Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Humble Knight

Thou, whose brow is lined and scored
With ancient conflicts, now long-healed;
Whose silent blood has oft been poured
Where none could see, or tell the yield:
Hidden is thy battle-field.
Hid all thy wounds, as secrets stored,
And it is fitting thou shouldst wield
A broken sword.

How many were the injuries fell
Received? How many battles won
Unseen? How long--can any tell?--
The nights thou paced, and thought the dawn
Were dead, a mock to wend thee on--
And those who saw thee mocked as well.
How dark the days once spent upon
That field of Hell?

And yet, withal, no more hast done
Than any other man;
Another's blood might well have run
Where thine own, streaming, ran.
Thine is the common fate of man:
To battle for the stars and sun,
And yet know not, till fall Death's ban,
If all be won.

Thine is the common fate of man:
To battle darkness for the light;
To vision what thou canst not scan,
And find thy glory in thy blight;
Fighting, to die, and dying, fight,
All for a Purpose other than
Thine own; thou art more than a Knight.
Thou art a Man.

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