THE NOBLE KNIGHT

 

A mighty Lord, The Baron Du Prey,
Was fighting a war, oh, so far away
That it took a year to march and ride
With his faithful equerry by his side.
Over land and sea, through day and night
Through flood and famine, just to fight
In the Holy Land, in The Third Crusade
Where Christianity’s birth was saved.

His daughter loved a serving boy,
Who made her laugh brought her joy,
Played hide and seek in autumn mist
Stole kisses in their lovers tryst.
The boy was warned, he paid no heed
Then, love is blind to class and creed
The damsel, young, untouched but bold
By her chaperone was also told.

It could not last, soon word got out
The Baron, he did scream and shout.
The boy was banished from the land
His possessions burned, out of hand
The weeping girl was taken away
To a hermitage, to think and pray.
Guarded by a, drool jowled, beast,
Giving daily penitence to a priest.

The serving boy, through a friend, left a note,
The damsel cherished each word that he wrote.
It told her to wait, that he would return,
It told of his love, which made her just yearn
For the day he would come and hold her, so tight
Before taking her off, into the night.
She carried the note right next to her heart,
That way, she and he were never apart.

In exile, the boy fought with skill and desire.
The County Sheriff made him a Squire
Then sent him off to fight for the Lord
Against the mighty Saracen horde,
Soon he was fighting the bloodiest sport
Lost limbs, deep cuts where scimitars caught.
He’d found his vocation, he loved a good fight
The King saw this too and dubbed him a Knight

Arise Young Knight, said the King to the boy
You now are a man and your skills I’ll employ
On the field of honour to fight the good fight,
We must put the mighty Saladin to flight.
The King gave him title to vast tracts of land
Named him Sir Jasper and offered his hand
‘Sire, I’m your servant, my life is yours,’
He said, kissing the hand to tumultuous applause.

Alas, the poor Baron, he died on the field,
Defeated, yet, still he refused to yield.
So brave, he shouted his love of the Lord
As he felt the cold steel of the Saracen sword.
His daughter was told, yet she shed not a tear
For the father she’d grown to hate and to fear.
In solitude she waited and, reread the note
Whilst a drunken priest started to gloat.

Sir Jasper witnessed the Baron being killed
Then reflected on all the blood he had spilled
In the name of the King, in the name of the Lord
It made him feel sick so he put up his sword
Then he determined to find the love of his life
The damsel he’d vowed to take as his wife
The King gave him leave and wished him well.
As he rode to the West, the tears started well.

After five long years at his home he arrived
Only to find he had been deprived
By the Baron of chattel; his worldly goods,
Either burned by fire or thrown in the woods.
Saddened, he left, with squire and page
Sought out the Sheriff, the Judge and sage.
To enquire of his truelove; the Baron’s heir
Alas, she was gone but they knew not where.

‘Be warned oh noble Knight, take care.
That damsel that you seek; oh, so fair,
With flaxen locks draped to her waist
Outspoken, loud; yet, strangely, chaste.
Is guarded by a fearsome beast
Who’s allegiance is only to the priest.
Who holds the key to the damsel’s cell,
In five long years, he has guarded it well.’

The words were spoke by a serving wench,
Who cleaned the scraps from the Sheriff’s bench.
‘Girl! You are speaking out of turn.’
Said the Sheriff, in a voice so very stern,
That the girl would have fallen to the floor
Had she not found support on a nearby door.
‘Hold, my Lord,’ said the Noble Knight.
‘How does she know of my truelove’s plight?’

The Sheriff said, ‘speak, what do you know?’
‘Please my Lord Sheriff, twas a long time ago.
I worked for the Baron and know of her plight
I watched as they took her off in the night.
She is lodged in a dungeon near Verity Hill
The gossip is, she is wasting there still.’
‘Who is this priest and where does he preach?
Of the Sheriff the Noble Knight did beseech.

‘Excuse me Sir,’ said the Noble Knight’s page.
‘I know of this man, he’s not priest nor sage,
Just a man, employed by the Nobility
Tasked with protecting the virginity
Of their daughters whilst they fight the horde
Who would bring down the Temple of our Lord.
Should Knight or Nobleman fall in battle
He sells their daughters and all their chattel’

‘Quickly, page, my horse if you will
We ride at once to Verity Hill.’
The page leapt up to obey his master
Encouraged by shouts of, ‘faster, faster’
Astride his steed, with sword and mace
The Knight set off at lightning pace.
The Sheriff and page followed, behind
Praying the damsel they would find.

The Knight soon came to Verity Hill
The mist was thick, the air was still.
No morning chorus or bird on wing
No stag, no fox no living thing.
He checked his steed to a steady pace
Relieved he had both sword and mace
To protect him from what lay ahead;
A fraud in a frock and a beast of dread.

Deep in the mist rose a mighty roar
It chilled Sir Jasper to the core
His steed could sense some unseen foe
Dug in his heels and refused to go
Any further into the greying gloom
Lest he and his rider meet their doom.
The Noble Knight, trusting his steed
Dismounted, then his horse did lead

To a mighty oak, a magnificent tree
Which he climbed, the better for him to see
Over the mist, to his truelove’s prison
The sight of which caused a frisson
Which shook the man from head to toe,
A feeling only a Knight would know.
The place was dark, evil and grim
His heart went out to the maiden within.

As he descended his horse did scream
The Knight looked down on an awful scene
His faithful steed was being tormented
By a beast in a rage and clearly demented.
The Knight was soon back on the ground
But, no sign of his weapons could be found.
He called on the beast, ‘let go of my steed
It is not his flesh on which you’ll feed.’

The beast looked up, the horse broke free
Blood was flowing from neck and knee.
The beast then looked toward the Knight
With eyes as dead as a windless kite.
In a bush, Sir Jasper spied his sword
Caught high and fast by scabbard cord.
The creature wheeled, came at a rush
The Knight leapt high into the bush.

As his fingers closed around the sword
He used all the strength he could afford
When, on the ground, the Knight did land
His trusted sword was in his hand.
The beast lashed out with tooth and claw
Bellowing from gaping maw
The Knight fell back, his sword his shield
Determined he would never yield.

Back and forth, round and round,
Each giving and then gaining ground.
The fight went on into the night.
Sir Jasper slipped, feinted right
The beast leapt in, then seemed to float
Sir Jasper’s sword was in it’s throat
He pulled it free, the blood did flow
The sword came down; the killing blow!

His battle won, the Knight looked ‘round
To find his horse, prone, on the ground
Please God no, not my faithful steed
The Noble Knight was heard to plead.
Though alive, it was bloodied and torn
The Knight stayed with it till the dawn
He was joined by his page who lit a fire
To guide in the Sheriff and his squire.

At noon they rode towards the retreat
Unsure of what they were about to meet.
The page stayed back to tend the steed
Clean it’s wounds, give it feed.
A derelict castle was the retreat
A place where lonely souls could meet
To free their minds of confusion
By spending time in seclusion.

The Knight called out when they got there
‘False monk, where is my Lady fair?’
A slurred reply came from the gate
‘The woman’s not here, you’re too late!’
‘She is the lady to whom I’ll wed,
If you have sold her I’ll have your head!’
Replied the Knight, his anger high
‘Now bring her here or you will die!’

‘You scare me not for I have a beast,
On you and your friends it will feast.
So do not threaten me Sir Knight
Tis you who will soon be put to flight!’
The Knight replied by throwing high
A missile up into the sky.
It’s landing filled the priest with dread,
A familiar though, now severed head.

Bounced, then rolled up to the priest
The lifeless head of his precious beast.
‘So, false priest, hear what I say
Bring out my Lady Helen Du Prey.’
Shouted the Knight as he rode to the gate
Whilst silently praying he wasn’t too late.
Then came a voice that made his heart drum
‘Jasper, my truelove, I knew you would come.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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