Wednesday, March 21, 2012

75. The First Crusades

“Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains… beloved and chosen by God.  Let hatred depart. Let all war cease. Enter onto the road to the Holy Sepulcher...” (Pope Urban II, 1095)

Rome’s wilting son, Byzantium.
Was threatened
By the Islamic faith flowing into the Holy Land.
They ate away at the empire
As Caliphs claimed their territory.
Warring Seljuks replaced them.
Byzantium asked for help
People were concerned.
The pope was concerned.
“They threaten our religious livelihood!” they said.
“We must get rid of them!”
 Deus vult!
The pope said.
Deus vult!
The people said.
“God wills it.”
“It is up to him!”
So they grabbed their armor and went off to fight
Eagar to take the Holy Land from the Turk’s hand.
But, as Rome’s son soon found out
They were too eager.
Trudged across Europe
Abandoning homes
Dressed in silver armor
Painted with the crimson cross
To fight for God.
Many believed they were right.
The knights had obligations.
Still more did it just to line their pockets.
Young aristocrats wanted land.
Others hoped for plunder.
With direction from a hermit preacher
Some couldn’t wait for the Holy Land
So they sent God’s chosen
To sleep in the land of Worms.
The preacher and his men
Continued to their holy spot
Where many met a terrible end.
The ultimate goal was met
When the Turks left the land
A crusader castle was built
To protect Jerusalem’s pilgrims
As they came to see their holy relics
Buying holy wares.
Though the rivers of eager men
Flowed strong to the Holy Land
They were no match for the Turk named Zengi.
Built on unstable foundations
The crusader castle slowly fell apart.

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