Monday, June 04, 2007

An Ancient Ode to Chivalry

The True Knight
by Stephen Hawes (1474-1523?)

For knighthood is not in the feats of warre,
As for to fight in quarrel right or wrong,
But in a cause which truth can not defarre:
He ought himself for to make sure and strong,
Justice to keep mixt with mercy among:
And no quarrell a knight ought to take
But for a truth, or for the common's sake.

Hawes, a native of Suffolk, was a popular poet during the Tudor period and served Henry VII as the Groom of the Chamber. His extant work includes the lengthy allegory, The Passetyme of Pleasure, and a few short poems including the very fine one of which is printed above.