Fast Rode the Knight by Stephen Crane

“Fast Rode the Knight” appeared in War is Kind & Other Lines in 1905. The author, Stephen Crane teaches us a lesson in this poem. He shows us that our important decisions and greed can affect our lives if we opt for the wrong decision because of our obsession with something.

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.

Analysis of Crane’s “Fast Rode the Knight”

Stephen Crane’s “Fast Rode the Knight” appeared in War is Kind & Other Lines in 1905. In it, Crane brings up the question of whether the sacrifices made for the achievements of men are worth it since greed has been the main source of fuel to men’s achievements since the beginning of mankind.  He explains how sometimes, the pursuit of one goal can be destructive and how people do not always realize the price that has to be paid.

Crane starts the poem explaining that a knight rides his horse with willingness, spurring with animal fervour, blindly chasing what he wants to achieve. He waves a sword and exclaims the justification that he is here to save his lady, much like a picture of a hero.

The main point is obsession may blur our vision, making us incapable of seeing what we are choosing, even when we think we are doing something vital and good. Even the best and most noble causes can lead to harsh sacrifices. Nevertheless, the same occurs when the causes are not so noble. People will sacrifice everything just be above everyone else, but when they get there, they realize that it is not as exciting as they thought it was. Crane gives us a good life lesson by focusing on the good intention of the knight.

The knight attacks the enemies and leaves his horse alone. Crane describes that the battle is like a riot of silver lights. There is a good golden banner for the hero at the end of the battle and near the palace, the horse lies blowing and bleeding. The last stanza is separated by dots, creating a dramatic pause.

The poem finishes with the image of the dead blood covered horse contrasting with the golden banner of the hero. So, Crane leads the readers to ponder if the ends justify the means.