In the spring of 2012, the Barony of Altavia celebrated their Anniversary with an event themed around the tales of King Arthur. The day’s activities included a ‘Legends and Lore’ competition, in which prizes would be awarded to those who embraced and embodied elements of the Aurthurian myth cycles. Given my love for this topic, I simply had to write something new for the occasion!
The result is ‘Lament of the Four Queens,’ a four part round with original lyrics of my own composition, set to original music composed by THL Cecilia Lightfoot.
The lyrics tell the story of how the Four Queens sailed to Avalon, bearing the body of the fallen King Arthur after his defeat at the battle of Camlann, and the prophecy of his eventual return:
“…more of the very certainty of his death heard I never read, but thus was he led away in a ship wherein were three queens; that one was King Arthur’s sister, Queen Morgan le Fay; the other was the Queen of Northgalis; the third was the Queen of the Waste Lands. Also there was Nimue, the chief lady of the lake…
…More of the death of King Arthur could I never find, but that ladies brought him to his burials…
…Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross. I will not say it shall be so, but rather I will say, here in this world he changed his life. But many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse: Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus.”
– Le Morte d’Arthur, Sir Thomas Mallory
Lament of the Four Queens
O Avalon, where once was forged the mighty Caliburn:
To you we bring our fallen king, whom all Britannia mourns!
His kingdom lost, the man yet lives, so to your shores we bring,
Our fallen lord, who’ll rise again, our Once and Future King.