The North Star or, The Privateer’s Compass

As the Bard of the Oaks (which position I held during 2019), I was very lucky to work for not just one great Baron and Baroness, but for their equal excellent successors. As I was getting ready to step down, the Baron requested I write a song for his lady. They had both started in the SCA with pirate personas, and the occasion was a Masked Ball with a piratical theme. He wanted a song that used the imagery of the North Star pointing home. It took a bit of time to get this song completed, and then there wasn’t enough time to debut it at the ball. I was then going to perform at an event in March … but of course The Plague arrived and exiled us all to our domiciles. I took the time of the delay to workshop the piece the the Mists Bardic workshop, and received some good feedback. I also sat down and wrote out the chords. Once I was comfortable I had the piece where it needed to be, I sent a private recording to His Excellency. His reaction to the piece, and Her Excellency’s, was one of gratitude, and I was glad to have been able to have the honor of making a gift of it to them. At the Baron’s encouragement, I then published the piece via Facebook (embedded below.)

Shortly after, I received a compliment in the form of a Bard requesting the chord sheet and lyrics. In the hopes that this song might strike a chord with a fellow performer, or just in case I need the lyrics and chords at some future time, I am setting them up here. I hope you enjoy it!

NORTH STAR, or, The Privateer’s Compass

By Lady Teresa of Attilium


Bm7                                    C                             G
I hear your voice in the wind that fills our sails
             D                   G                       G/C                D
In the clear, bright dawn and the sun over our rails
              G                     D                     C                                     G
Like the seabird that flies o’er the waves that crash and foam
              G                                              C             D                G
Like the North Star above us, your light will guide me home.


Verse 1
G                                       D                    C                            G
It’s been three months out and our journey soon will end
                                                            C                       D
And we’ll hit the misty shore our money for to spend
G                     D                          C                      G
But of all the treasure we’ve taken for our own
G                                                 C          D            G
Your light on the horizon, all others has outshone.

Verse 2
And now the lookout shouts that he’s spied the far-off land
And the men send up a cheer, for our liberty’s at hand
As we bend to the sails and our ship leaps toward the shore
I swear once again that I’ll set to sea no more

Verse 3
But when we hit dry land, a whisper comes to ear
The call of the waves and my duty calls me clear*
And though I have pledged on the shore to dwell and stay
I know that to the sea my path will finally stray.

Verse 4
My duty to my King nor my Lady I’ll not fail
Though I turn my gaze once more to the wind and to the sail
And you promise me that you’ll guide me ever true
So I return to the waves, with the memory of you.

*Originally: “I must heed”

Me playing and trying to look like I’m not reading the words off a cheat sheet…

As a note: This is the sort of song I like to refer to as “SCA Traditional,” in that it owes its lineage to songs written throughout the history of the SCA that reflect the Celtic – sea shanty – folk music amalgamation of traditions that sometimes show up when we write. As such, there is less in the way of documentation, but there is precedent and a place for it in the SCA Bardic tradition.

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