Knights and Chivalry

10 01 2012

I’m thrilled when I read about the bravery and chivalry of knights.  Courage.  Self-sacrifice.  Love of women and children, king and country.  Love of God.  All were their watchword.  Their sacred honor.

These two pieces of verse and proclamation have stirred me since I first encountered them.  The first is from Thomas Morley’s classic, Le Morte d’Arthur:

“Ah Lancelot, thou were head of all Christian knights, and now I dare say thou Sir Lancelot, there thou liest, that thou were never matched of earthly knight’s hand.  And thou were the courteoust knight that ever bare shield.  And thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrad horse.  And thou were the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved woman.  And thou were the kindest man that ever struck with sword.  And thou were the goodliest person that ever came among press of knights.  And thou was the meekest man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among la­dies.  And thou were the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest.”

The second from the motion picture Kingdom of Heaven as Godrey of Ibelin gives his son, Balian, the knight’s charge:

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.”

This is a high and worthy call, men.  Let us emulate, even though we are hundreds of years removed from the era where knights did exploits.

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