A Lady of the Northshield

With joy and pride do I recall
The day I heard the Herald's call.
He spoke my name and I became
The newest Lady of the Northshield.

The Prince and Princess smiled at me
And gave the honor generously
To one so new, and humbled too,
To be a Lady of the Northshield.

The Lords and Ladies of this land
Shine bright as any torch in hand.
With grateful thanks I joined their ranks,
A happy Lady of the Northshield.

I serve the Northshield as I can,
In song and verse, in work and plan,
For good of all, both great and small,
For I'm a Lady of the Northshield.

Though I should roam through kingdoms far,
Where dimly glows the Compass Star,
It still will guide, and fuel the pride
I feel as a Lady of the Northshield.

And when the light of day is gone,
The bardic fire burns brightly on.
What joy to sit, and sing a bit,
And be a Lady of the Northshield.

One future day when I am dead,
Replace my circlet on my head,
And tell them all, "Before her fall,
She was a Lady of the Northshield."


Words and music 12/12/00 J. Friedman


I was just trying to remember the circumstances under which I wrote this. It was about 13 months after I got my Award of Arms. Dec. 12 was a Tuesday, the week after Boar's Head, which is always a fun event because I get to go to the Bardic Barracks at Dahrien & Mysie's house in Milwaukee. That's always fun and inspiring.

Checking my 2000 calendar, I see nothing special about the 12th. I had a training session for a database at work. I went to a Chamber Chorale rehearsal. I don't even recall whether this was one of those pieces that ambushed me at work, in the car, or perhaps late in the evening as I was going through my e-mail from the day. No idea.

This song is about the Award of Arms, the first award that most people get in the SCA. The general idea is that you receive your AoA when you have shown consistent interest in some SCA-related pursuit, spent time with your local group, and assisted with the business of the group in some way. People have gone years without getting an AoA because everyone figured they already had it. People have gotten their AoA's at their first event because the King or Prince noticed how hard they were working. Usually though, a person will get their AoA after 1-4 years of steady participation in the SCA, after friends recommend them for the award.

Once you get your AoA, you have the right to call yourself "Lord" or "Lady", to register a coat of arms with the SCA College of Heralds, and (in our Kingdom) to wear a metal or other circlet, plain or decorated with one stone.

During a discussion about Awards of Arms in Spring 2001 on the Northshield Hall listserv, I posted this song as a reflection of how I felt and feel about my AoA. It got some nice responses. Ulfin from Mistig Waetru now refers to me in e-mails as "Eliane, Lady of the Northshield"--not correct, since it implies I'm Princess or something, which is why I call the song "A Lady of the Northshield" and not simply "Lady of the Northshield". And at Poor Man's Pennsic that summer, while at the bardic circle, I got a request to sing the piece. Unfortunately I had not brought the lyrics along, and I told the requester so--only to have a copy of the lyrics, formatted nicely, thrust at me by Lord Randall (the sleepy fellow in the glasses in the Bardic Barracks photo above).

A beginning bard cherishes a secret hope that her words will make a difference, make people think or agree or disagree, or at the very least, people will like them enough to remember them from time to time. Randall carried them around with him. To me, that was a great compliment.


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