For it's Alexandra's castle, that's where we love to rest,
Strewn on the comfy couches with the friends we love the best!
The backyard in the summer, the kitchen in the cold,
The host and hostess all year 'round with hearts as good as gold!
One Sunday each July, we go to visit Alex fair,
To prepare for Poor Man's Pennsic and to overrun her lair.
There are Keepers here and Keepers there--oh what a rowdy pack--
And there stands Alex calmly, barbecuing in the back.
Oh, Alexandra's castle is a house of mysteries:
There's everything you'd ever want, more than you'd ever need.
Banners, wood, and paper, yarn and needles, nails and wire,
And have you seen the Fabric Room? Ahhhh...she could garb the bleedin' Shire!
There's an armory in the basement and there's lumber in the shed,
Raspberries in the garden and cats purring on the bed.
And Alex and Janvier create the work of their four hands
To the honor of their home, the Shire, and all the Northshield lands!
Yes, Alexandra's castle is the heartbeat of the Keep.
If ever you are lonely or you need a place to sleep,
Alex and Janvier will take you home and tuck you in--
They'll feed you full to bursting and they'll treat you just like kin.
Notes about this song: There was a challenge that intrigued me at Bardic Madness X, in the Barony of Windhaven (Appleton, WI), this past February. It went something like this:
In Praise of the Hostellier: Compose/present/depict a work in praise of someone who has shown you great hospitality, or of great hospitality shown in period.
Everyone has a thing that they feel very strongly about in the SCA. For me, at least for my first few years in the SCA, it's that my home group, the Shire of Falcon's Keep, is a wonderful group full of interesting and welcoming people. Others have actually noticed that I am kind of a booster for Falcon's Keep. What can I say? They deserve it.
Among the most significant people to me in the Shire is the Lady who was its Seneschal until this month (4/00), Lady Alexandra. Lady Alex will do anything to help others. Her generosity, her endless good cheer, her talents in vintning and fencing and sewing and especially administration, make her an invaluable part of the Shire. And one can't really talk about Alex without mentioning Janvier, perhaps the oldest kid I know ;) , whose skill in fencing, heavy fighting, vintning, woodwork, and MANY other areas are only outdistanced by the enthusiasm and creativity he brings to the group.
To get to the point, these two gentles have provided more hospitality than anyone I know. Examples range from the Great Flood of Poor Man's Pennsic 1997 when they made room for 35 wet people in their house, to the many monthly moots they have hosted, to the July work moot where they always host the entire Shire in their efforts to prepare for Poor Man's Pennsic, to Alex's tendency to invite you over for dinner even if you only called to ask for someone else's phone number. There is always good food, good fellowship, music, movies, and fun.
And so, when responding to the above challenge, for me there was no decision: Alex and Janvier must be the focus of this song. And so they are!
I have sung this only a few times in public, at Bardic Madness X and at Hare Affaire, and both times I stalled out at Verse 3. The appreciative crowd at the feast at Hare Affaire actually began clapping, I was silent so long trying to remember the words. I'm sure they all remember me primarily for the cry of consternation I emitted before yelling, "No no! There's more!".
It's not the most period-sounding song, but here's how I know it's good: when I sang it for Lady Alex and the Shire at the February 2000 moot, she started crying. That's enough for me.