And when I’m call’d on, and in open day,
To swear that true is false, and yea is nay,
And know I’m in a lie, and yet go through it,
By all that’s blest I own I cannot do it.
Let me but feel me buckled for the right,
And come a world in arms, I’m still a knight:
But give my foe the truth, and me the fraud,
And the pale scholar of the priest is awed.”
“Say not the word,” the hasty fair one cried:
“I see it all, and wish I might have died.
Go sir, oh go!! a soldier and afraid!
Was it for this you lov’d a trusting maid?
Your presence kills me, Sir, with shame and grief.”-
She said; and sunk in tears and handkerchief.
“Ah, Mabel,” said the knight, as with a kiss
He bow’d on her dropp’d head, “you’ll mourn for this.”
He look’d upon her glossy locks, admire’d
Their gentleness for once, and with a sigh retir’d.
—-from “The Gentle Armour.”
Poem by Leigh Hunt
Excerpt from Love Poems of Browning & Hunt, Published by The Dodge Publishing Company, 40 West Thirteenth Street, New York, New York. Copyright 1902
*photo courtesy of Google Chrome, Vintage Valentine Cards.