A Luteless Minstrel

From The Known Words 1, long out of print and replaced by The Known Words, which doesn’t include this (among others) due to it being not of sufficiently high standard (and again, this really is hideous — but catchy!):

No details, but if there are any minstrels out there, luteless or otherwise, suffering persona angst and getting deathly sick of the SCA, may I recommend meeting a young, enthusiastic stickjockette, swapping letters, hugs and songs, and getting a dose of new enthusiasm by osmosis. It works for me!

The funny thing about this song is, I never meant it to be autobiographical, since the Fighting Maid and I were only good friends when I wrote this. Since then, it’s all happening as planned, and we’re up to the fourth verse in real life with no sign of stopping. Life imitates art!

[Footnote to the third edition: ummm… never mind, forget I said anything. Carry on.]


A long time ago lived a luteless minstrel, born to a shire in a distant land,
Who sang all day with both feet in his mouth, and most of the night with his heart in his hand.
He never spoke right to the ruling gentry, never did learn how to play their games,
Got chased from the fire by “Summer Is I-Cumin In” and stern old frowns with Italian names.

A long time ago lived a fighting lady, born to the barony named for a tree,
So filled with joy she could scarcely hold in, kicking through the leaves with a boundless glee,
Her family said, don’t be walking out so late, never go out when the moon is high,
But she never cared, with her sword to guard her, walked with a will under thundering sky.

Out by a fire where they both took refuge, the minstrel met with the fighting maid,
He sang for her and she sang right back at him, he held her close and for a while they stayed,
But he to his shire to return was destined, she to her barony was drawn to go,
They parted with a tear and a dream to return there, some fine night when the fire was low.

Every night of the full moon shining, the minstrel rode on his tireless bay,
Over the hills to the tree-girt barony, over the valleys he made his way,
They never had time for a life and a family, seizing the minutes wherever they could,
Singing in the dawn, sharing tears and laughter, needing no words to be understood.

A long time it’s been for the luteless minstrel, hair turned to grey and his voice now thin,
A long time as well for the fighting maid, but to he she’s as fair as she ever had been,
Don’t be a slave to the miles between you, touch and sing when the fates decree,
Love’s never ruled by time and borders, share your heart and you’ll be set free.