There he bows,
Weak from his fast,
Dressed in white,
And soon the colors of blood and earth will follow.
His life from this point is the honor he keeps
And the purity he holds is the banner with which he leads.
The games of the pages are over.
The servitude of the squire is a recent memory.
Now the battle is his.
There will be leading by a hand on a page’s shoulder,
Or a quiet ride on horseback.
There will be leading by battle, too:
The grisly severing of tendon from sinew.
The dreaded orphaning of the unseen.
The armament dreads the inevitable.
The knight must swallow the fear.
As one whose sword is tarnished
From blood of battles long forgotten,
I pass these words to you:
A soldier is a soldier until he retires.
A knight is a knight until he dies.
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