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Knights Errant

In France, from 768 to 987, the land was encumbered with fortified castles; in England this was not the case till the reign of Stephen. The lords of these castles used to carry off females and commit rapine, so that a class of men sprang up, at least in the pages of romance, who roamed about in full armour to protect the defenceless and aid the oppressed.

“`Proxima quæque metit gladio' is the perfect account of a knight errant.” —Dryden: Dedication of the Æneis.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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