Bards, Troubadours, Poets

 One of my favorite aspects of the SCA is our bards. My favorite is Liam Devlin, who I get to hear at Gulf Wars every year…and occassionally at other events. When I take part in bardic circles, I tend to recite poetry because my voice is quite average and suited mainly to car and shower singing. Here are a couple poems that I recite around the fire (I made a little booklet, so that whenever the opportunity may arise I have something to contribute to the perfection that is the bardic circle):


AND wilt thou leave me thus ?
  Say nay !  say nay !  for shame
  To save thee from the blame
Of all my grief and grame.
And wilt thou leave me thus
Say nay ! Say nay !
    And wilt thou leave me thus ?
That hath lov’d thee so long ?
In wealth and woe among :
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus ?
Say nay ! Say nay !
    And wilt thou leave me thus ?
That hath given thee my heart
Never for to depart ;
Neither for pain nor smart :
And wilt thou leave me thus ?
Say nay ! Say nay !
    And wilt thou leave me thus ?
And have no more pity,
Of him that loveth thee ?
Alas !  thy cruelty !
And wilt thou leave me thus ?
Say nay ! Say nay !



English: Same as :Image:Perdigon with fiddle.j...


 My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,

My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,

My crop of corn is but a field of tares,

And all my good is but vain hope of gain;

The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,

And now I live, and now my life is done.


My tale was heard and yet it was not told,

My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,

My youth is spent and yet I am not old,

I saw the world and yet I was not seen;

My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,

And now I live, and now my life is done.


I sought my death and found it in my womb,

I looked for life and saw it was a shade,

I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,

And now I die, and now I was but made;

My glass is full, and now my glass is run,

And now I live, and now my life is done.

Here is information I’ve copied from the web about Bards, Troubadours, and Poets:

A Bardic Circle, at least in an SCA context, is simply a setting for the listeners to entertain each other. This can be with poetry, song, and stories. All should participate, though it is not necessary for all to contribute to make it a fun thing to do. What IS necessary is that the number of things done by each person at any one time be limited, to keep the inevitable “stage-hog” from monopolizing the evening, and to keep the “Awful No-Talent Stage Hog” from running everyone off.

In medieval Gaelic and British culture a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities.

A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100–1350). Since the word “troubadour” is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz.

The troubadour school or tradition began in the late 11th century in Occitania,[citation needed] but it subsequently spread into Italy, Spain, and even Greece. Under the influence of the troubadours, related movements sprang up throughout Europe: the Minnesang in Germany, trovadorismo in Galicia and Portugal, and that of the trouvères in northern France. Dante Alighieri in his De vulgari eloquentia defined the troubadour lyric as fictio rethorica musicaque poita: rhetorical, musical, and poetical fiction. After the “classical” period around the turn of the 13th century and a mid-century resurgence, the art of the troubadours declined in the 14th century and eventually died out around the time of the Black Death (1348).

The texts of troubadour songs deal mainly with themes of chivalry and courtly love. Most were metaphysical, intellectual, and formulaic. Many were humorous or vulgar satires.

A phenomenon arose in Italy, recognised around the turn of the 20th century by Giulio Bertoni, of men serving in several cities as podestàs on behalf of either the Guelph or Ghibelline party and writing political verse in Occitan rhyme. These figures generally came from the urban middle class. They aspired to high culture and though, unlike the nobility, they were not patrons of literature, they were its disseminators and its readers.

The first podestà-troubadour was Rambertino Buvalelli, possibly the first native Italian troubadour, who was podestà of Genoa between 1218 and 1221. Rambertino, a Guelph, served at one time or another as podestà of Brescia, Milan, Parma, Mantua, and Verona. It was probably during his three-year tenure there that he introduced Occitan lyric poetry to the city, which was later to develop a flourishing Occitan literary culture.

Among the podestà-troubadours to follow Rambertino, four were from Genoa: the Guelphs Luca Grimaldi, who also served in Florence, Milan, and Ventimiglia, and Luchetto Gattilusio, who served in Milan, Cremona, and Bologna, and the Ghibellines Perceval Doria, who served in Arles, Avignon, Asti, and Parma, and Simon Doria, sometime podestà of Savona and Albenga. Among the non-Genoese podestà-troubadours was Alberico da Romano, a nobleman of high rank who governed Vicenza and Treviso as variously a Ghibelline and a Guelph. He was a patron as well as a composer of Occitan lyric.


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