I read this very night
In an old volume, of that valor bright,
That for fair lady’s passing nod or smile
Broke hostile lances at the jousting stile,—
Through sleepless nights and foodless days betrayed
Penance for sin; life passion for a maid,—
Yet lived afar from favor or caress,
Suffered in silence with no love to bless;
Worshipping woman, glorifying God,
And sparing not the shoulder from the rod.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Strangely grotesque unto me did appear
The age of chivalry, in my early year;
Romantic and unreal—even more—
Flights of the fancy of the troubadour;
Not mortal man, but medieval dreams
Pursued through bane and blood such fabled schemes;
Defied such dangers, agonized such pain—
To win at last a damsel’s distant deign.
Ah me! Since then life’s battlefield hath wrought
A chivalry which once was never thought;
And woman’s worth,—more dear than kingly blade,—
Laid upon life a loftier accolade
Than e’er inspired the medieval pen
Or crossed the sea to face the Saracen.


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