Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bruce And The Spider, Bernard Barton

For Scotland's and for freedom's right
The Bruce his part had played,
In five successive fields of fight
Been conqured and dismayed;
Once more against the English host
His band he led, and once more lost
The meed for which he fought;
And now from battle, faint and worn,
The homeless fugitive forlorn
A hut's lone shelter sought.

And cheerless was that resting-place
For him who claimed a throne:
His canopy devoid of grace,
The rude, rough beams alone;
The heather couch his only bed, -
Yet well I ween had slumber fled
Spider Image curtesy of http://www.pdphoto.org
From couch of eider-down!
Through darksome night till dawn of day,
Absorbed in wakeful thought he lay
Of Scotland and her crown.

The sun rose brightly, and its gleam
Fell on that hapless bed,
And tinged with light each shapeless beam
Which roofed the lowly shed;
When, looking up with wistful eye,
The Bruce beheld a spider try
His filmy thread to fling
From beam to beam of that rude cot;
And well the insect's toilsome lot
Taught Scotland's future king.

Six times his gossamery thread
The wary spider threw;
In vain the filmy line was sped,
For powerless or untrue
Each aim appeared, and back recoiled
The patient insect, six times foiled,
And yet unconquered still;
And soon the Bruce, with eager eye,
Saw him prepare once more to try
His courage, strength, and skill.

One effort more, his seventh and last!
The hero hailed the sign!
And on the wished-for beam hung fast
That slender, silken line;
Slight as it was, his spirit caught
The more than omen, for his thought
The lesson well could trace,
Which even 'he who runs may read,'
That Perseverance gains its meed,
And Patience wins the race.

1 comment:

  1. Am really enjoying your spider poems. The idea of Robert the Bruce learning from a spider has much appeal. It occurs to me that as humans who mostly live in houses spiders have been our constant companions...not so much now perhaps when we live in more sealed environments and /or have repellants which discourage 8 legged creatures. What's not to admire about a spider really...and they do have this way of arriving out of nowhere on the end of a high wire. Imagine the fun of that from the human point of view! They're just not very cuddly...Getting carried away here as so pleased your comment box has arrived back!