Worthy the name of "Sir Knight"
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Sir Knight of the world’s oldest order,
Sir Knight of the Army of God,
You have crossed the strange mystical border,
The ground-floor of truth you have trod;
You stand on the typical threshold
Which leads to the temple above;
Where you come as a stone, and a Christ-chosen one,
In the Kingdom of Friendship and Love.
As you stand in this new realm of beauty,
Where each man you meet is your friend,
Think not that your promise of duty
In hall, or asylum, shall end.
Outside, in the great world of pleasure.
Beyond in the clamour of trade,
In the battle of life and its coarse daily strife,
Remember the vows you have made.
Your service, majestic and solemn,
Your symbols, suggestive and sweet,
Your uniform phalanx in column
On gala-days marching the street;
Your sword and your plume and your helmet,
Your ‘secrets’ hid from the world’s sight;
These things are the small, lesser parts of the all
Which are needed to form the true Knight.
The martyrs who perished rejoicing,
In Templary’s glorious laws,
Who died ’midst the faggots while voicing
The glory and worth of their cause—
They honoured the title of ‘Templar’
No more than the Knight of to-day,
Who mars not the name with one blemish of shame,
But carries it clean through life’s fray.
To live for a cause; to endeavour
To make your deeds grace it; to try
And uphold its precepts for ever,
Is harder by far than to die.
For the battle of life is unending,
The enemy, Self, never tires,
And the true Knight must slay that sly foe every day,
Ere he reaches the heights he desires.
Sir Knight, have you pondered the meaning
Of all you have heard and been told?
Have you strengthened your heart for its weaning
From vices and faults loved of old?
Will you honour, in hours of temptation,
Your promises noble and grand?
Will your spirit be strong to do battle with wrong,
‘And, having done all, to stand’?
Will you ever be true to a brother
In actions as well as in creed?
Will you stand by his side as no other
Could stand, in the hour of his need?
Will you boldly defend him from peril,
And lift from him poverty’s curse—
Will the promise of old, which you willingly made,
Reach down from your lips to your purse?
The world’s battle-field is before you:
Let Wisdom walk close by your side,
Let Faith spread her snowy wings o’er you,
Let Truth be your comrade and guide;
Let Fortitude, Justice, and Mercy
Direct all your conduct aright,
And let each word and act tell to men the proud fact,
You are worthy the name of ‘Sir Knight.’
|from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)|
|Songs of a Country Home||Worthy the name of "Sir Knight"|