Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Allegiance from "Gods of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I'm about 2/3 done listening to the second book by E.R. Burroughs in his Barsoom series.  I'm finding it to be a space western.  I'm greatly enjoying these books.  The reading is good from the librivox volunteers, which helps.

This passage struck me and made me wonder about how temperamental my allegiance has been-

"Ah, my Prince," he continued, as though no thought had interrupted his greeting, "that you are back is sufficient, and let Hor Vastus' sword have the high honour of being first at thy feet." With these words the noble fellow unbuckled his scabbard and flung his sword upon the ground before me.

Could you know the customs and the character of red Martians you would appreciate the depth of meaning that that simple act conveyed to me and to all about us who witnessed it. The thing was equivalent to saying, "My sword, my body, my life, my soul are yours to do with as you wish. Until death and after death I look to you alone for authority for my every act. Be you right or wrong, your word shall be my only truth. Whoso raises his hand against you must answer to my sword."

It is the oath of fealty that men occasionally pay to a Jeddak whose high character and chivalrous acts have inspired the enthusiastic love of his followers. Never had I known this high tribute paid to a lesser mortal. There was but one response possible. I stooped and lifted the sword from the ground, raised the hilt to my lips, and then, stepping to Hor Vastus, I buckled the weapon upon him with my own hands.

"Hor Vastus," I said, placing my hand upon his shoulder, "you know best the promptings of your own heart. That I shall need your sword I have little doubt, but accept from John Carter upon his sacred honour the assurance that he will never call upon you to draw this sword other than in the cause of truth, justice, and righteousness."

"That I knew, my Prince," he replied, "ere ever I threw my beloved blade at thy feet."

Of course I need to tie in some GKC (Orthodoxy):
Before any cosmic act of reform we must have a cosmic oath of allegiance. A man must be interested in life, then he could be disinterested in his views of it.  "My son give me thy heart"; the heart must be fixed on the right thing: the moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand.

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