When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home, Let him combat for that of his neighbours; Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome, And get knocked on the head for his labours. To do good to Mankind is the chivalrous plan, And is always as nobly requited; Then battle fro Freedom wherever you can, And, if not shot or hanged, you'll get knighted.
Wars fought over a face like this, he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it, his eyes came to mine, poison his brother to possess a face like this.
You see all the other fellows were so active and earnest and all that sort of thing- always rampaging, and skirmishing, and scouring the desert sands, and pacing the margin of the sea, and chasing knights all over the place, and devouring damsels, and going on generally- whereas I liked to get my meals regular and then to prop my back against a bit of rock and snooze a bit, and wake up and think of things going on and how they kept going on just the same, you know!
The moral, I suppose, would be that the first requirements for a heroic career are the knightly virtues of loyalty, temperance, and courage. The loyalty in this case is of two degrees or commitments: first, to the chosen adventure, but then, also, to the ideals of the order of knighthood. Now, this second commitment seems to put Gawain's way in opposition to the way of the Buddha, who when ordered by the Lord of Duty to perform the social duties proper to his caste, simply ignored the command, and that night achieved illumination as well as release from rebirth. Gawain is a European and, like Odysseus, who remained true to the earth and returned from the Island of the Sun to his marriage with Penelope, he has accepted, as the commitment of his life, not release from but loyalty to the values of life in this world. And yet, as we have just seen, whether following the middle way of the Buddha or the middle way of Gawain, the passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear.
Can I dwell on what I scarce remember? I held a castle on the Marches once, and there was a woman I was pledged to marry, but I could not find that castle today, nor tell you the color of that woman's hair. Who knighted me, old friend? What were my favorite foods? It all fades. Sometimes I think I was born on the bloody grass in that grove of ash, with the taste of fire in my mouth and a hole in my chest. Are you my mother, Thoros?
Well then, take this thought with you for the dark hours to come: It is a ludicrous fiction that love conquers all, but it can, in fact, conquer quite a lot. I am Iason of the Blood, Knight of Arthur, King of the Britons, reborn into dark service in the year of Our Lord five hundred and sixty. My power is vast, and for none to arrogate but by my will and decree. My services are engaged, Selina. Tell me what you need to ease your pain in this, and it is yours.
Toasted almond pancakes. Sweet soft 'okays'. Makin' me laugh more in a few weeks than I have in decades. 'Yes, Daddys' I feel in my dick. The first voicemail you left me, babe. I saved it and I listen to it once a day. If I lose focus, I see you on your back, knees high, legs wide, offering your sweet, wet pussy to me. You smile at me in bed every time you wander outta my bedroom in my shirts, my tees, or your work clothes and honest to Christ, it sets me up for the day. And no matter what shit goes down, I get through it knowin' whichever bed I climb into at night, you're in it ready to snuggle into me or give me what I wanna take. Your girl, a headache. You, never. And in a life that's been full of headaches, babe, having that, there is no price tag. You gotta get it and do it fuckin' now that there's a lotta different kinds of give and take. And you give as good as you get, baby, trust me.