As the song of him who singeth,
Playing on a harp of gold,
So to me was Christ's evangel
In the days of old.
Thus across the lake of Constance
Went I forth to preach His Word,
And beside me sat the squire
Of a noble Lord.
None in all the ship so knightly,
None so bravely dight as he --
|Tell me,| I besought, |thine errand
Yonder o'er the sea.|
|I go forth,| he said, |to gather
Many a knight and noble bold;
They shall tilt at joust and tourney,
Whilst fair eyes behold.
|And the bravest and the noblest
He shall win a glorious prize,
Smiles to boot, and courtly favour
In the ladies' eyes.|
|Tell me what shall be the guerdon?|
|Lo, the fairest in the land
Sets a gold ring on his finger
With her lily hand.|
|Tell me how the knight may win it?|
|Scars and bruises must he boast,
For the knight shall be the winner
Who endures the most.|
|Tell me, if when first assaulted,
He in knightly guise shall stand,
Shall he win the golden guerdon
From his lady's hand?|
|Nay, right on, till all is over,
Must a worthy knight hold on;
Bear the brunt, and stand a conqueror
When the fight is done.|
|And if he be wounded sorely,
Will he weep and will he mourn?|
|Nay, in place of winning honour,
He would win but scorn.|
Then my spirit sank within me,
And within my heart I spake --
|O my Lord, thus fight the knightly
For their honour's sake.
|Small the prize, and stern the battle,
Worthless gain, and weary fight --
Lord, a ring of stones most precious
Hast thou for Thy knight!
|Oh, to be the knight of Jesus!
Scorning pain, and shame, and loss;
There the crown, the joy, the glory,
Here, O Lord, Thy Cross.|
Then I wept, with bitter longing
Thus the knight of God to be;
And the Lord, who saw me weeping,
Gave the cross to me.
Bitter pain, and shame, and sorrow
Came upon me as a flood --
I forgot it was the tourney
Of the knights of God.
And again I wept, beseeching,
|Take the Cross, O Lord, from me!|
Till a light broke like the morning
Over the wild sea.
Then there spake the Voice beloved,
Still and sweet my heart within --
|is it thus, O knight of Jesus,
Thou the prize wilt win?|
|O my Lord, the fight is weary --
Weary, and my heart is sore!|
|And,| he answered, |fair the guerdon,
And for evermore.|
|I have shamed Thee, craven-hearted,
I have been Thy recreant knight --
Own me yet, O Lord, albeit
Weeping whilst I fight.|
|Nay,| He said; |yet wilt thou shame Me?
Wilt thou shame thy knightly guise?
I would have My angels wonder
At thy gladsome eyes.
|Need'st thou pity, knight of Jesus? --
Pity for thy glorious hest?
On! let God and men and angels
See that thou art blest!