Treat Your Lessers

As Your Equals

One Knight's poetic view on the ideals of Peerage.


Done in tribute of the Knighting of Brandt Sturrock

In the Reign of King Sir Sven and Queen Signy
at Baron's Ball, Barony of Wastekeep,
Kingdom of An Tir, AS XXXIII,
Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight

This is a collection of poems, stories and quotes by Sir Master Brand deux Leons (aka McLiam)
Knight, Bard, Poet & Scholar. Consider, Question and Conclude as you will.



warrior's heart (for Christopher)

"What keep am I to hold?"

"What doorway can I bar"

"What fill to keep out cold?" {The answers are not far.}


"What song am I to sing?"

"What promise can I swear?"

"What poem to parchment bring?" {The answers come now near.}


"What foe am I to fight?"

"What battle can I win?"

"What quest is mine by right?" {The answers here begin... }


A sword you do command.

Your heart shall be your hand.



"Treat your lessers as your equals, your equals as your Betters
and the King and Queen with the respect due to Sovereigns". [Trad.]


"By example: Lead. By Encouragement: Strengthen.

By Vigilance: Allow Only Honour."


"To always BE right, speak of why new ideas should fail.

To always DO right, strive to bring about good things"


"Chivalry: A deliberate act that benefits other's more than oneself."

to those who work to make things come to be:

woken dreamers (for John W.)

The walls of Caerleon* did long since fall.
No meadows flower at the noiseless gate.
No travelers attend the feasting hall.
No tilting rings the list at horses' gait.
Excalibur is lost into the lake
And there it's sheathed within its muddy floor.
No Vict'ry can it ever sway or make.
No might can it lend Right to, ever more.
And Arthur lies, in death, on Avalon.
His wounds too griev'us to let live again.
And Merlin, too, has faded and is gone.
What King remains to stand for what has been?
"May Chivalry enflow'r yet in our time?"
"Will swords of steel again be drawn from stone?"
They may, if hearts yet pound, and bards still rime.
For yet, as dreamers wake, we're not alone. (*another name for "Camelot")


to the bards (to Grif)

Tell the stories, sing the songs Let the young ones know our lives.
Make the truth the better tale See that honor grows and thrives.


a reminder (a toast to Knights)

Knights who are noble Who Take the trouble

To do goodly deeds Because of their creeds

Return to their belt Respect that is felt.


the touch of healing

The caring of others is there in your hand

And, certain as seedlings that lay in the land,

Their promise to prosper will bear fruit in full

If care such as yours is given by all.



"Creativity is the useful application of accident."


"fight as you can for right, with mind and soul and might."


"By deed and word of court'eous thought

great work's begun and done and taught."

a knight never stands alone (for Squire Robert) (a lyric or script)

What is a Knight without their Land?
But with no place to serve or stand.
What is a Knight without their Shield?
But sad a warrior bound to yield.
What is a Knight without their Steed?
But, without height and with no speed.
What is a Knight without their Spur?
Unable, then, to guide or stir.
What is a Knight without their Spear?
But with no weapon to turn fear.
What is a Knight without their Queen?
But like a bird without a wing.
What is a Knight without their King?
But like a harp without a string
What is a Knight without their Chain?
To fealty they have no claim
What is a Knight without more Knights?
Unable to keep Wrongs from Rights
What is a Knight without their Word?
Untrusted as a wolf with herd.
What is a Knight without their Name?
But like a fire without a flame.
What is a Knight without a Squire?
But like a hearth without a fire.
Now, what is a Knight who these command
But one who then can serve The Land
(FIRE): by teaching Truth from Mouth and hand.
(FLAME): by bringing warmth to heart and Land
(WORD): by keeping trust as sea does sand
(KNIGHTS): and holding with a noble band
(CHAIN): with fealty both firm and grand
(KING): and sharing fame of noble brand*
(QUEEN): inspired by grace that has all spanned
(SPEAR): with weapons to defeat fear's stand
(SPUR & STEED): and skill to ride and guide what's planned
(SHIELD): can Fame and Name of "Good" expand
(LAND): To serve A Knight must these command.
A Knight never stands alone. A Knight never stands alone.
(*"brand", the mark. Not the poet;-)


young knight (for Kees)

I wear the clothing of a Knight-at-Arms
And bring about me all my noble things.
My sword and shield, my silver coat of rings
To ready stand to keep my land from harms.
I ride my horse all in my battle gear
And fight to free the innocent from wrong.
I climb the castle tower, high and strong.
And open up the gate to rousing cheer.
I know that some will say I live a dream
That "Knights and what they stood for all are gone".
I follow not their words for they are wrong.
For Knights do live, and what they give does gleam.
One only needs to do the deeds of right
To live again the honor of a Knight.


the fighter's war cry is poetry, for it comes from their soul

The poet settles through the hall at night.
He joins within the scattered talking there.
His lute and harp are strung to ease the fright
Reminding sons and brothers what they dare.
The heroes from the past do live again
With legend for their blood and fame their name.
Cold weapons hot with purpose do begin
To pulse with passion for the daylight game.
Around the hall, the hounds of battle stay.
And, with the night, lay quiet for the now.

Come dawn, all thought of else will shattered be
But now, in dreams, their fear does furrow brow.
The harper plays to give them strength and cause.

The morrow sees him sing with what he draws.


the scabbard (for Gunther)

The Sky, it sheathes the broiling Sun, As sands do shore the seas.
The Scabbard cradles Havoc's own To give it sleep and peace.

The Heart does bear our Pain and Care, The Mind, all Thought and Dreams.
The Scabbard keeps the edge in prayer Embracing fatal gleams.

The Eye holds beauty (and its kin) The Hand all trade and tool.
The Scabbard grasps the key within That locks and opens "Rule."

The World's within, the Sky's without A babe rests in the womb.
The Scabbard's greater, never doubt... For it contains our Doom.

The World within, the Sky without, A womb surrounded babe.
The Scabbard's greater, never doubt... For it contains the blade.



"If you wish to leave behind great things that live on,

do not expect to be thanked for it by many, except in eulogy."


"Never assume Talent guarantees Success."



The Custom of a sword is it will cut when it does strike
The Practice of a horse will make it run at wall or pike.
The Manner of a falcon is its will to hunt at call.
The Habit of a hound lies in their loyalty through all.

The Nature of a rock is it will break before it bends.
The Disposition of the moon repeats its monthly wends.
The Fashion of the sun will show its faithful face each dawn.
But Honor speaks to -what was done-, when "what is said" is gone.
Our pledge, our oath, our promises are anchors to the winds
They keep in place our Ship of State, inspiring faithful friends.
The future is an unknown sea upon which we must sail.
Without our faith well built on trust, we could not hope but fail.
We live, we grow, we loose, we die. These truths cannot be 'scaped.
But honor keeps our deeds in true, and keeps our futures shaped.

(This is about watching the path we could have chosen disappear behind us.

We have all been here.)


honour (The Sonnet form of the previous piece)

A rock will break before it ever bends
The moon repeats its masks in monthly wends.
The Sun is ever faithful at the dawn.
The Seasons overtake us one by one.

The tides do sweep the shore in even turns
New babes are born, grow old and so do learn.
Each spring sees swallows coming back to sing
And summer sees what harvest's promise bring.

That Nature sets these things to be's assured
And each in turn repeats its part rehearsed.

We have, in our cacophony, endured
By willingly adapting each day's verse.
Our actions guided by what's sworn on sword
Take well their noble shape from honor's word.



"The Seven Deadly Sins, how can so few win siege against so many

(unless there lies a traitor in the walls?)"


"To have a vision that succeeds does not mean that you have to succeed."


in all the gardens

In all the gardens where I have e'er roamed In all the forests and at sea and lakes
I've seen like beauty as in you is formed But waited for the wit that quells mistakes.
The feasting that was offered was not ill. The table laid was sumptuous and grand.
This rev'ler had but soured in his fill Of else made victuals, not those at hand.
In memory, regret companions me For hope will never see that path again.
Sweet scents do linger in the guise of dreams. O' how I'd trace new paths to cross its plain.
At every turn, full scores of ways are lost
And counting all their number's too much cost.


lies: the plague of reason

A Sword will cleave, an Ax will split in two

A Mace will shatter, Arrows pierce right through.

A Charger mounted knight will smash the foe

A Lie can kill as eas'ly as a blow.

A Trebuchet flings stones that crush a wall.

A Ram will slam at doors until they fall.

A Tunnel saps the walls from near below.

A Lie collapses all that from it grows.

The Weapons here enlisted do forfend

To conquer life and bring about an end.

The legacy of Lies is sad to know.

Unless burned out with truth, their roots will grow.

Unlike a poison, who once used is gone.

A lie can spread contagion, on and on.



What wonders lie awaiting for my dreams?
What travels take me with each book I read?
What happiness, like banners, lay in "seems" Awaiting but a smile to give them breeze?
What weaving of a tale awaits the tell? What song but needs a voice to give it note?
What poetry wants words that have a spell? What picture draws me to complete its thought?
All these adventures are in mind to give Both long and good their times to make us grow.
When roads are paved with dreaming, those that live To walk them have some guide to where they go.
I'll dream and wake to see the world today
And work to build a better road this way.



"In dedication may we yet find light For discipline brings clarity of sight"


the circle

Forever pours the rivers of our life

And friends, like currents, flow into our quay

Enriching with their travels and their strife

The delta that we form here by our sea.

"Together" raises "hope" and "family."

"Together" brings new strength to heal old pains.

"Together" answers questions kind and mean.

"Together": When we give, 'tis we who gain.

In Glory do we stand, in faith secure

(Although the future's road cannot be guessed)

For our dear friends commit to ride the tour

Accompanying each other through the mist.

And we, this troupe of players, do here claim

That we are richer for your part and name.


timeless vigils *

Two warriors, who've seen the face of war
And lived to sing the song of their own deeds,
Sit now in silent darkness 'gainst the door
While lonely timeless vigils Anguish feeds.
Too sharp, the cold of mists bite into bone.
Too dull, the thought that shapes their tired mind.
Too quick, the spark is gone by embers thrown,
Two hard, these tindered steels do wait the wind.
With memories that warm small parts of pain
And crack the door with soft, warm light of dawn;
To grin cracks lips too used to frowning's name.
But now two lips do open, bringing song.

What waits is nailing at the hem of night,
But never will delay the coming light.

* co-writ with Sir Richard FitzAlan



"If it's good, time won't hurt. If it's bad, time will help. Patience."


"Be worthy of Trust, and never know trouble."


"The price of kindness: little. The reward: Everlasting.
And Malevolence? The same."


History cannot repeat itself... only people may."

inspiration (for Gunnarr and Gabrielle)

Inspiration is not to be "decreed", It is to be felt.
I am not like men Who use their words to show their heart for them,
My sword and My arm speak for Me in deeds.
This day, let the prize You now wear be both My token and thanks,
though 'tis poor favor 'gainst the love You have given Me,
'tis more Fit for you than any gift won, in troth.

What my tongue is slow to perfectly send Let this deed, this action show My duty;
You have been My Queen of Love and Beauty,
Now, let Ye be so to all this Our Land.
It is nothing more than what You deserve,

And by nothing less will You now be served.


of knighthood (for Peter H.)

Of all the fame of Knighthood's name, the swords & spears & shields

The Banners flying from the walls Of castles and the fields...

The horses charging at the lists The glint of armored steel

The best and noblest of them all are hearts where Truth is real.

the tourney prized (for Thorin)

For Champion and Protector vie the swords

Of many mighty warriors on the field.

And each a noble fighter of good word.

And each full ready to give victor yield.

What grace of prowess was there seen that day!

Good courtesy and chivalry full flower'd!

What inspiration shared, what friendships made

That audience, both royal and mean,* were proud.

The evening cool did witness one alone

Who all the rest did grant the victor's place.

Well earned the mantle of the Champion's throne.

Well honored by his lady, and her grace.

Each fighter and their favored were well shone.

This is the way that battle should be done.

(* "mean" is used in the Elizabethan sense of just "not-noble". Not an insult.)



"As I have traveled this hard quest, as I have lived my time

I've ne'er yet met a voice so quiet that could not join in rime.


"There is no greatness... only great gifts."


"To criticize too early and to praise too late, may all be spared."

the forge

Hammers the Hammer (the Smithy pounds on)

Splinters of starfall descend all around

Lighting the evening with embers and coals

Creating new life and forging new souls

Billows the water, the cherry red steel,

The steaming, the cooling, the hurt and the heal.

Born into living with blood and with pain

Living through aging and growing again

Raising impurities up from the ore

The Hammer of life will pound us all pure.

Some will be brittle and some will be poor.

But some will be better than ever before.

Bring out the temper, make spring and make hard

Weld parts of yielding: the pommel and guard.

Make the integrity flow through it all

A wondrous beauty's there at the call.

Make me a horse bit and rim me my wheel

The Forges of Living can make us all free.

Weave me my mail shirt and helmet my head

Hinge me the gateway that guards well my land

Spear point and arrow, the flail and the chain.

But armor and weapons never stop pain.

Cast me the bell that will warn me of raid

Then spin me the ring that will wed me my maid


Now it is fragile, the metal is worn

Cracked and with fracture, with rips it is torn

Now there is rusting where once it did shine

In death lives its flame in story and rime.

Keep to the memory all it has done

And let it then rest where the resting is done.

We are the metal that glows from our strife.

We are the welding, the embers of life.

We are the forger and forged all in one.

By heat we are tempered, by heat: undone

Follow our sparks as they rise through the fray

For they are the starlight that mark us our way.




my champion(for Cymbric)

The effort and the skill with which you show

How well inspiring are your gifts of grace

Displayed for all the truth of what I know:

"There lies a noble heart, mind, soul and face."

With skill and courtesy you took the field

Prepared for challenge from the very best.

With honor well contended, win or yield

You shared chivalric glory with the rest.

The real challenge lay not with the foe

But in the hazards brought by thy own tests.

"Surpass yourself" is guidance writ in gold.

Its victory brings prize of answered quests.

My Champion, how well you fought for me.

Now must I strive for worth, to worthy be.


squire watch (for Duke Rorik, by Margaret, Victoria and Sir Brand)

His feet apart the Prince did steel his gaze

Upon his man, embattled on the field.

His figure firm as oak, his mind apace

With thought of "Do"... of "Don't". Not "Win"... not "Yield".

As Teacher, see his training on the field.

As Mentor, hear his words give guide as well.

As Lord, then let the tutored serve among

The noble and the gracious of his hall.

What ease of living does this charge annul?

What comfort is denied to stand here now?

No matter! 'tis investment towards the call

That true knights give in answer to their vow.

True victory is given, never stol'n.

Long live the name of "Honour" o'er our own.



"For the good of the future, we must risk failure

and be willing to risk obscurity."


"There is no discipline or pursuit exclusive to the professional"


"The most economical use of time is to learn from the mistakes of others"


"Judgment is not prized if it is not wrapped well" - Guilliume


"Acceptance is never to be demanded. It is given by one's self or lost."

the doubting writer (or To Those Who "Wright")

"Hast there ever been a word from thy hand That is or was worth reading or speaking...
That has ever been more than repeating, Like echoes, the thoughts from more mastered pens?"
"Hast any of thy work, except for doubts, Stood the test, been true, made the right queries?
What gauge canst thou trust to balm thy worries? Darest ye try to travel the Master's route?"

Know, oh Poet, no matter what your pen
Your work, by being done, is already Far above all the spires of "Intention."
And all the works that line the galleries Of the morrow

will be `has never been'
Unless now sees the birth of their journey.



So little are the pathways of the Rain (From sky to stone, from stone to River's bed)
That we are oft' times awed by torrent's fame...
When strength so mighty grows from droplets fed.
Then at the delta, rivers meet and grow And like a sea the water (fresh) does stretch.
No wall nor reef can make the water bow. It is too strong for banks to hold or match.
So we, together gathered, area as streams.
The times we blend but adding to the course.
Our love does, rapid like, toss sandy dreams And bear the true lands high upon its force.
We are as rivers gath'ring--
each new strength Does add its beauty to our breadth and length.


the apprentice Done as if at a swearing ceremony: (For Eduardo)

(Apprentice:) My need is your Knowledge, my skill is Desire
For yours are the lessons to which I aspire.
Service and study and duty and faith Hereby are sworn by my person and place.
I give you my talent, my time and my promise Give back inspiration, direction and solace.
Grant me correction and strengthen my hand
Share with me all that may yet serve this land.

(Peer:)Your deeds are remembered, your words are here witnessed.
Your will and your talents do show right good promise.
Learn what I teach you and teach you right well.
Your Student's Students must all us excel.
Now witness this covenant, all you here gathered
And know you without doubt that these here are Mastered.
No one may dare to breach this our bond.
Be all aware where protection's upon.

(All:)I give you my promise, my faith and my service.
I will be a shield, and a wall and a chalice.
From this day forth I will deal with you fair,
Carry'ng your colours, and honour, I swear.



the dungeon:

In prison, laid I watching years a-drain Awaiting my release from this cold cell.
And now the day has come for me to claim That all the years I've lost have been my will.
I've held the key to fashion my release The locks would all have opened at my touch.
But, no, I held me prison'r at my lease For I was feared that freedom cost too much.
But now, dawn's misericorde gives death to night. The world lay "never known" within its shrouds.
And I, a babe new wand'ring, wait the light Prepared to join the turning world of clouds.
We each hold prisoner our fear and fate. Let us release the first...

then banish hate.


A experienced Tudor courtier speaks to a new member of Court at

the court of kings (for Amanda) The Court of Kings is a place of power And those who play must execute their moves Well,
or be well executed themselves.
Dodging the swaying vines and ill flowers Of deceit through this garden-politic Keeps one agile,
(since the slow become dead).
But though there are many who play this dread Game with spoiling hearts,
there are delicate Numbers whose skill and doing are both clean And good.
Here, the power of a pure heart And a conscientious mind may yet part This company and do good work
and seem Like Medicine thriving in a snake pit.
Aid them well in this task.

Think well on it.


the test of inspiration (for Gunnarr and Gabrielle)

When armor's new, and sweat is yet to run

When Horses have no mud upon their length.

When sword is newly edged with no harm done

How easy is the rough made boast of strength.

When on the chart, how little are the foe.

When night is hung, how brave the deeds of dawn.

When breakfasting, "The master of the blow."

How quick the face of day will make these gone.

In battle, let the truth alone be strong

Inspired by skillful mastery of art.

Let years of effort, trial and test belong

To those that have the noblest of heart.

Let me in boast be silent and unheard.

My sword shall speak my inspiration's word.



"Those who remember the past can improve on the one they are making."

the welcoming (my speech for Master John McCleod, in iambic)

We all are of a cloth, we're woven here. For life does beat its rhythm on this loom of days. The weft are the realities of life. The warp?

The interactions and the accidents of each our lives. It is a strong weave, usually. It is a complex weave, always.
And there are those who, by their very nature, add a strength unto it all.
Those who regard each opportunity as time to help the whole,
who pick up things of beauty and of possibility, improve them and then give away their work.
Who charm and warm these "chances" with their goodness and then give away those gifts so they may then help others grow.
There are those who learn simply so they then may teach,
who grow strong simply so they may lend strength,
who sing so they might give a better praise and who observe so they may see what needs the doing,
and then see it done.
There are yet those who build so others may build even more.
Such is this candidate, such is this person, such is this good friend to Land and People,
we need give our recognition now.
They speak of truth, and do much good and are a worthy friend.
They are a champion. They are a welcomer. They are a person who holds honor dear.
They are an individual to whom the goals of Chivalry are close unto their heart as their own blood.

No thread is without flaw, no weave without mistake, but it is not "Achievement of Perfection" that defines this gentle's goals.
It is their willingness to try again, improve, and learn. To teach, and by that teaching, strengthen other's lives,
for that does mark a Peer.

Let no one say that any individual defines a Peerage,
but know this good candidate does stand most excellent as proof and facet of what Peers should be.
So, welcome them, as we do, too, into our Circle here.
Now, welcome this true servant of the Realm, this noble Peer.


what we live, we build (for Sq. Robert)

When love helps build - as architect - our home And we, within its frame-work, lay its floors.
We walk our higher hopes towards the dome. That is our given duty, mine and yours.
If Care is used, as well as Plans and Stone, Then siege and torrents blow to no avail.
'tis better to build slow if 'tis well done For Time will bless the patient with its Grail.
As fibers plied together grow in strength Communities find increase just as well.
Two hands, together, grasp the breadth and length Of what we are to do, recall and tell.

The Future looms. We know not what we weave.
But that we do affect all life, believe.


victory's warrior (for Christopher)

"For every cause that's given us there's Victory at hand"

No thing that ever sees the sun can be without this brand.

Tho' we may fail or fall too short in seeing fly our flag

We make the ways and palisades that centuries see stand.

Among the lost, the vanquished foe, the innocent and ill

Our path and Fate winds through them all to bring us to our will.

We joined this army when we stood and shouted out our brag:

"Let me be called to serve with all my strength & heart & skill."

When we so choose to join these troops of warriors and kin

We then concede our right to plead for what we "should" then win.

We serve ideals, we stay the quest, we climb the icy crag

Then let the Victory be shared. Let Bards their stories spin.

We serve the goal, we fight its loss, we keep it flowing on.

And where it takes us we will go... for less would see it gone.


the test

Although no path can be erased once trod

No deed be taken back by time nor will.

Good sense, like yours, will grant thee better odds

Than guesses taking chance against good skill.

Your luck is yours to pull against the dice

Your fate 'tis in your influence to mold.

Your fortune waits with locks against the price

That keys will pay that only you do hold.

Fear never that the world awaits your fall.

Doubt not that blessed things are waiting you.

Know only that when all our ways meet walls

That climbing o'er will grant a wond'rous view.

You are, in strength and countenance, well graced.

No test of life can best you, once 'tis faced.



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