The Knight-Errant

A poem by Virna Sheard

Keen in his blood ran the old mad desire
To right the world's wrongs and champion truth;
Deep in his eyes shone a heaven-lit fire,
And royal and radiant day-dreams of youth!

Gracious was he to both beggar and stranger,
And for a rose tossed from fair finger-tips
He would have ridden hard-pressed through all danger,
The rose on his heart and a song on his lips!

All the king's foes he counted his foemen;
His not to say that a cause could be lost;
Spirits like his faced the enemies' bowmen
On long vanished fields - nor counted the cost.

Wide was his out-look and far was his vision;
Soul-fretting trifles he sent down the wind;
Small griefs gained only his cheerful derision, -
God's weather always was fair to his mind.

But he would comfort a child who was crying,
Knightly his deed to all such in distress;
Never a beast by the road-side lay dying
He did not stoop to with gentle caress.

And by the old, and the sad, and the broken,
Often he lingered, a well-beloved guest;
Dear was his voice, whatever the word spoken,
Sweetening their day with a song or a jest.

In the far times of brave ballad and story,
Men of his make kept the gates of the sea,
Wrought mighty deeds of power and glory,
Scattered their tyrants, and set the land free!

* * * * *

In the far times when perchance hearts were stronger,
When for a faith men could face death alone,
And it would seem that love lasted longer,
Such a white soul would have come to its own.

Down in the city the people but noted
One who was silent when things went awry,
Toiled at dull tasks, and was strangely devoted
To small deeds of kindness that others passed by.

Down in the city the people but noted
One who thought little of wealth and its ways;
One whose true words were full often misquoted,
One who laughed lightly at blame or at praise.

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