An Oath Given

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Brennan Rí and Caoilfhionn Ban Rí
Did call for court to ended be
But up spake Ruslan, Count of East
Begging boon afore court ceased
He walk-ed towards the thrones
In solemn voice, in quiet tones
He spake of sore grave wounds
He spake of divide, of hurt abound
Brennan heard these words from peer
Of Realm and frowned hard from tier
And then this armed master’s voice
Did change from hurtful choice
He praised our King with words of joy
He spake of healing done to buoy
And cam-ed closer still
Kneeling at the Eastern Thrones
His tones rang true and clear
He asked for oath to hear
Fealty given, fealty earned
By king whose presence returned
The joy and dream to kingdom lands
Bend on knee was Count Ruslan
Brennan’s eyes did fill with tears
Such words melted away fears
Melted hearts across the court
As oath was said it did transport
We who sat transfixed were
And our eyes watered pure
Count and Master to King of Realm
King’s voice quavered, overwhelmed
But gave back oathen words
Treasure such, Eastern friends
Remember Ruslan’s restored amends

Written by Lilie Dubh inghean ui Mordha, Upon 31 March, AS L, Feast Day of Saint Machabeo
Machabeo was the Abbot of Armagh, and governed the monastaries of St. Peter and St. Paul in the 12th century.

I went to The Kildare Poems (Loscombe manuscript) of the mid-14th century for my inspiration. Written in a dialect of middle-English, most of them are in couplets. Most of them are religious in theme, praising God and Jesus. One, The Land of Cokayne, is a story about a corrupt and strange land. It is also written in couplets, but it is a story piece.

My poem is the story of Count Ruslan Novgorodcev, Master of Arms, and his willingness to give an oath of fealty to King [[Brennan mac Fearghus|Brennan] at the end of the court at King and Queen’s Bardic Champions, held on 6 March, AS L in the Shire of Owlsherst. As far as I know, this is the first time Ruslan has sworn such a fealty to a king.