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Pelican for Fortune

Without running on in poetical fashion, 

without using hyperbolic figures of speech,

which are too clearly courtier’s flattery,

we should turn our attention to

praising Fortune Sancte Keyne, the one and only

wonder and miracle of nature,

the high ruler of the sea,

lofty courtesan, favorable & strong, 

without equivalent or peer in the world. 

In her the Crowns of the East take pleasure

in elevating her into the secure, eternal nest

of the Pelican, an Order which had been incomplete.

Done this day anno societatis LVI, at the Aisles of March

by the great good wisdom of Ioannes II & Honig II


The words for this are based on the writing of courtesan and poet Veronica Franco. 

The recipient of this Pelican is Countess Fortune Sancte Keyne, whose persona is an Italian Courtesan.  She is a member of the Knowne World Courtesan's Guild and hosts a regular book club called “sex book club” where the participants read period texts and discuss period perceptions of sex, gender and sexuality. Fortune, as she herself says, is “Extra”, and so when I found the Veronica Franco poem below and how it praises the East Kingdom, , I knew I needed to crib something almost directly from the poet herself.  So I did. 

The poem was inscribed on one side of an Italian fan. The fan was based on an extant example that currently lives in the Fan Museum Lady Collette d’Avignon contacted the museum, and they sent over high resolution images for us to study.  Baronnes Marieta Charay turned the wood handle for the fan.  Colette painted the Courtesan on one side and did the goldwork on both sides, and Duchess Thyra Eiriksdottir did the calligraphy and the assembling of the final fan. 


Source Used:  Veronica Franco: Poems and Selected Letters.  Edited and Translated by Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal, University of Chicago press, ISBN-13 9-226-25987-1, 1998. 

From the translation of Capitolo 12, Pg 127, In Which Franco Advises the Poet To Write Praise of Venice

Without running on in poetical fashion, 

without using hyperbolic figures of speech,

which are too clearly obvious lies, 

you might have turned your attention instead

to praising Venice, the one and only

miracle and wonder of nature.

This high ruler of the sea,

lofty virgin, inviolate and pure,

without equivalent or peer in the world,

this is what you should have praised,

this gentle land in which you were born,

and where I, too, thank God, was born;”


In her the King of heaven took pleasure

in founding the secure, eternal nest

of his faith, which elsewhere lay oppressed,

and for his own delight he placed on this shore

all the beauty and sweetness

that is most acclaimed and praised on earth”


“Looking at the sky from one side other the other,

we see that the sun movies all the way through it,

yet we still esteem most highly the east:

for here Phoebus, as if from his source,

loses his divine ray when he desires

to open up the day for mortal beings:”


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