Mercenary's Lullaby

by Isabel Northwode

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about

This is an SCA song I wrote in dedication to the Barony of Ruantallan and the Crown Principality of Tir Mara (i.e. Nova Scotia and the Maritimes). Although I'm originally from Eoforwic (Toronto) in Ealdormere (Ontario), it is the people of Seashire (Halifax) and the surrounding lands that introduced me to the SCA and adopted me into their family, and I wanted to write a song in their honour. I had written the melody with different lyrics originally, before I joined the SCA, and when I decided to adapt it I wrote a new story to go with it as well as a harmony for a second voice.

lyrics

(Second voice is after the slash on each line, sung over top of the first voice.)

Tir Mara lies on every side
Mainland behind and isle ahead,
Ten years of war have passed since I
Have seen the home I know.

Now I can see the docks and shore, / Once more will I see the isle in the east
The masts and walls and fort above. / Where the land crumbles into the sea
I will not wander anymore / And blue-grey waves roll far away:
From the only home I know. / The land and home I know.

I’ve seen the towers of Eoforwic, / I long once more for rocky shores,
The pine-dark woods and golden plains, / For fields and hills and sea,
But none can make my heart forget / And may my prayers now bring me there:
The only home I know / Back to the home I know.

The youngest son of three am I,
With neither land nor vows to take,
I did not grieve to leave behind
That life, and all I’d known.

I left Tir Mara ten years past / Glory by sword is the making of lords
When war and fortune-seeking called: / And the world is spread out before me
A chance to leave this place at last / I cannot stay and waste away
This life, and all I’ve known. / When this place is all I know.

At first I did not miss the coast, / Great feasting halls and dramas and balls
For awe consumed my heart and mind, / And candles that burn until morning
But soon the thing I wanted most / And yet my mind won’t leave behind
Was the only home I know. / The only home I know.

I showed my skill and made my name
And all the while I wished for home,
I pray, God, let me see again
The only home I know.

I thought my wish was just a dream / The journey home is long and slow
For home was still so far away, / On wild waters and roads
And many years yet lay between / And I believed I’d never see
Myself and all I know. / The only home I know.

But now, ten years since I first left, / But there in my view stream silver and blue:
I see the shore loom up ahead. / The flag of the northern star
And now my life may start afresh / And it shines in the sun and I know I have come
In the only home I know. / Back to the home I know.

credits

released October 14, 2014

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about

Isabel Northwode Toronto, Ontario

Peryn Westerhof Nyman, aka Isabel Northwode, is an historical reenactor who performs music from a variety of time periods. Originally from Canada, she is currently based in the UK.

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