Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
My Hero
 
Benjamin Brawley
 
 
(To Robert Gould Shaw)
 
 
FLUSHED with the hope of high desire,
  He buckled on his sword,
To dare the rampart ranged with fire,
  Or where the thunder roared;
Into the smoke and flame he went,        5
  For God’s great cause to die—
A youth of heaven’s element,
  The flower of chivalry.
 
This was the gallant faith, I trow,
  Of which the sages tell;        10
On such devotion long ago
  The benediction fell;
And never nobler martyr burned,
  Or braver hero died,
Than he who worldly honor spurned        15
  To serve the Crucified.
 
And Lancelot and Sir Bedivere
  May pass beyond the pale,
And wander over moor and mere
  To find the Holy Grail;        20
But ever yet the prize forsooth
  My hero holds in fee;
And he is Blameless Knight in truth,
  And Galahad to me.
 

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