Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
Worthy The Name of Sir Knight
Sir Knight of the world's oldest order,
Sir Knight of the Army of God,
You have crossed the strange mystical border,
The ground floor of truth you have trod;
You have entered the sanctum sanctorum,
Which leads to the temple above,
Where you come as a stone, and a Christ-chosen one,
In the kingdom of Friendship and Love.
As you stand in this new realm of beauty,
Where each man you meet is your friend,
Think not that your promise of duty
In hall, or asylum, shall end;
Outside, in the great world of pleasure,
Beyond, in the clamor of trade,
In the battle of life and its coarse daily strife
Remember the vows you have made.
Your service, majestic and solemn,
Your symbols, suggestive and sweet,
Your uniformed phalanx in column
On gala days marching the street;
Your sword and your plume and your helmet,
Your 'secrets' hid from the world's sight;
These things are the small, lesser parts of the all
Which are needed to form the true Knight.
The martyrs who perished rejoicing
In Templary's glorious laws,
Who died 'midst the fagots while voicing
The glory and worth of their cause-
They honored the title of 'Templar'
No more than the Knight of to-day
Who mars not the name with one blemish of shame,
But carries it clean through life's fray.
To live for a cause, to endeavor
To make your deeds grace it, to try
And uphold its precepts forever,
Is harder by far than to die.
For the battle of life is unending,
The enemy, Self, never tires,
And the true Knight must slay that sly foe every day
Ere he reaches the heights he desires.
Sir Knight, have you pondered the meaning
Of all you have heard and been told?
Have you strengthened your heart for its weaning
From vices and faults loved of old?
Will you honor, in hours of temptation,
Your promises noble and grand?
Will your spirit be strong to do battle with wrong,
'And having done all, to stand?'
Will you ever be true to a brother
In actions as well as in creed?
Will you stand by his side as no other
Could stand in the hour of his need?
Will you boldly defend him from peril,
And lift him from poverty's curse-
Will the promise of aid which you willingly made,
Reach down from your lips to your purse?
The world's battle field is before you!
Let Wisdom walk close by your side,
Let Faith spread her snowy wings o'er you,
Let Truth be your comrade and guide;
Let Fortitude, Justice and Mercy
Direct all your conduct aright,
And let each word and act tell to men the proud fact,
You are worthy the name of 'Sir Knight'.
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