Prelude to The Defense of Blythcairne


To castle ruin'd did he ride
upon a stallion black as night.
Tomorrow's hope he cherished not;
his only thought to kill, and die.

The serpent coil'd around the throne,
malicious hate within its breast--
its only thought to kill, and kill
that which disturb'd its rest.

A heart of steel, a heart of flesh
did meet together in one man.
And would it quail? He bade it not--
Take Courage! cried he, Courage! Stand!

Then flashing blade did stab and pierce!
And roaring fury did it wake!
And every thrusting point did make
the serpent yet more fierce.

Then flashing teeth did snap and tear,
and hope to vanquish foe so small--
but wrathfully they found that all
they bit on was the air.

Then singing blade did stab and wound!
From evil heart flow'd blood uncheck'd.
From cuts in face, and breast, and neck
the beast began to swoon.

Then keening serpent tried to flee,
but found no place to hide its head--
for only with the dragon dead
would man have victory.

From castle ruin'd did he ride,
the strength of evil now undone.
Of cheering crowds none call'd his name--


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© 2003 Robert W. Tompkins. All rights reserved.