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Speed hence, my liege, for on your trace
The fiery Douglas takes the chase,

I know his banner well.
God send my sovereign joy and bliss,
And many a happier field than this :—

Once more, my liege, farewell!"

Again he faced the battle-field,— Wildly they fly, are slain, or yield. "Now then," he said, and couched his spear, "My course is run :—the goal is near One effort more, one brave career,

Must close this race of mine!" Then in his stirrups rising high, He shouted loud his battle-cry,

"Saint James for Argentine!"

And, of the bold pursuers, four
The gallant knight from saddle bore;
But not unharmed—a lance's point
Has found his breast-plate's loosen'd joint,

An axe has razed his crest:
But still on Colonsay's fierce lord,
Who pressed the chase with gory sword,

He rode with spear in rest,
And through his bloody tartans bored,

And through his gallant breast.
Nailed to the earth, the mountaineer
Yet writhed him up against the spear,

And swung his broad-sword round! —Stirrup, steel-boot, and cuish gave way Beneath that blow's tremendous sway,—

The blood gushed from the wound; And the grim Lord of Oolonsay

Hath turned him on the ground.
And laughed in death-pang, that his blade
The mortal thrust so well repaid!

Now toiled the Bruce, the battle done,
To use his conquest boldly won;

And gave command for horse and spear
To press the Southron's scattered rear,
Nor let his broken force combine,
—When the war-cry of Argentine

Fell faintly on his ear!
"Save, save his life!" he cried; "Oh! save
The kind, the noble, and the brave!"
The squadrons round free passage gave;

The wounded knight drew near.
He raised his red-cross shield no more;
Helm, cuish, and breast-plate, streamed with gore;
Yet, as he saw the king advance,
He strove, even then, to couch his lance :—

The effort was in vain!
The spur-stroke failed to rouse the horse;
Wounded and weary, in mid course

He stumbled on the plain.
Then foremost was the generous Bruce
To raise his head, his helm to loose :—

"Lord Earl, the day is thine!
My sovereign's charge, and adverse fate,
Have made our meeting all too late:

Yet this may Argentine,
As boon from ancient comrade, crave—
A Christian's mass, a soldier's grave."

Bruce pressed his dying hand:—its grasp
Kindly replied; but in his clasp

It stiffened and grew cold;—
And, "Oh! farewell!" the victor cried,
"Of chivalry the flower and pride,

The arm in battle bold,
The courteous mien, the noble race,
The stainless faith, the manly face !—
Bid Ninian's convent light their shrine,
For late-wake of De Argentine.
O'er better knight, on death-bier laid,
Torch never gleamed, nor mass was said!"


O Hard condition, twin-born with greatness,

Subject to the breath of every fool,

Whose sense no more can feel but his own wringing!

What infinite heart's-ease must kings neglect,

That private men enjoy!

And what have kings that privates have not too,

Save ceremony, save general ceremony 1

And what art thou, thou idol ceremony 1

What kind of god art thou, that sufFrest more

Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers t

What are thy rents 1 what are thy comings in 1

O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of adoration 1

Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,

Creating awe and fear in other men 1

Wherein thou art less happy being feared

Than they in fearing.

What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,

But poisoned flattery? Oh, be sick, great greatness,

And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!

Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out

With titles blown from adulation 1

Will it give place to flexure and low bending 1

Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,

Command the health of it i No, thou proud dream,

That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;

1 am a king that find thee; and I know
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The inter-tissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,—
No, not all these, thrice gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these laid in bed majestical,

Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,

Who, with a body filled, and vacant mind,

Gets him to rest, crammed with distressful bread:

Never sees horrid Night, the child of Hell;
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise, and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.



This man's brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witnessed usurpation.

Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him half his Troy was burned-
* # * #

I see a strange confession in thine eye:
Thou shak'st thine head, and hold'st it fear or sin
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so:
The tongue offends not that reports his death;
And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
Not he which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remembered tolling a departing friend.



No matter where; of comfort no man speak:

Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,

Let's choose executors, and talk of wills:

And yet not so,—for what can we bequeath,

Save our deposed bodies to the ground?

Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's,

And nothing can we call our own but death,

And that small model of the barren earth

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

For Heaven's sake let us sit upon the ground,

And tell sad stories of the death of kings:—

How some have been deposed; some slain in war;

Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;

Some poisoned by their wives; some sleeping killed ;

All murdered: for within the hollow crown

That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Keeps Death his court; and there the antic sits,

Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp;

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,

To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks;

Infusing him with self and vain conceit,—

As if this flesh, which walls about our life,

Were brass impregnable; and humoured thus,

Comes at the last, and with a little pin

Bores through his castle wall, and—farewell king!

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood

With solemn reverence: throw away respect,

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,

For you have but mistook me all this while:

I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief,

Need friends: subjected thus,

How can you say to me I am a king?


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