A lonely candle burns in the turret of the Keep,
In vigil stands the Good Knight, all night without sleep,
The lonely candle’s light reflects on his armour
His heart inside his steel beats with fearless ardour.
Ahead of him great battles, maybe a whole decade,
Tomorrow he will join the Holy Crusade.
Glory or death awaits, but oh how cruel is life,
He has to leave behind his darling faithful wife.
A woman left alone is ripe for rival’s prey;
Who would be the foul foe her honour to betray?
Who is the faithful friend he holds in high regard,
One, who would be the guardian, her honour to guard?
The gallant Sir Thal is the only candidate,
A battle tested staunch friend, a truly faithful mate,
Who would protect his wife and guard her chastity
And faithfully and staunchly hold on to the key
Of her chastity belt. – The dawn chased away the night;
Tired from the vigil, but resolute felt the Knight.
The time approached fast to say his farewell to all
And to hand over the key to his trusted friend, Thal.
“Thal, my faithful friend, I trusted you with my life,
Now I trust you to shield the honour of my wife.
Protect and guard her with your life, till my return,
Or till my ashes are carried home in an urn.
I’ll trust you with the key to her chastity belt”.
And with these words - to Thal - at the altar he knelt,
Murmuring a prayer and a thank to his friend,
Before departing to battle, “The Faith” to defend.
Thal was now ready to utter a solemn oath,
With a deep and grave voice to seal an honest troth:
“Tancread, your wife’s honour will be sacred to me,
With my life, if needed, I’ll guard her chastity.”
After a brief embrace Tancread now departed
Ready for a long march, feeling lion-hearted;
But no more than a few hours away from his home
And a long-long way to go, before reaching Rome,
With a fast gallop, a knight appeared from the rear,
Raising in Tancread’s heart a most unwelcome fear.
It was Sir Thal on his charger, shouting aloud
These words that Tancread thought should never be allowed:
“Tancread, Tancread my friend, Tancread you fearless Knight,
You forgot the key… and your wife’s lonely tonight…”
© P. J. Oszmann (2005) (Based on one of my unfinished poems written
in Hungarian ca. 1950)
© Illustration created in Publisher and Photoshop.