Of Roland and of Kings I sing of Arthur and Excalibur, The Table Round and fealty professed By knights devoted to a noble quest For what was right and good, and pure. I sing of Percival and Bedivere; Of Tristan, Kay, Gareth and Adragain; Of Galahad, Gaheris, and Gawain; Of Lancelot Du Lac . . . and Guinevere. I sing of Merlin, and the sordid plot Of Mordred’s treachery, and vows betrayed; Of Holy Grail and promises unmade. I sing of chivalry and Camelot. I sing of Roland and of Durendal, And those who fought and fell at Ronceveaux Defending France against a Muslim foe Who sought to hold all Christendom in thrall. I sing of Oliver and knightly pride, Of noble warriors on the field slain, Of truant Oliphant, and Charlemagne Who wept when he discovered all had died. I sing of minstrels and of Taillefer Who sang of Roland as the battle raged At Hastings and, with sword in hand, engaged The foe and died, a gallant ioglere. I sing of kings and knights, of serfs and vassals. Regal queens and outlaw paladins; Of jousts, and tournaments, and talismans; Of troubadours and crenellated castles. I sing of battles won and kingdoms lost. I sing of Stirling Bridge and Agincourt; Of Bannockburn, Nicopolis, and Tours; Each one a savage, feudal holocaust. I sing of glory, shame, and sacrifice. I sing of power gained by force of might And freedom wrested back from evil’s blight. And those who bore the cost and paid the price. I sing of ages long since passed away, Of martyr, hero, saint, and vagabond, Who each survived their own slough of despond To teach us and inspire us today. I sing of history and what has been, And though the past shines like a distant star It nonetheless is part of who we are; Our heritage of glory and chagrin. I sing of ancient, Medieval things To help ensure their memory survives. Such memories illuminate our lives, And so, I sing of Roland and of kings. James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.