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Formal portrait of Stephen Crane, taken in Was...

Stephen Crane. Image acquired through public domain of the United States, via Wikimedia Commons.

This week’s Pretzels and Bullfights special is an ode to the changing of an age, to the death of the dream-like chivalry to which man once clung, and the rise of the horror of grim reality. “Fast rode the knight” is a famous work by one Stephen Crane, an American novelist, short story writer, poet and (this journalist’s heart be still) journalist. He was a hallmark of the late 19th century, and one of the foremost examples of the rise of the realist tradition in literature. He is perhaps best known, however, for his novel, The Red Badge of Courage, which is still wide-read in classrooms today.

~Chris Galford

“Fast rode the knight”

Fast rode the knight
With spurs, hot and reeking,
Ever waving an eager sword,
“To save my lady!”
Fast rode the knight,
And leaped from saddle to war.
Men of steel flickered and gleamed
Like riot of silver lights,
And the gold of the knight’s good banner
Still waved on a castle wall.
. . . . .
A horse,
Blowing, staggering, bloody thing,
Forgotten at foot of castle wall.
A horse
Dead at foot of castle wall.

~Stephen Crane