Ode to Birka

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This contrafact was written and performed by Drake Oranwood as his Round 2 entry at Queen & Crown Bardic Champions in 2020.

More details, and video of the performance, can be found on Drake's song page.

Lyrics

Ode to Birka

Words by Drake Oranwood, February 2020

(Tune of “My love hath vowed he will forsake me” by Thomas Campion, song #5 from Philip Rosseter’s A Book of Ayres, 1601)


My hotel vowed that they would take me,

But claim now they have no room.

What of the promise they did make me?

Bunk-mates I must find, or doom!


If I cannot trust their clerk (a
Man who gave to me his word),
I will go no more to Birka.


At last, perusing silken riches,

Lace and leather I traverse.

(In troth, for all my skill with stitches,

None shall e’er repair my purse.)


Thirteenth-century beads (or circa),
Dread expenses thus incurred,
Where else can I find but Birka?


Shops, classes, fighting, songs and fencing,

From me, ever time doth fleet.

In two mere days these joys condensing—

Oh! Did I forget to eat?


Now methinks the bar’s a perk! A-
Vail shall I till vision’s blurred:
Heavily to drink at Birka.


At home, I face my last misfortune:

Hacking cough and fever’d blood.

Curse all those flatt’ring, smiling merchants!

I’ve contracted Birka Crud.


If this plague means I can’t work on
All my fabric, that’s absurd!
I will go no more to Birka.
I will go no more to Birka.