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Chivalry and the Crusades

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Cover-Chivalry and the CrusadesLast night I read this interesting essay, “Chivalry and the Crusades,” from the January 1840 issue of “The Knickerbocker” magazine, which tells of the rise of the system of chivalry in the Middle Ages and its role in the Crusades. This theme reminds the author of dreams from childhood, saying, “…the knight’s adventurous wanderings in quest of opportunity to right the wrong, to spoil the spoiler, to chastise the oppressor, and to throw over innocence and weakness the protecting shield; all this furnishes a picture well fitted to captivate the fancy of our early years.”

Other Interesting Quotes:

“Among heathen nations generally, woman has been barred of her true place. The savage has made her a drudge. Even the cultivated Greek and Roman were far from counting her an equal. At best, she was but a rare flower, to be set in a costly vase; a singing bird, to be prisoned in a gilded cage. But the German tribes, especially the Goths, the subverters of Rome’s western empire, were in this respect a singular exception to savage life in general. Their women, Tacitus tells us, were not only respected, but held in veneration, and regarded as the recipients, often, of the spirit of divination. Respect for woman, then was an inheritance of the chivalrous order from its remote ancestry.”

“Again: the very purpose of chivalry, which was the vindication of weakness and innocence, naturally bore a very special reference to woman. For, however potent in her influence over those alive to her charms, against brute violence she has no defense. To an order, then, whose vocation it was to champion the defenseless, woman advanced claims of all others the most undeniable. From these causes combined, a high and mystical homage to the fair sex, sublimed often into the fantastic and extravagant, became a prominent feature of chivalry.”

Chivalry and the Crusades
Full Well Ventures

An essay, "Chivalry and the Crusades," from the January 1840 issue of "The Knickerbocker" magazine, tells of the rise of the system of chivalry in the Middle Ages and its role in the Crusades.

A Few Plain Thoughts on Poetry

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An essay first published in the March 1837 issue of “The Knickerbocker” magazine in which the virtues and value of poetry are lauded in a most elegant style. Says the “Knickerbocker” writer:

Take from us the belief in a future existence, and Poetry is shorn of her beams; but let her discuss those subjects connected with our immortal destiny, and she assumes an appearance of inexpressible glory; she strips us for a time of our earthly garments, that we may follow her to the pure river of life, and like the repentant tear which the Peri conveyed to the angel, removes the crystal bar which binds the gates of paradise.

And also:

Poetry is the appropriate handmaid of Religion; and says Wolfe: ‘The homage of Voltaire to the muse’s piety remains a bright memorial of her allegiance to Christianity.’ When the powers of hell seemed for a time to prevail, and his principles had given a shock to the faith of Europe, the daring blasphemer ventured to approach the dramatic muse; but no inspiration would she vouchsafe to dignify the sentiments of impiety and atheism. He found that no impassioned emotion could be roused—no tragic interest excited—no generous and lofty feeling called into action, where those dark and chilling feelings pervade.

Of course this assumes that all could write poetry. Yes, if only I were a good poet and not merely a mediocre hack in that department. Well, I will not judge myself too harshly. The forms of poetry may be good or bad. It is the divine thought or the hissing snake that makes the difference, as one might imagine.