The Knight

Who yonder rides through wind and rain,
With plumed helm and shield and spear?
How fleet he dashes o'er the plain!
The distant shelter soon is near.
With bearing bold he scours along;
He bends with practised hand the rein:
From clash of arms and battle throng,
To wife and home he turns again.
He who so proudly speeds afar
Is the famed champion, Adhemar.

On gallant steed, in armor bright,
To serve his king he rode to war:
Erect he moved in burnished light;
'Mid crowds his helmet shone, a star.
He couched his lance; he burst away;
His gallop thundered o'er the field:
In dust the bleeding foeman lay;
Unhurt by splintered lance his shield.
He drew his flashing blade, — and wide
Rolled startled back the warrior tide.

The victory won, with glory crowned,
To wife and home, as country, true,
As praise and blessing echoed round,
Back to that wife and home he flew.
Loud bursts the storm; the river swells;
He dashes through the roaring wave:
Nor field nor flood his spirit quells, —
Life has no terrors for the brave.
And now across that sweep of plain,
See, see! the gallant champion strain.

She gazes from the highest tower; —
The night is dark; the wind is chill.
Through midnight's wildest, dreariest hour,
With sleepless eye she gazes still.
The bright, the pure, the chosen one,
Of noblest dames the fairest star,
In worth, in loveliness, alone,
Through night and storm, sat watching there.
Hark, yonder horn! He comes! — she springs,
And flies, as if her feet were wings.

She draws the bolt; the ponderous gate
Rolls back, as from a giant's hand:
Quick falls the bridge, — she cannot wait;
Love draws her forth with magic band.
Tramp! tramp! — her Adhemar is near,
And now she sees his armor bright, —
His eager welcome meets her ear;
He comes, — he springs, — she clasps her knight.
What cares he for the wind or rain?
He holds his Ylia again.
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