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First Word

With all my preparations for Pennsic XXIX well underway, I had the sudden inspiration to do another Raven Roundtable before the event. I figure weíll all have tons of news after the event to share. But, I had some things building up already, so I figured, why not do an issue before leaving for the War?

Next to Mabinogi events, Pennsic is the next largest gathering of House Corvus all in one place. You donít know how excited that makes me! Though Iíll confess that, several times already, Iíve waffled about my commitment to attend. The silly, (and not so silly) stressors linked to going to Pennsic sometimes whittle away at my resolve to actually go. And, even though I always do go, and I always have a great time, I still have to psyche myself into it most years. This year was, of course, no exception. It is the enthusiasm I feel about seeing all of the Corvites who will also be attending that shores up my resolve!

Also jazzing me are the little projects I always plot for the next Pennsic that, for once, Iíve actually accomplished! Since my first Pennsic in 1985, Iíve always admired those personalized, heraldic shields hanging on the gates of encampments showing whoís inside. I especially drooled over Lochmereís impressive assemblage of shields when they camped across the street from us two years ago. Well, I finally got off my ass and actually painted shields for everyone in the House Corvus encampment who have registered arms! I didnít do anyoneís whose arms I couldnít track down in the Armorial & Ordinary. So, all told, I actually only had to paint sixteen shields (Jason and Susan already have theirs). Still, I canít wait to set them up and see it on display. Just one more piece of heraldic display to add to our already bitchiní road frontage! Hopefully, this will also give added incentive to those people who donít have registered arms to finally submit. How handy that the House Corvus encampment is hosting the annual Atlantian Pennsic consult table on Tuesday, August 15th.

Speaking of the fifteenth, Iíll be conducting the Third Annual Heraldic Walking Tour at Pennsic. Iíve never actually done this before, so Iím pretty excited about it. Truly, you never see such a rich assortment of heraldry on display as you do at this event. Iím so glad that Rhiannon asked me to do it this year in my role as Sea Stag Herald. She even had me make up little certificates of merit to hand out along the way!

I was fortunate enough to rediscover an excellent movie on television this past weekend: Mary, Queen of Scots. Made in 1972 and starring Vanessa Redgrave as the titular monarch, I had forgotten just what a truly good film it is. It also stars Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I, Maryís erstwhile adversary. Itís one of those pseudo-historical movies that I love to watch. It captures the history well enough, and where it errs, itís minor. In fact, the filmís only overt contrivances are the brief meetings between Mary and Elizabeth themselves. Historically, the two women never actually came face to face. However, had they ever met (and who can really say?), I believe those scenes would have played out exactly as this movie presents them. How often does that happen? You watch a historical drama and feel that, even where it fictionalizes, it rings perfectly true. With performances that capture the nuances of both the politics and the personal relationships of these women, I strongly recommend that you rent it and watch it. You wonít be sorry. -- BRAN

The Missing Link

Last Saturday, Robert and I had the bizarre, but interesting, experience of having MRIís done. We were helping out some researchers at MUSC who were conducting various stimulation experiments. I was, of course, horrified at my ugly, flat head and Neanderthal-like brow on my cranium.

Bran's MRI.

I Got This in the Mail

Warmest greetings and congratulations unto Bran Trefonnen from Dame Honor of Restormel, Society Chronicler.

I am very pleased to tell you that four pieces of your artwork have been submitted as the best artwork in a newsletter. The artwork consists of 4 different pieces of cover art which you did for February 2000 issues of Atlantian newsletters: The Mountain Mayhem, The Phoenix, The Talon, and The Minstrel. These nominations are part of Atlantiaís entries in the competition for the Annual William Blackfox Awards.

You may recall that Master William Blackfox was the creator of cartoons which appeared in Kingdom newsletters until his untimely death. He was very helpful and supportive of Chroniclers throughout the SCA. In his honor, we have developed the William Blackfox awards which serve to recognize excellence in the work of the chronicler and contributors. There will be more explanation of the awards in a future issue of Tournaments Illuminated which is when the winners of the awards will be announced.

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, it is a mark of excellence to be considered among the best in the Known World. Congratulations! You should be proud of your accomplishments! Keep up the good work.

The winners of the competition will be notified around September and the official notifications will be in Kingdom newsletters and Tournaments Illuminated.

Best Wishes! In faithful service, Honor of Restormel, OP
Society Chronicler

Referring to These...

This was a set of covers I did for the February issues of various newsletters in Sacred Stone. Originally, I had only planned on doing a cover for The Phoenix.

The February 2000 Phoenix cover. Copyright ©2000 Scot W. Myers February 2000 Talon cover. Copyright ©2000 Scot W. Myers

But, drawing that picture actually got me inspired to do a matching cover of a female fighter. So, inspired by the Hawkwood seneschale, Lady Fiona (and the breastplate she wears that I built!), I volunteered a cover for the February issue of the Hawkwood newsletter, The Talon.

I then realized that drawing a cover for just one branch in Sacred Stone wasnít really fair as there were two other branches that always sent me copies of their local newsletters as well. So, I drew two more covers matching the Phoenix piece. One for Baelfire Dunnís Minstrel and another for Aire Fauconís Aire Currents. I wanted to draw one for the Guardians but I hadnít seen one of their newsletters in years and wasnít even sure if they still had one. So, I stuck to the newsletters I had been receiving the whole time I was a Kingdom officer. These were the result:

February 2000 Minstrel cover. Copyright ©2000 Scot W. Myers February 2000 Aire Currents cover. Copyright ©2000 Scot W. Myers

Of course, I didnít know it at the time, but Aire Faucon ceased its printed version of their newsletter that same month, so the Currents cover was never seen. Still, apparently the cover I drew for my new home, the Barony of Hidden Mountain, that fateful February made it into the mix.

February 2000 Mayhem cover. Copyright ©2000 Scot W. Myers

Poetry Corner

The Gift

I have no doubt I am guilty,
That I gave offense or chagrin,
How have I harmed thee, Majesty--
What is my sin?

Through my verse and art I praise thee,
My humility genuine;
And yet you seek to disgrace me,
Due to my sin?

The height of virtue is mercy,
From there all healing can begin;
Let hard hearts melt in harmony--
Surely you sin.

So, pardon me of this felony,
Though its kind remains mystery;
Fix this idle conspiracy,
With courtesy.

--Bran Trefonnen (3/00)


I realize that not too many people have ever even heard of George Herbert, let alone read his poetry. I consider him to really be the first of the Metaphysical poets who would come to dominate the next two hundred years of English poetry. While more people might hang John Donne with that accolade, there as many who would argue. That certainly isnít my point here! I wanted to choose the style of a poet whose work I felt had profoundly affected the style of the century in which he lived. Herbert did indeed do that. Moreover, he was born in period (1593) and I wanted that connection. While a contemporary to other literary giants of the day, including Shakespeare, it would be Herbert and Donne who would shape and, in fact, create what we think of as ďmodern poetry.Ē For that reason, along with others, he inspired my work.

George Herbert was born in Wales on April 3, 1593, the fifth son of Richard and Magdalen Newport Herbert. After his father's death in 1596, he and his six brothers and three sisters were raised by their pious mother, patron to John Donne who dedicated his 'Holy Sonnets' to her.

Herbertís first two sonnets, sent to his mother in 1610, maintained that the love of God is a worthier subject for verse than the love of woman. They foreshadowed his future religious and poetic inclinations. His first verses to be published, in 1612, were two memorial poems in Latin on the death of Prince Henry, the heir apparent.

After taking his degrees with distinction (B.A. in 1613 and M.A. in 1616), Herbert was elected a major fellow of Trinity, in 1618 he was appointed Reader in Rhetoric at Cambridge, and in 1620 he was elected public orator (to 1628). In 1624 and 1625 Herbert was elected to represent Montgomery in Parliament. In 1626, at the death of Sir Francis Bacon, (who had dedicated his Translation of Certaine Psalmes to Herbert the year before) he contributed a memorial poem in Latin. Herbert's mother died in 1627; her funeral sermon was delivered by Donne. In 1629, Herbert married his step-father's cousin Jane Danvers, and his brother Edward Herbert, the noted philosopher, was elevated to the peerage as Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

Herbert could have used his prestigious post of orator as a stepping-stone to high political office, but he gave up his secular ambitions, took holy orders in the Church of England in 1630, and spent the rest of his life as rector in Bemerton near Salisbury. At Bemerton, George Herbert preached and prayed; he rebuilt the church out of his own pocket; he visited the poor, consoled the sick, and sat by the bed of the dying. "Holy Mr. Herbert" became the talk of the countryside in the three short years before he died of consumption on March 1, 1633.

A Priest to the Temple (1652), Herbert's Baconian manual of practical advice to country parsons, bears witness to the intelligent devotion with which he undertook his duties as priest. Herbert had long been in ill health. On his deathbed, he sent the manuscript of The Temple to Nicholas Ferrar, asking him to publish the poems only if he thought they might do good to "any dejected poor soul." It was published in 1633. It met with enormous popular acclaim and ran to 13 editions by 1680.

Herbert's poems are characterized by a precision of language, a metrical versatility, and an ingenious use of imagery or conceits that was favored by the metaphysical school of poets. They include almost every known form of song and poem, but they also reflect Herbert's concern with speech--conversational, persuasive, and proverbial. Carefully arranged in related sequences, the poems explore and celebrate the ways of God's love as Herbert discovered them within the fluctuations of his own experience. Because Herbert is as much an ecclesiastical as a religious poet, one would not expect him to make much appeal to an age as secular as our own; but it has not proved so. All sorts of readers have responded to his quiet intensity, myself included. I have chosen the verse form Herbert created for his final poem, Virtue (1633).


The Bodleian Manuscript of George Herbert's Poems: A Facsimile of Tanner 307
Introduced by Amy M. Charles and Mario A. Di Cesare. ©1984 by Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, Delmar.

Anthology of English Literature M. H. Abrams, General Editor. ©1979 by W. W. Norton & Company, New York.

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