A valour not-so-noble

A valour not-so-noble

I am a teacher by choice, not by chance. I am an engineer of computer hardware and networking by educational qualification and have worked for a couple of MNCs.

One day, while repairing a computer, an unnerving thought struck me: the computer I repair is just an emotionless machine. It is programmed to perform a particular task; it cannot exceed this brief. In contrast, if I teach young children and build their character, that can help mould an entire generation.

I can teach them moral values and the true purpose of education. That will certainly entitle me to their good wishes and prayers. That thought changed the course of my life and I decided to become a teacher. Now, I teach English to high school students.

Once, I was to teach poetry. I started preparing my lesson plan. The poem was ‘Lochinvar’ by Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish poet of the English language. The poem is part of ‘Marmion’, an epic poem about the Battle of Flodden (1513). I found the poem intriguing.

O young Lochinvar is come out of the west/ Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;

The poem eulogises Lochinvar’s valour, with the poet describing him as a promising knight rider of the highlands. He rode on his horse unarmed, through the wide border, and throughout his special journey, he rode all by himself. He is so valiant that no obstacle or hardship could prevent him from reaching the desired goal, and he swam across the River Eske (in northwest Ireland).

I enjoyed the poem up till this point and was curious to know why the great Lochinvar is taking so many pains. The purpose of his arduous journey would be relevant to the students who are our nation’s future, and for whose character-building the textbook committee has included the poem in the curriculum.

I hoped that the knight rider’s tale will help me teach moral values to the students — the foremost objective behind my decision to become a teacher.

As I continued with the poem, I learnt that the knight rider travelled from Scotland to England adventurously, not for the betterment of his community or for the love of his nation, but

For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war/ Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

His aim was to take away his girlfriend from the wedding hall where she was getting married to another man. He used all his wisdom for this cause.

The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up/ He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup.

I had to convey to the students Lochinvar’s deep love for his beloved Ellen. I had to explain that a brave man is one who drinks the goblet of wine kissed by his beloved who is in her bridal wear and that he used all his intellect and valour to run off with her.

So daring in love, and so dauntless in war/ Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

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