The Combat à l’Outrance.

He slandered Mabel, then I smote1
The knave upon his loathsome face.2
I was her husband ; how they sneered3
To see me champion her disgrace !4
I bore her clinging to my breast,5
The cowards all around her pressed.6
He came a golden type of Mars,7
A mummer’s king barred up in mail8
Studded with silver rivet-stars,9
His banner flapping like a sail.10
His housings were all striped and spangled,11
With broidered pearls and rubies tangled.12
His burgonet was beaten off,13
This axe soon swept away his crest ;14
My mace struck twice, a ghastly stab15
Two inches wide gaped in his breast ;16
And, from his vizor beaten in,17
Blood smeared his cold and sallow skin.18
And that was how I left the beast19
Who spat upon my Mabel’s fame ;20
I tore his flag in two, and trod21
Upon the shield that bore his name.22
Then spurning praise, and gift, and feast,23
I mounted for the blessed East.24