Fighting mid the strong and bold,
His eye and blade were keen;
Marching like a thund'ring storm
On foes of Faith, his queen.
Now returned in victory
Upon his mighty bay,
Set he off to Langley Tow'r
Her summons to obey.
"John the Squire," the footman called,
And held the oaken door;
Faith, it seemed, had gleaming eyes
Like never once before.
"John! 'tis good to see thee hale,"
The queen exclaimed, and rose:
Tales have sped to Langley's gates
Of many broken bows."
"God has saved me whole and well,
By prayers, I ween, of thee;
Tell me please, my lady Queen
What service I may be."
Saying thus, the squire bowed
And doffed his burnished helm;
Struck in awe by Faith, his love,
The queen of Arthur's realm.
"Gilbert saith," rehearsed the queen,
"That deeds of thee are done
Greater yet than those of Wat
Or even Henry's son."
Tears bedecked her youthful face,
And glistened in the light;
John the Squire, as she had hoped,
Had done her favour right.
"Nay!" the humble squire cried,
"This word is not so true!
How could I, the meanest squire,
Perform the deeds they do?"
"Hush!" It was a firm command;
"I'll hear these lies no more;
Kneel before me, Squire John,
A knight shall leave the door."
Down before the queen he knelt,
He pledged his knighthood true;
Swore her ev'ry small command
With cheerful heart to do.
From his side she drew his sword,
She struck the accolade;
"Thus the greatest knight," she said,
"Is from a squire made."
From her hand the sword did fall,
It clashed upon a stone:
"John, if battle claimed thy life,
How could I be alone?"
"God has prospered all my ways;
My Queen, I praythee, cease!
Soon these wars shall claim our foes,
And Britain be in peace."
Faith remained there by her throne,
With light upon her hair;
Not one maid of Camelot
Was even half so fair.
"God be with thee evermore,"
She bravely said at last;
"Guard and keep thee from the foe
Until the very last."
John the Knight farewell did bid,
And swiftly rode away:
When the wars were hammered out,
He'd be a king in May.
For the Famous Art contest. Inspired by the painting "The Accolade" -1901 by Edmund Blair Leighton.
Heather will have to copy and paste this url in a web browser, the rest of you can use the links in About Poem.