H 61 So You Wish to Be A Bard as rewritten for Master Gregory (A Satire)
                                                 Rathflaed DuNoir - 30 July 1992 (8 March 2002)

Please see Rathflaed's website for the original version of this poem and others:

So you wish 
(or maybe have some sort of an inkling that that is what you'd like) 
to be a Bard 
(or minstrel, or troubadour, or minnesinger, or other historically appropriate title for a musical person which fits your persona) 
young one 
(Please not that there is no age requirement either minimum or maximum on becoming said musical person), 
well listen to my tale 
(or reasonable facsimile thereof),

A tale that's riddled with success, 
and yet the times that I have failed.
A storyteller 
(or historically accurate title which describes a person who tells stories) 
tells his tales 
(note that the ownership of said tales is not implied by this poem to belong to the individual reciting) 
until the morning light 
(or at least very late at night),
Each line and verse the one that you'll remember through the night 
(there may be more lines that you will remember through the night, or for a longer period of time),

A troubadour 
(or historically accurate title which describes a person who is often noted in his or her culture for performing principally ballads)
will sing his songs to make people laugh or weep 
(or other emotion appropriate to the piece being performed),
And feel the feelings he does feel, until they go to sleep 
(perhaps not quite that long or perhaps even after they
wake up),

A musician 
(note that this is used to refer to a person who primarily concentrates on music rather than lyrics) 
has the power to make music with his art,
And let his songs reverberate 
(a vibratory effect sometimes resulting from lower frequency tones), 
to touch the mind 
(the "thinking or logical" part of the brain - usually associated with the left side) 
and heart 
(the "feeling" part of the brain - usually associated with the right side),

A minstrel 
(or bard, or troubadour, or minnesinger, or other historically appropriate title for a musical person which fits your persona but which primarily focuses on entertainment) 
must do all these things and do them very well,

But a bard 
(or minstrel, or troubadour, or minnesinger, or other historically appropriate title for a musical person which fits your persona but which primarily focuses on education) 
must also do them, and between is hard to tell.

For a minstrel 
(see above) 
and a bard 
(see above) 
could be the same 
(not exactly the same, they are different people obviously, but similar type pieces)
in word and voice,
And the difference between the two - a matter of their choice 
(this line is used to imply that these two people will do a similar job, but for different reasons).

A minstrel's 
(see above) 
job to entertain, a bard's 
(see above) 
to educate 
(These job descriptions are not required and are provided here solely for guidance. They are not historically derived but rather, represent an ideal to which the professions might aspire - similar to the way nobility and chivalry might not be historically accurate, but do make the SCA a nicer place to be.)
To urge the men on for honor and love 
(or other noble feeling), 
and not for malice or hate 
(or other ignoble feeling).
A minstrel will sing only songs that please his audience well 
(used to imply that a minstrel chooses pieces to entertain and does not regard his or her primary purpose as that of a teacher),
While a bard must choose most carefully, the tales that he will tell,

For in your words you have the power to make or break a man,
And all his good or evil deeds are yours to praise or damn 
(used to imply that a bard understands that pieces of satire could have a stronger effect than merely stating a fact and that these side effects must be carefully considered prior to performing the piece in order to avoid such unwarranted effects.)
So use your power carefully and wisely use your art,
For though they might prefer a minstrel's 
(see above) 
voice, tis you must touch their heart 
(this is not to imply that a bard (see above) does not have a beautiful voice, nor that a minstrel (see above) cannot touch the heart, merely to state that in an idealized way, the goal that a minstrel strives for is entertainment, whereas a bard (see above) will strive to educate).
And if the power is not yours, to move the souls of men 
(As previously noted. No literal soul moving is required or prohibited through this statement. Souls have no mass and can truly only be moved from one residence to another through the use of supernatural powers.),
Then call yourself a minstrel 
(see above) 
and no dishonor do intend 
(Very strong statement - many people will use the term minstrel to be derogatory. This line was added to ensure that they were treated as equals, but for different arts - similar to a Laurel in Illumination and a Laurel in Illustration.),

For when a bard 
(see above) 
does sing a song, the story they do hear 
(Not to imply that the subject will not hear other things including background noise, planes flying overhead, or your wife calling you from the other room to ask why you haven't taken out the trash yet.),
And yet the choice is for a minstrel 
(see above) 
when the song must please the ear 
(Note: this sentence must NOT be construed to imply that minstrels (see above) cannot please other parts of the body as well.)

So entertain young minstrel
(see above), 
or educate young bard 
(see above),
But either path of either life 
(metaphorical reference to the journey of a given life. In no way intended to prohibit persons of the same career path from living different lives or to imply that all lives lived in a given career path are the same), 
you'll find may be too hard 
(Opposite of easy. No sexual connotation is associated with the use of the word "hard".).
For when the wind is blowing and the rain comes down in sheets 
(WARNING: Other meteorological phenomena may also occur which have not been presented in this monologue.),
Tis ten more leagues
(no warranty is implied nor may be inferred on the accuracy of the distance at the beginning of the aforementioned meteorological phenomena) 
that you must go, to sing for bread and meat 
(there may be additional things for which a bard (see above) or a minstrel (see above) may perform, including, but not limited to: water, alcohol or other beverages, garb, shelter, or "favours").

And when the road is weary 
(Technically, the traveler becomes weary, the road just 
sits there.) 
and you have no place called home
(No limitation is placed by this line on the number of places that a person may call home, whether entitled or not.),
Remember that it was your choice, to travel and to roam 
(For house bards which have been forced to leave, please disregard the preceding line as it was not their choice to travel and to roam.).
And when you think of lady loves 
(no sexual preference is implied by the previous line, or even a requirement to think of any love) 
and all the things you lack 
(Lacking of things may or may not be included in your particular bardic (minstrelic) package. Please check all warranties, guarantees, and as always, read the fine print.)
Remember, sir, 
(Not the capitalized Sir of the order of chivalry. The term "sir" is merely a title of respect used in the author's homeland.) 
the one you always carry on your back 
(Individual's with back problems may choose to carry lady (or lord or other transgendered significant other) loves in other locations).
And remember too, this one last thing 
(More than just this will need to be remembered in order to be successful. This poem is not authorized to provide a guarantee of success based solely upon remembering one last thing.), 
ere your journey you begin:

A minstrel
(see above) 
does not scream or shout to carry o'er the din 
(Many minstrels (see above) will in actuality scream and shout to carry o'er the din).
A bard's 
(see above) 
not just a storyteller 
(see above) 
or harper playing long 
(Not all harpers play long. Some will play short, others will play medium),
A minstrel's 
(see above) 
(This poem provides no actual offers of employment.) 
it is to sing, A bard's 
(see above) 
to be the song 
(Technically, the bard cannot BE the song. This is merely a poetic and descriptive way to describe the feelings a bard (see above) will feel when approaching peak performance and is truly "moving" the audience. Actually, the audience will stay put, but they may (or may not) feel as if they have been moved.).