Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Book Curses--and my own!

A few more links I found:

I was trying to work on a poem for "inspiration" but these curses make me laugh. So, inspired by a favorite curse all around--book in the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona I wrote my own.

The Original:

For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand & rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, & all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, & let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, & when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever.

 from a book in the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona

I wasn't found of the rhyme from this one but I did like the sentiment.
Whoever steals this Book of Prayer
May he be ripped apart by swine,
His heart be splintered, this I swear,
And his body dragged along the Rhine
(early 16th c)

This is mine--inspired by the Book Curse genre and Dr. Seuss!

Curse from Alienor's Booke of Common Prayer

If thou should steal this book of prayer,
Thou are not welcome anywhere.
Every door shall close to thee,
Wanderer thou are and shall always be.
Neither God's Angels nor Hell below,
Shall take thee, where shall you go?
Stay to the Earth and wander far,
Cursed be, the thief you are.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I have previously written my acrostic in the style of François Villon, in French. First, the actualy French again and then an English translation by request.Translation doesn't keep the acrostic or scheme, just gives the meaning.
Allons-y au départ, c’est l'aventure ou rien
Liaisons d'amour ou amitié main en main.
Ile de France, centre belle
Est-ce que tu es encore fidele ?
Noyant pas dans l’hiver tristesse
Ore de printemps arrive en vitesse
Remplie mon cœur en son jeunesse.


Let us go for the journey, it is adventure or nothing.
Perhaps a love song or just friendship, hand in hand.
Ile de France, center so fair.
Are you still true?
Drown not it the winter for sadness
Now is the time for quick spring gladness
Fills up my heart in her youth.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book curses

Mixing it up a little, I'm going to start including posts about research, including links to interesting finding. This was originally posted on my livejournal blog

I always knew that books were very valuable in period, but the discovery that clerks wrote in "book curses" against anyone who would steal a book amuses me. I glossed over the apparent used of it when I read Chaucer's "House of Fame"

Some examples I loved: 

"Whoever steals this book let him die the death; let be him be frizzled in a pan; may the falling sickness rage within him; may he be broken on the wheel and be hanged"

Placing Middle English in context By Irma Taavitsainen has a chapter where she discuses the use of the genre.

Anathema!: Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses‎ by Marc Drogin, apparently also discusses it.

"Whoever Alters This, May God Turn His Face from Him on the Day of Judgment": Curses in
Anglo-Saxon Legal Documents by Brenda Danet and Bryna Bogoch
The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 105, No. 416 (Spring, 1992), pp. 132-165

Author, Scribe, and Curse: the Genre of "Adam Scriveyn" by Glending Olson.
The Chaucer Review v. 42 no. 3 (2008) p. 284-97

"Bibliomania and the Medieval Book Curse" by Sandra Anderson, March 2003
Anderson's works cited--

This site even has awsome graphics someone drew:

And now you can even buy one for your personal library: 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Return of Arthur

Written for the challenge of "Every Ending is a New Beginning"
 "Everyone loves a happy ending, but a happy ending that could be the beginning of another adventure is even better. Present a work that gives a new chapter to a well-known tale or new verses to a beloved song."

I picked a legend that ends with death ('cause dammit A LOT of Medieval/Renaissance stories DO) and decided to do it as Alienor Hathaway, English Lady at the time of Mary who's worried that the natural order of things is a mess with a Queen on the throne. I had to go against Mariessa's feminist views to write it.

The World I live in is in turmoil.

A Queen by divine right can only mean the divine retribution. King Arthur’s gravestone at Glastonbury says “Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque furturs” or ‘Here lies Arthur, king that was, king that shall be.’, Hearing tell of this, King Philip, consort of Her Majesty, Queen Mary, has sworn that he would give up all claims and resign to the rightful King of England, should he return.

Arthur is not dead, but sleeps. The Grail awakens him. Be it from the Wild Hunt or mystic Avalon. God will call forth Arthur should this turmoil continue. For if his people are ever in such dire danger, Arthur is bound as protector to return under the sing of the dragon.

No one knows how he shall come. But in this, my own story, I see his return and with it, the Grail. Military victory, a Britain again made right and God again by our side. When all that is out of order is made in order again and the divine spheres are made right. The suffering give way and the true King shall return.


I decided to challenge myself to writing a form poem since I find it easy to write in free verse. So, I thought I'd practice on the rondeau form to start since that's the style for the challenge at Bardic Madness XX. Couldn't write one in English, but I got one in French. So, that's what I ended up presenting. It did include an English Translation but rhyming/rhythm couldn't be kept for the English.

Écoutez-moi (Listen to Me!)

Écoutez-moi, vous qui est mon témoin
De temps en temps tu es trop loin
Vis a vis mon histoire
Est possible avec tes mémoires?
Mais quand même, tu es bien.

C'est vrai l'amour en son jardin
Qui me dirige sur ce chemin
C'est un commencement de nos espoirs
Écoutez-moi !

Maintenant, main dans la main
Toujours, toujours nos refrains
Est nos gloires
Mes mots en grimoires
Moi qui détesté chérubin!
Écoutez-moi !

Royal Challenge

Returned from Bardic Madness XX with works that were presented. The following is from the Royal Challenge: Wuv, Twoo Wuv…
Quote from the web page:

"As always, wuv is a big part of what bwings us togevver today. King Siegfried and Queen Elizabeth ask for your best songs, poetry, stories, etc. relating to the joy of true love. In return, They will be offering a lovely wooden harp as a prize for Their (or Their designee’s) favorite performance. Extra applause for Princess Bride references or for finding a use for the word “schmoopy”."

A Princess Bride Fan is probably going to recognize that most of these lines were lovingly ripped from the movie and forced into my rhyme.

Death cannot stop true love.
Although it may cause slight delay.
A thousand swords could not sever
The love of someone clever.
Not more noble a cause.
Above a common word and laws.
The link of dead…and not quite.
A man in black, a lady in white.
Behind the masks we wear,
There is true love: it is everywhere.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ophelia's Soliloquy

To live--or die?
Does he love me?
Should I suffer for lost love?
Or rise up against myself?
And end my misery.
To die,
To weep no more.
To end the ache that my heart feels.
I yearn for it.
To die,
To sleep in peace forever.
With my father,
We lays in the dust
For remembrance.
My heart is heavy,
What is to come?
Always fear.
Hamlet, would bear is misfortune,
Forgetting me and going to the unknown.
Why should I bear it?
This wronged lover?
This lady's torment?
The broken spirit?
This lack of justice?
No voice for my pain?
I could end it all.
In a river.

Why do mothers bear it?
To grunt and sweat while giving life?
All the while, facing death?
Yet all dread what is to come.
The unknown beyond that blood and pain of life,
Is what we known not.
Those noble men --
My father, dead.
My true love, mad.
My brother, gone.
Where may I go?
What can I do?
To a nunnery--
Or to a river.
I go.

I don't remember when I wrote this, but I belive it was probably in 2002 when I took a Shakespeare survey course. We read Hamlet and I wanted to give Ophelia words.

Banner of the Compass Star

Song is always dedicated to the inspirational Crowns of Northshield.

Sing a song of Northshield sons
And Northern daughters too.
Raise our banner overhead
The Griffin calls to you.

Raise the banner of the Compass Star
Far from home we hold dear,
From gathering storms of warfare
The Griffin Army's here.

You needn't be the boldest
We're one Army in fields of war,
Bugle notes they linger
The might Griffins soar.


Word fame of heart heartbeat
We march to do or die.
The music's in the people,
Free under Northern sky.

Written for Stephen Du Bois and Ailleanne Faelin at Warriors and Warlor XVI (2009), in which I was named Bardic Champion for their reign. I wrote a war song and was so incredibly nervous I was shaking. I'm proud of myself for this one and it's about time I posted it somewhere. I should note that I wanted to write a song to challange myself. I found my inspiration in the Queen fighting on the field at Pensic and also in the beautiful banners that Northshield has.

Crap, Man, It's Cold Here in Northshield! (a comical arrangement for a bardic creature with two heads)

By Salienor the Foolefeathre (with apologies to Master Ingus Moen)

Shuffling forth with a scarf on our face
To shield from the cold which can hit like a mace
Everyone's all huddled up in one place
'Cause CRAP MAN, it's cold here in Northshield!

HEAD ONE: Freeing my car from a near-inch of frost
HEAD TWO: Wondering just how much mileage we've lost
HEAD ONE: Getting snow chains and ignoring the cost
BOTH: Oh snowstorm the bane of my Northshield

and we're...


HEAD TWO: Donning my armor that's colder than ice
HEAD ONE: Freezing cold armor is not very nice
HEAD TWO: Skating a melee...
HEAD ONE: I'll not do that twice!

BOTH: The landscape is frozen Northshield

and we're...


HEAD ONE: Chapeaus and mantles are proudly displayed
HEAD TWO: Hey, look at all of this warm garb we have made!
HEAD ONE: Dealing in warmth is our stock and our trade
BOTH: Sweet fire the savior of Northshield

and we're...


HEAD TWO: Hugging and cuddling all through the storm
HEAD ONE: Closeness?
HEAD TWO: Hell no!
BOTH: We just want to be warm!
HEAD TWO: Sometime around Dub-dub new babes will be born
BOTH: We have to be close here in Northshield

and we're...



HEAD ONE: The Sun sudd'n'ly comes out in June or July
HEAD TWO: Dub-dub and Pennsic will quickly draw nigh
HEAD ONE: The Sun beats down on us,
HEAD TWO: we fear we my die...
(normal tempo)
BOTH: At least until next month in Northshield

and we're...


Published censoring the "Crap" in the December 2009 Nortwatch. Sarah the Fool's idea and chorus, we came up with the rest of it coming back from Border's Skermish. The nomme de plume  is taken from Sarah and Alienor + Fool and Grayfeathre. Two fools together may accomplish much.