More Lyrics

I was at an SCA event this weekend (Northern Region War Camp, in upstate New York), and a lady that was hanging out with us (maybe someone can remind me of her name?) sang an excellent song called The Fruit of the Yew. I found the following at

(Edit: The source listed above says "-James Treebull". The song appears to have been written by Jim Pipkin.)

Grim warriors appeared, decked in iron and gold,
Their bright banners snapped in the breeze
Harvest was over, the weather was cold
Turning hot breath to cloud in the freeze.

They moved over river, and meadow and field
The peasantry scattered before
They gathered the wealth of the land on their shields
And carried it off to the shore.

"How can this happen, and where is our King?
And where are the warriors we pay?"
"Aye, the King may be King where he sits on his throne,
But his throne is four days ride away!"

Swift word was sent to the men of the woods
There'll be no trade for Winter this year.
No sacks of grain for the skin of the fox,
No ale for the flesh of the deer.

But deep in the woodlands of Wales grows a tree,
And the name of that tree is the yew.
And the fruit of the yew is a stout longbow stave
Throwing straight clothyard shafts strong and true!

They gathered in numbers from forest and fen
Walking soft as the hunting-men do,
And hung at their belts were the straight clothyard shafts
In each hand was the fruit of the yew.

And, slipping by night through the still-burning steads,
They looked for the camp by the shore
And each made a vow, as he passed by the dead,
That the morning would even the score.

Well, morning broke clear, and the raiders awoke,
With a leisurely thought for the day
Till one showed himself, and a soft bowstring spoke,
From three hundred paces away!

And as he fell dead, a loud, taunting voice spoke
"It's a pleasure to pay you your due!"
"You came seeking all of the fruits of our land,
Have a taste of the fruit of the yew!"

What use are shields that don't cover the legs?
Or helms that don't cover the eyes?
Or shirts of bright mail 'gainst the stout clothyard shaft
That can pierce through a stag on the fly?

The King arrived early, mud-spattered and tired,
Just to look on a field of the dead.
Cut down from the front as they stood in their line,
Cut down from the rear as they fled!

"And where are the men that have done me this deed?"
Asked the King, from his horse ridden lame,
"'Twas outlaws and brigands from back in the woods,
They've since fled back whence they all came."

"And would they take Pardon, and live in my Peace?"
Asked the King of his Councilor true,
Said the Councilor, "Nay, they're a quarrelsome lot;
They'll not become lawful for you."

Raiders, take heed to the gist of my tale
(It may lengthen your lives, if you will!)
When you go a-reavin' be sure of your mark!
Take care that it matches your skill!

For England pays silver, and Spain will give gold,
And France will grant land, that is true,
But seek not for wealth in the woodlands of Wales,
For they pay in the fruit of the yew!

Christmas Music

Perhaps a misleading title. I got a couple of CDs for Christmas, and I've
enjoyed one song particularly. It's on an album by Michael Longcor called
Boarding Party, and is called The Last Hero. The song is based on a poem
by G.K. Chesterton, which is available from

The song itself is just the last two paragraphs of the poem, which is
interesting, since it doesn't set up why the hero is in the process of
losing against impossible odds (he stole a woman).

Here are the lines that made it into the song:

The wind blew out from Bergen to the dawning of the day,
They ride and run with fifty spears to break and bar my way,
I shall not die alone, alone, but kin to all the powers,
As merry as the ancient sun and fighting like the flowers.
How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave.
Yea, I will bless them as they bend and love them where they lie,
When on their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky.
The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, --
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.

Know you what earth shall lose to-night, what rich uncounted loans,
What heavy gold of tales untold you bury with my bones?
My loves in deep dim meadows, my ships that rode at ease,
Ruffling the purple plumage of strange and secret seas.
To see this fair earth as it is to me alone was given,
The blow that breaks my brow to-night shall break the dome of heaven.
The skies I saw, the trees I saw after no eyes shall see,
To-night I die the death of God; the stars shall die with me;
One sound shall sunder all the spears and break the trumpet's breath:
You never laughed in all your life as I shall laugh in death.

I've been listening to it on infinite repeat, alternating with Gaudete,
ironically enough.
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Firefly meme

If you see this, quote Firefly in your LiveJournal.

No guarantee on the accuracy of this one.

Kaylee: Is that him over there?
Mal: No, that's the buffet table.
Kaylee: How can we be sure unless we interrogate it?
Mal: You go make yourself sick.