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Poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

The Tournament

His spur on his heel, his spear in its rest.
The wild wind just waving the plumes on his crest;
The young knight rides forwardhis armour is bright
As that which it mirrors, the mornings clear light.

His steed it is black as the raven that flies
Mid the tempest that darkens its way through the skies;
From his nostril the white foam is scattered around;
He knoweth the battle and spurneth the ground.

His master is youngbut familiar his hand
Has been from its childhood with axe and with brand.
His gold locks have darkened with blood and with toil,
Where the battle of Ascalon darkened the soil

He is calm, though a youth, save when his blue eye
Sees afar the red banners that sweep through the sky;
It kindlesthere waiteth the triumph again
He poises his lance, and he tightens his rein.

The belt of a knight was in Palestine won;
By the hand of King Richard the belt was bound on.
On his shoulder the cross, by his helmet a glove,
Tell he serveth his God, and his King, and his Love,

On his lip is a song whose last murmur was heard
When the castles old ivy the summer wind stirred;
Low and love-touched the words, that are never so dear
As when battle and danger and triumph are near.

He flings the bright marks from his scarfs silken fold
What careth the warrior for silver or gold?
And he bends till his plumes touch his horses dark mane,
To the minstrel who mingles one name with his strain.

So loyal of heart, and so liberal of hand,
Were the gallantthe high-bornof Englands fair land.
But their glory is gatheredtheir honours are told
Let the race of to-day match the good knights of old.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. Amelioration and the Future, Man's Noble Tasks
  2. Fragment (It is not spring, but still the new-come year)
  3. The Nameless Grave
  4. To Sir John Doyle, Bart
  5. Cafes in Damascus

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Sidney Lanier The Tournament ("Joust First")
  • Menella Smedley The Tournament ("The churches twelve of Wallingford")

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