I Know What It Sounds Like But My Liege Lord Just Happens To Be Exemplary In Form and Countenance
I'd say that even if he weren't my liege lord just because it's true
Oh hey man, I do get that you probably hear this all the time, and I can definitely see how in your situation it kind of sounds like a line, but my liege lord does actually happen to be exemplary in both form and countenance above the mark of even noble men, making him worthy of due reverence from loyal vassals. I’d say that even if he wasn’t my liege lord, like if I merely encountered him in the course of my daily life, I would for sure kneel before his seated figure and offer him fealty, and hold all my lands in trust to him and to the heirs of his body, and that’s regardless of whether his lordship be inherited along the lines of Salic primogeniture or collateral lineage or even appanage as the Merovingians sometimes have it, or devolve by moiety, or junior right, or proximity of blood, or eligible tanistry from among the Chiefs of the Name, designation of allegiance, or whichever.
I know it’s something you kind of have to say about your liege lord, but in this case it really does just so happen that I objectively believe him to be deserving not just of fealty but also homage, and not just simple homage, which is mere acknowledgement of land-tenure, but liege homage, which includes not only the fealty before-mentioned but also the services consequent upon it, and a natural allegiance beyond even that which can be sworn, but the kind of natural allegiance that is intrinsic, primitive, antecedent to the sworn kind, and cannot be devested without the concurrent act of that lord to whom it is due, and indeed this allegiance is the duty, not to mention honor, of all right-thinking men.
I just really hope I can be a good vassal to him, and to that end I feel like I’m the lucky one because I get to offer him both defense and deference, watch and warranty, truly becoming in every sense his man, you know, like in all things I am truly his man, and bear him fealty in limb, life, and honor, etc, in matters eternal and temporal, concerning my own earthly wealth and my eternal spirit (saving of course always for the ultimate faith I do owe my lord king, obviously, but that really goes without saying, almost, obviously you do very much have to say it but we all know I’m going to say it so we don’t have to dwell on it, is what I’m saying).
I’m not trying to like convince you of anything, obviously you get to believe whatever you want and that’s cool. He’s my liege lord and it’s fine that he’s not yours too. But even if I didn’t have to, I would gladly surrender myself to him, in symbol of which I would freely and publicly kneel, giving my joined hands unto him, and praying he might graciously clasp them within his own, thus accepting my surrender by incorporating my very name/hand/identity into his, and covering me as our Lord covers the Church, or as Mary of Bethany covered Christ’s feet with her oiled hair. And if in return he offered me a symbolic investiture of my lands and office, whether through an intermediary like a bailiff or steward, or like a reeve, or a castellan, or even a seneschal, a magistrate, a beadle, a sergeant-at-arms, a châtelain if relevant, a majordomo, etc, that would be great, but even if he didn’t, I’d still do the hand thing, because I happen to believe that he’s worth it, and because it feels good to live authentically and in accordance with your values.
I really don’t get why some people find it so hard to believe that it’s a pleasure to swear to render service and aid to a really great lord. Maybe they just have a really transactional view of human nature, and if so that’s really sad, and I feel bad for them, and I hope they run into some better lords out there. Maybe I’m just lucky, but it’s definitely not like I “have to” love all which my liege-lord loves and shun all which he shuns, nor ever with will or action, through word or deed, do anything which is unlovely to him, on condition that he will hold to me as I shall deserve it, and that I shall submit myself to him and choose his will above me own, it’s like “I get to” exchange the kiss of homage and fidelity, becoming the lord’s own man-of-mouth and man-of-hand, adoring him three or four times before the court in honor of God, before receiving further pious kisses on the eyes, mouth, head, breast, throat, and hands in token of my true vow. And I would do that on my own time, or even if I received no manors and lands in return.
Moreover I would gladly offer him this service in the field, with armor and arms, whether within the realm or without, whether in ordinary course of duty guard his peculiar castles, or to ransom him from prison, or to make his eldest son a knight, or to pay relief, or take in wards, or donate free alms to the monastery of his choosing, or even just if he wanted some of my hay, I wouldn’t even ask him what for. All I would say is “How many waggons’-full, good my lord?” And I know what it sounds like. But that’s not what it is.