The Newbie Song


Tune: Ash Grove

When I was a newbie
Fresh into the Eastern Kingdom I tried everything
That looked like it was fun.

From workshop to practice
To guild meeting I did scurry
I tried everything
That was under the sun.

Being young and enduring
I tried damn near everything
But oft I returned
In abject misery!

For there are some activities
That God never meant for eveyrone
Take heed of my word and
Take warning by me.

The jongleur plays music
And sings sweetly as a songbird
If you can read music
They'll fight for your time.

The guildmistress approached me
Said "You will play soprano
A solo next weekend
I hope you don't mind!"

"The King and Queen it's for
Their court and spectators
And it's in th key of B

Beware of the mistress
Whose cultured voice is an alto
Take heed of my word and
Take warning by me.

Then there's the marshall
Who says "You should be a fighter
We practice on Sundays
In the High School gym."

In his borrowed blue armor
You sally forth into a melee
The knights who are present
All think that you're him.

With greatsword and axe
They make frantic attacks
'cause they think that they need
At least six on one odds.

Beware of the man who
Eats his breakfast in his chainmail
Take heed of my word and
Take warning by me.

Dancing is fun and
Flirting ever so delightful
The steps out of Playford
Are never too hard.

The Guildmistress comes in
With a brand new stack of papers
She says "Now we'll try out
A galliard"

Skipping and hopping
Then tripping and falling
She turns to us then, and says
"Okay! Let's dance!

Beware of the practice
Where a bransle is not a fist fight
Take heed of my word
And take warning by me.

herald is learned
In names and devices
The rules for his college
He keeps in his head.

I drew my device
And unto him gave all my copies
He looked at it long
And then here's what he said.

"Sable, on chief or
A cat of the former"
I looked at him long, and said

Beware of the man who
Says the sky above is azure
Take heed of my word and
Take warning by me.

As I sat despondent
At the end of the last tourney
I followed my ears to the
Source of a song.

A group of fine gentles
Said "Won't you join our circle bardic?"
My shoulders I shrugged and
I followed along.

There were stories and songs
And some fine epic poems
I laughed and I cried, and
The night was well spent.

Oh, give me the chance to
Throw my voice around a campfire
Take heed of my word and
Take warning by me!

The Footnotes

One of my activities is historical recreation, particularly with the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), who attempt to recreate various portions of the Middle Ages, e.g, music, cooking, dancing, fighting. All of the references are explanatory notes; if you're in the SCA, you might want to ignore them (since you will very likely disagree with my pithy descriptions!).

The different chapters of the Society are referred to as "Kingdoms" (East, West, etc.). The nominal rulers of each kingdom are chosen every six months at a "Crown Tourney". (The practice approximates that used in Medieval tournaments, where a "King for a day" would be chosen by combat)

To be King (or Queen) by right of arms is to win Crown Tourney. The people in charge of organizing fighting in any particular group are known as Marshalls. The primary goal of the Marshall in the SCA is to make sure that the fighting is safe (the level of risk in SCA fighting is lower than in most sports), and to encourage people to take up fighting. Weapons in SCA fighting are made out of rattan (a breed of bamboo); armor in the SCA is often made out of metal and in many cases, comparable to actual medieval armor.

A knight is a fighter who has been knighted by a reigning King.

The different subgroups that recreate music, cooking, etc., are often referred to as "Guilds" (e.g., the Cooks' Guild). A jongleur is a musician; the leader of a guild is the Guildmaster or Guildmistress.

Playford's English Dancing Master is one of the major sources of pre-modern dance. A "bransle" (pronounced "brawl") is a group dance, usually done in a circle. A galliard is an athletic sort of dance.

In feudal times, opposing armies would recognize each other by identifying insignia, known as heraldry (the French fleur de lys and the Welsh lion are perhaps the best known examples); individual works of heraldry are known as "devices". In the SCA, functions of the heralds include announcements, and helping people pick devices and names. The (loose) association of heralds is referred to as the College of Heralds.

Heralds use a different language than the rest of us, in part because of the need to specify devices. The simplest part to learn is the names of colors, which get divided into two categories: metals, which include or (gold) and argent (silver or white), and the colors, which are azure (blue), verd (green), gules (red), sable (black). (The basic rule of heraldry is never put metal on metal, or color on color: you can't have a white (argent) cat on a gold (or) background, since it's metal on metal; likewise, you can't have a black (sable) cat on green (verd). This rule supposedly comes from the need to be able to identify a device at a distance; color on color or metal on metal would blend into each other.

An SCA event is sometimes referred to as a tourney. Various activities go on at these tourneys, including fighting, dancing, etc. A bardic circle ("circle bardic" here, because of the need for scansion) is a group of people who sing songs, tell stories, etc. In camping events (the largest of which is known as Pensic, and occurs in August: Pensic has as many as 10,000 people on site), these bardic circles are often situated around campfires.

A "newbie" is a colloquial term for someone new to the SCA.

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