The hammer blows of combat are the sweetest psalms I know
Sing Exalt and Hosanna at the coursing of the foe.
This cross I wear for Henry I will bear unto my grave
My oath fulfilled my duty done and two souls shall I save.
The Marshall sore with grieving he has come now o'er from France.
His shield, his sword, his hauberk and his ever steady lance.
In service to the Young King did this captain ply his trade.
The spirit fled, the oath assumed now captive to a shade.
‘Take up your arms’, said Henry, Roi the father to the knight
‘Employ your skill, harass the foe and strike with all your might.
But come ye back to England and unto my court attend.
A king is ever needful of true valiant, loyal men.’
And so did William travel to the land height Palestine.
As confrere to the Temple for a time he was consigned.
His bread, his wine, his mass he took with brothers all around
Until at last his oath discharged he found him homeward bound.
Now many years and many kings the Marshall he did serve.
One called a rogue, one hailed a hero pledged unto the Lord.
The Marshall at his death bed, as Regent to the Crown
Called forth his loyal vassals and he bid them stand around.
‘When I was o'ver in Outreamer I pondered on my death
And so I claim the Temple as I draw out my last breath.
May God and Michael guide me as I flee unto the grave
My vows fulfilled, my oath discharged, and two souls have I saved.’
Chorus (‘have I saved’)
Henry Curtmantle, King of England, had his eldest son crowned in his life time to assure both the succession of the Crown and the preservation of his empire, which stretched from the Pyrenees to the far North Sea. He established William Marshall, a simple household knight, to the role of sire in arms to his son Henry, called “The Young King”. But fate’s wheel turned against the King’s device and The Young King died of a flux. On his deathbed he bade The Marshall to carry his crusader’s cross to Jerusalem, which William did “doing more in two years than most do in ten”. Upon his death bed The Marshall, now raised by fortune and courtly skill to Regent of England under the minor King Henry III, returned to the Knight Templars, whom he served for as a lay brother while in Palestine, for the salvation of his soul.