Eliza Cook

King Bruce

King Bruce of Scotland flung himself down

In a lonely mood to think;

'Tis true he was monarch, and wore a crown,

But his heart was beginning to sink.

For he had been trying to do a great deed,

To make his people glad;

He had tried and tried, but couldn't succeed;

And so he became quite sad.

He flung himself down in low despair,

As grieved as man could be;

And after a while as he pondered there,

"I'll give it all up," said he.

Now, just at that moment, a spider dropped,

With its silken, filmy clue;

And the King, in the midst of his thinking, stopped

To see what the spider would do.

'Twas a long way up to the ceiling dome,

And it hung by a rope so fine,

That how it would get to its cobweb home

King Bruce could not divine.

It soon began to cling and crawl

Straight up, with strong endeavor;

But down it came with a slippery sprawl,

As near to the ground as ever.

Up, up it ran, not a second to stay,

To utter the least complaint,

Till it fell still lower, and there it lay,

A little dizzy and faint.

Its head grew steady—again it went,

And traveled a half yard higher;

'Twas a delicate thread it had to tread,

And a road where its feet would tire.

Again it fell and swung below,

But again it quickly mounted;

Till up and down, now fast, now slow,

Nine brave attempts were counted.

"Sure," cried the King, "that foolish thing

Will strive no more to climb;

When it toils so hard to reach and cling,

And tumbles every time."

But up the insect went once more;

Ah me! 'tis an anxious minute;

He's only a foot from his cobweb door,

Oh, say, will he lose or win it?

Steadily, steadily, inch by inch,

Higher and higher he got;

And a bold little run at the very last pinch

Put him into his native cot.

"Bravo, bravo!" the King cried out;

"All honor to those who try;

The spider up there, defied despair;

He conquered, and why shouldn't I?"

And Bruce of Scotland braced his mind,

And gossips tell the tale,

That he tried once more as he tried before,

And that time did not fail.

Pay goodly heed, all ye who read,

And beware of saying, "I can't";

'Tis a cowardly word, and apt to lead

To idleness, folly, and want.

Whenever you find your heart despair

Of doing some goodly thing,

Con over this strain, try bravely again,

And remember the spider and King!