Colin F. Jones

ADVICE FOR A SAMURAI

Serve your master as though your body is dead,
Already rotting inside a grave,
Then nothing amiss will enter your head,
And to fear you will not be a slave.
You must defeat yourself and not the foe;
For victory is not an enemy slain,
But the pathway your master tells you to go,
That rewards without any gain.
You must be polite, clean and sure,
You must groom your clothes and hair,
And shine your amour and be demure,
And trim your finger nails with care.
And clean with gentleness your Samurai sword,
For your skills all live in there.

Author’s Note: The Samurai were formed in 1100 and could be likened to the medieval knights in one respect in that they both had a code of ethics, though quite different in many ways. The Galloglasses were professional Soldier–servant-berserkers; hardly knights, loyal to any of the old Irish Chiefs who would pay them. They, even with their “big swords” could not stand and defeat the Norman Knights on the battle field, and were unable to do so before recruiting the Scottish Mercenaries.

The Samurai were quite different, used different weapons, different armour, and were trained in good manners as well as in fighting skills. They were also “individuals” and applied their “art” as such.