Friedrich von Schiller

The Knights Of St. John

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Oh, nobly shone the fearful cross upon your mail afar,
When Rhodes and Acre hailed your might, O lions of the war!
When leading many a pilgrim horde, through wastes of Syrian gloom;
Or standing with the cherub's sword before the holy tomb.
Yet on your forms the apron seemed a nobler armor far,
When by the sick man's bed ye stood, O lions of the war!
When ye, the high-born, bowed your pride to tend the lowly weakness,
The duty, though it brought no fame, fulfilled by Christian meekness--
Religion of the cross, thou blend'st, as in a single flower,
The twofold branches of the palm--humility and power.

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Friedrich von Schiller