Degradation of a Knight

     This painting of the Knights of the Garter proceeding from the Deanery depicts these well-honored men who were on their way to St. George’s Chapel on March 10th of 1863. It being 155 years ago to the date, I pondered today what great ceremony was about to take place on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Most likely a ceremony of installation was about to occur with all in their proper regalia. It wasn’t all pleasant, of course. Sometimes a Knight was degraded because he hadn’t kept to the statutes and the worst was of being guilty of heresy, treason or fleeing a battle. The following poem is a prime example how honor among men can be folly especially when conduct is upheld tantamount to the honor bestowed to anyone. Whoever may be exalted among men in his pride and joy can conversely be scourged unmercifully when he falters and makes a decision against his highest principles. I would conclude the following with this quote because it still holds weight. Forgiveness is always best, in any case: To err is human, to forgive, divine. – The Castle Lady

According to the second article of King Henry 8th’s statutes, the Knights of The Most Noble Order of The Garter…

On the eve of the installation in April, 1742, the following poem was read and is supposed to be written by the late Earl of Chesterfield.

As Anstis was trotting away from the Chapter,
Extremely in drink, and extremely in rapture,
Scarce able his bible and statutes to carry;
Up started the spectre of jolly King Harry
As on marched the nobles he eyed them all o’er,
When seeing such knights as he ne’er saw before,
With things on their shoulders and things at their knees,
“Ha-ha!” cried the King, “What Companions are these?
Are they such from their colours, who never have fled?   
Are they honestly born, are they honestly bred?
Have they honestly lived, without blame or disgrace?
Odds flesh! master Garter, I like not their face.”
Please your grace, quoth the ‘squire, how can we keep rules?
We must make April Knights, or else April fools.
But faith of the first I can tell you no more,
Than that he’s the son of a son of a whore.
The next, who shall censure for lewdness of life?
Has no man, but he hurt another man’s wife?
His Cordon of France was a pitiful thing;
But England affords him a much finer string.
The third of these Knights, as he changed once before,  
We have made him true blue, that he ne’er may change more;
And now cross his shoulder the collar is drawn,
That his grace may have one thing he never can pawn,
That short bit of ribbon, for man never meant,
May serve little Portland, it served little Kent;
Though stained and defiled by that nasty old bug,
What tied an old monkey may tie a young pug,
The times, Sir, are altered, and riches are all,
And honours – folks, now, take them up as they fall,
They pay, like good fellows, the charge of their string,
The King saves his money, and God Save the King.

Honi soit qui mal y pense,

The Castle Lady


About Evelyn

The Castle Lady Official web site: other blogs:
This entry was posted in A General Announcement, Amazing Stories, Life as poetry, Poetry, Proverbe du Jour and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s