The Preceptor’s address to his Templars

To Sir James Thomas Windram

Love, the saviour of the world
Must be scourged with many rods,

From its place in heaven hurled,
Outcast before all the gods.


Love, that cleanses all, must be
Washed in its own blood and tears,

Heir of all eternity
Made the martyr of the years.


Love, that fills the void with bliss,
Staunches the eternal flood,

Heals the hurt of the abyss,
Blanches, beggared of its blood.


Love, that wears the laurel crown,
Turns to gain the lees of loss,

That from shame retrieves renown,
Is the carrion of the cross.


Through the heart a dagger-thrust,
On the mouth a traitor kiss, {271}

On the brows the brand of lust,
In the eyes the blaze of bliss!


Life, the pimp of malice, drags
Love with rape of fingers rude,

Flings to dust-heap death the rags
Of its bleeding maidenhood.


Therefore, we, the slaves of love,
Stand with trembling lips and eyes;

There is that shall reach above
The soul’s sullied sanctuaries.


Blasphemy beneath our touch
Turns to prayer’s most awed intent;

The profaner’s vilest smutch
Is our central sacrament.


Triumph, Templars, that are sworn
To that vengeance sinister,

Vigilant from murk to morn
By our rifled sepulchre.


Death to superstition, swear!
Death to tyranny, respond!

By the martyred Master, dare
Death, and what may lie beyond!


Heel on crucifix, deny!
Mouth to dagger-blade, affirm!

Point to throat, we stab the spy;
Hand on knee, we crush the worm. {272}


Every knight unbare the brand!
Fling aloft the gonfalon!

By the oath and ordeal, stand!
By the bitter cup, set on!


Is Beauséant forward flung?
Is Vexillum Belli set?

Onward, Templars, old and young,
In the name of Baphomet!



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