Sir Paul returned from the Great Crusade
With riches and glories that would never fade.
These meant nothing to him.
Sir Paul’s heart yearned for Mary;
It was a burden he did carry.
His courage failed near her.
Mary asked him how she could please him.
Sir Paul was silent for the reason
That she left him breathless.
Suitors came to Mary’s side
Hoping to make the Lady their bride
Sir Paul was in Hell.
A bearded man in black approached the knight,
Sir Paul readied his sword for a fight;
But the man stilled Sir Paul’s arm with a wave and a glance.
“Your pain is known to me, Sir Paul.”
I have come to relieve it all.”
A gift he did present.
A potion disguised as a bottle of red wine
Would help to bring Mary in line.
Sir Paul considered it.
“And what would you take in return?” asked the knight.
“Nothing save your Crusader’s soul,” replied the wight.
“A fair trade to end your heart’s bleeding.”
The tortured knight could not decide,
But that day, Mary he spied
In the arms of another knight.
His heart churned;
He would not be spurned.
If only to save his pride.
The damned wine Sir Paul presented,
And in quick time, her heart was rented.
They were wed in a garden.
Her love for Sir Paul only grew once begun,
She bore him daughters and a son.
They had a life.
Lady Mary loved him with her whole heart,
But she could not see why he stood apart;
Tortured evermore as the years passed.
Sir Paul was bitter, his countenance cold,
Throughout their years together he knew he’d sold
His soul for a lie.
The more he drew away from his faithful wife
The more she would try to calm his strife
It only pained him more.
Lady Mary’s beauty barely faded,
But by her knight’s rejection, her own heart was shaded.
She was in pain.
Sir Paul could see his Lady’s suffering as from afar,
His shame burned hotter than the brightest star.
His heart grew even colder.
As Sir Paul’s life approached its winter season,
The man in black came for his reason.
The bitter knight cursed the Devil on sight.
He said “What have I done to earn the spite
Of a soldier of Christ who is nearly done his fight?”
Sir Paul gripped his rusted sword.
“I traded my soul, not my life,” he said.
“Through a false love I am already dead
And have been these many years.”
“We had no bargain,” the Devil replied.
“The wine I gave you was never imbibed.
Lady Mary does not drink.”
In fire and brimstone the stranger disappeared.
To the grand dining hall the limping knight steered.
The bottle was on the shelf.
With trembling hands he took it down.
Still corked, it was. His face did frown.
Sir Paul was in Hell.
The old knight ran to the garden to see Lady Mary,
His old legs buckled at the stiff burden they did carry,
But he knelt at her feet all the same.
“I love you with all my heart,” he said.
Placing upon her lap his mournful head.
He pled her forgiveness.
His lady placed her hand upon his brow.
She said “Do you not know by now,
That to me you can do no wrong?”
In a garden, an ancient couple kissed
As though the years were never missed.
Their love was true.