Pennsic Warrior's Lament

On the way back from Pennsic 44 this past summer, I wrote a song. It was something I'd been thinking, “Someone ought to write this”. There's some backgroiund.

There is a song in the SCA, which I first ran across in an East Kingdom songbook thirty years ago. The book was gifted me in thanks for something I'd done, but that's another adventure and a LONG (at least two-beverage) tale itself. The song is “Farewell Ye Banks of Cooper's Lake”, by Bronwyn Jourdemaine. It's to the tune of “Banks of Sicily”.

I never learned the song or the tune, but the title stuck in my head. As a lyric, it scans rather well to the beginning of “MacPherson's Lament”. For years now, as I depart Cooper's Lake, that line pops into my head, to that tune. Then, I go on, humming “MacPherson's” to myself as I drive. Thus, Lady Bronwyn, with her song title, gave me my first line.

Returning from Pennsic this day, I realized that “It'd be great if someone wrote that”, wouldn't get anyone anywhere. I turned off the radio, fired up the voice recorder so I'd remember what I did, and tortured my phone for about sixty miles. Rather than bedevil the reader with a recording, here are the lyrics and a link to the tune:

Pennsic Warrior's Lament

Dexter Guptill, aka Erich von Kleinfeld

Tune: MacPherson's Lament

Farewell, ye shores of Cooper's Lake, Farewell, Farewell to thee.

A year apart may not be long, but feels much more to me


We fought all day and we danced all night, we feasted and we sang,

It grieves my heart that now we part, but I'll return again

In Battle's fury we found our joy, our mettle we did test,

On Pennsic field amid friend and foe, met brothers we love best.

Of Arts and Lore we taught and learned, and thereby did we grow,

In song and stories told by firelight, our memories' seeds did sow.


To bog we go in quest of ribaldry, by drum and firelight,

It's folly, for tomorrow I must fight, but I'll not sleep tonight.

We cheered in Court when friends were recognized, we wept as Longship burned,

This mundane world is all so drab and gray, but I vow I'll return.


The cannons roar and the armies clash, in quest of victory.

Some years we win, and some we lose, it matters naught to me.