The Lay of Sir Feoro
Date: Fri, August 28, 2009
Topic: The Library
Despite the lay named after him, it is certain that Sir Feoro did not exist. However, the anonymous author did know a thing or two about the faerie races, and this is evident in the text of the poem itself.
The Lay of Sir Feoro is a middling-length lay, that often appears as part of various collections of narrative poetry of the Eastern Flanaess. Not much is known about its origins: neither who wrote, or how old it is, is known, although there has been some speculation in the past, and it has yet to be translated out of the Common tongue.
Some have argued that it dates from the first century CY, from somewhere within Keoland or Veluna, but these are, however, educated guesses rather than firmly supported theories. Likewise, elements of the poem have been taken to argue against some origins. It is unlikely, for example, to be of a Baklunish origin, nor is it likely to be of elvish origin, despite its knowledge of Faerie, given that the faeries are presented in opposition to the race of the protagonist; this is not stated, but often assumed to be human by default (there is an argument, by one Hardiz Ruldegost, that, given the ease with which Sir Feoro travels to and from Faerie, he is more likely to have been half-elven, and suggests an origin in or around the court of Celene).
The general consensus is, though, that the poem has been known for some centuries, given by archaic aspects of the language. Guyam du Nord, the Greyhawk bard, has claimed to have briefly sighted what may well be an even older version, in an extinct and archaic Oeridian dialect, however, this was some years ago, in less than ideal conditions (the relevant manuscript has not survived the attacks of a virulent mold, unfortunately).
What is known for certain is that the lay recounts the abduction of Sir Feoro's wife by faeries, and his subsequent journey into the land of Faerie to rescue her. There has been no known individual by that name anywhere in the Eastern Flanaess, with the added probability that Feoro is a variation on Feor, the legendary Oeridian bard that is presumed to have lived prior to their initial migrations into the Eastern Flanaess (180 OR). As a result, the lay is a fiction, a fable as some have it, a legend according to others.
That may well be, however, the central portion of the poem is a catalogue of faerie types, each described in no more than a line or, at most, a couplet. Although none are named, all known faerie types of the Eastern Flanaess, as well as several unknown, have been recorded, and the author is considered by some scholars to have been an expert on these beings. As a result, those wanting to know more about faeries sometimes use The Lay of Sir Feoro as a primary text.
Recited, the lay itself takes about half an hour from start to end. There are, as it inevitably happens, variants of the text, some slightly longer than others, with extra lines, some slightly shorter; there are versions which name the place or origin of Sir Feoro, but bardic opinion is that such is a common technique to please local audiences. The skill with which this poem has been composed, as well as the use of octosyllabic couplets, make this a relatively easy poem to commit to memory, and the end result is both a charming fable, and a textbook in the faerie races of Oerth.