Who does not think of St. George as a quasi-impossible personage slaying a dragon and rescuing a princess? And by all means let us so picture him, only turning the wild legend into a parable of truth…Fabrications, blunders, even lies, frequently contain some grain of truth: and though life at the longest cannot be long enough for us to sift all, one occasionally may repay the sifting. (Christina Rossetti, on the Feast of St. George, in Time Flies: A Reading Diary) And did he really slay the dragon, Clad, as Raphael would have him, In blackest metal, cape a-flying, Crested helm with halo circling, Damsel in the waiting, praying Patiently, the dragon cowering Beneath the horse’s lifted hoof? Does there lie, in this, the truth? Or did he rise, as icons have him, O’er the flames that licked around him, Skewering the dragon’s throat, Horse and dragon both afloat Above a raging sea of ground, Damsel tying dragon down With a rope around his neck, An angel on the horse’s back? Or did Diocletian rise Upon his own proud horse and ride Against the saints and claim with his Emperor’s spear the lives of those Who knelt in treason down before Another, higher rival Lord? And did George stand faithful through The blazing fire that grew and grew? And did the dragon emperor cower When Saint George denied his power? Did the bride of Christ stand tall From her frightened castle wall, Proud and confident to see That saint who would not lie or flee, Purified by the flames from the dragon, Sifted, found pure from the sifting?