By Eliza Cook
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 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 endeavour;
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 travelled 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 honour 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.