosen not only to duplicate the form of Chaucer's lyric poetry but the language of the period as well. Since Chaucer wrote in Middle English, I thought it only appropriate to give 'Gentilesse Beautee' the same feel and resonance of Chaucer's works. I realize that this will make the poem somewhat difficult to read or, in some cases, even understand.

In the case of an oral presentation, reading Middle English is far easier than it first appears. Simply relax, aspirate most words and realize that the silent 'e' is often sounded. I find that reading Middle English aloud is actually far easier than trying to read it in your mind's eye on paper. The words are almost always familiar when you say them out loud. It's just the spelling (or lack thereof) that gets confusing.

GENTILESSE BEAUTY

Upon my trouthe, I saye you faithfully,
This Queene, I may telle you Hir wordes and cheere.
She is the Queene of all myn fantasye
Certes God, lette it be that She might heere
How Her heigh goodnesse shins down upon me,
Myn yŽn mowen nat sustene Her beautee.
Shyning as burned gold with stremes brighte;
In Atlantian trone, adown She lighte.

Yet no apparence or jogelrye,
Or jape of the yŽ of any manere
Swiche as some subtile tregettores playe;
No monstre or merveile could be so deere.
I swere to God that sit in majestee
Over my herte She has all sovereintee.
I shal Her nevere repreve, my trouthe I plighteo,
For She is the queene that patiens bihighte.

I thinketh verrailiche you may not see
Greater answere to Atlantian prayere.
She is the verray, parfit, Queene, pardee,
Leve, soote Niobe who sitteth righte heere.
But Lord Crist, whan that it remembreth me,
Abide, and lat me speken thriftily;
I wol needeth nought to feine myn delighte,
That Ye didst graunte us al this Lady brighte.

The virtue of "gentilesse" combined a courtesy of manner with a courtesy of mind. That it is not the inevitable adjunct of aristocratic birth (though most appropriate to it) was a medieval commonplace, to which Chaucer gives succinct - if conventional - expression in his poem 'Gentillesse'. It is important to observe, however, that, despite being a concept prevalent in the imagery and extravagant emotion of courtly-love lyrics, the moral democracy implied by this doctrine was never transferred by the Middle Ages to the political or even social realm. [From: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, M. H. Abrams, General Editor. (1979 by W. W. Norton & Company, New York and Chaucer's Poetry: An Anthology for the Modern Reader, E. T. Donaldson, Editor. (1958 by The Ronald Press Company, New York.]

Pretty Pictures!

I was working on the House Corvus website the other day and couldn't help but notice how many of us don't have devices or badges registered with the SCA's College of Arms. Displaying cool armoury is one of the major perks of life in these Current Middle Ages, and I'd like to see everyone endeavor to register suitable arms for themselves.

House Corvus is chock full o'heralds, any one of which would be thrilled to assist you in the development of appropriate arms. While each Kingdom has its own paperwork for submitting your name and device, the rules that govern those submissions are identical across the Known Worlde. So we really can help you prepare a submission regardless of your Kingdom. You've seen some of the great arms on our website! Don't you want to have some too? Let's get started!


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