The Knight’s Toast

The feast is o’er! Now brimming wine
In lordly cup is seen to shine
Before each eager guest;
And silence fills the crowded hall,
As deep as when the herald’s call
Thrills in the loyal breast.

Then up arose the noble host
And smiling cried: “A toast! a toast!
To all our ladies fair!
Here, before all, I pledge the name
Of Staunton’s proud and beauteous dame,
The Lady Gundamere!”

Then to his feet each gallant sprung,
And joyous was the shout that rung
As Stanley gave the word;
And every cup was raised on high,
Nor ceased the loud and gladsome cry,
Till Stanley’s voice was heard.

“Enough, enough,” he smiling said.
And lowly bent his haughty head;
“That all may have their due
Now each, in turn, must play his part,
And pledge the lady of his heart.
Like gallant knight and true!”

Then, one by one, each guest sprang up,
And drained in turn the brimming cup,
And named the loved one’s name;
And each; as hand on high he raised,
His lady’s grace or beauty praised
Her constancy and fame.

“Tis now St. Leon’s turn to rise;
On him are fixed those countless eyes;
A gallant knight is he:
Envied by some, admired by all,
Far-famed in lady’s bower and hall –
The flower of chivalry.

St. Leon raised his kindling eye
And lifts the sparkling cup on high;
“I drink to one,” he said.
“Whose image never may depart,
Deep graven on this grateful heart,
Till memory be dead.”

“To one whose love for me shall last
When lighter passions long have passed,
So holy ’tis and true:
To one whose love hath longer dwelt,
More deeply fixed, more keenly felt,
Than any pledged by you.

Each guest upstarted at the word.
And laid his hand upon his sword,
With fury flashing eye:
Proud knight of this most peerless dame
Whose love you count so high.”

Sr, Leon paused as if he would
Not breathe her name in careless mood,
Thus lightly, to another;
Then bent his noble head, as though
To give the word the reverence due,
And gently said: “My mother!”


2 responses to “The Knight’s Toast

  1. First time I have seen this, The Knights Toast, since I memorized it in eighth grade at St. Helena’s parochial school in 1963. Sweet to find it again.

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