Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Introductory to Spain
The Heart of King Robert Bruce
Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)
 
KING ROBERT bore with gasping breath
  The strife of mortal pain,
And, gathering round the couch of death,
  His nobles mourned in vain.
Bathed were his brows in chilling dew        5
  As thus he faintly cried,
“Red Comyn in his sins I slew
  At the high altar’s side.
 
“For this a vow my soul hath bound
  In armed lists to ride,        10
A warrior to that Holy Ground
  Where my Redeemer died:
Lord James of Douglas, see! we part!
  I die before my time,
I charge thee bear this pulseless heart        15
  A pilgrim to that clime.”
 
He ceased, for lo! in close pursuit,
  With fierce and fatal strife,
He came, who treads with icy foot
  Upon the lamp of life.        20
The brave Earl Douglas, trained to meet
  Dangers and perils wild,
Now kneeling at his sovereign’s feet
  Wept as a weaned child.
 
Beneath Dunfirmline’s hallowed nave,        25
  Enwrapt in cloth of gold,
The Bruce’s relics found a grave
  Deep in their native mould;
But locked within its silver vase,
  Next to Lord James’s breast,        30
His heart went journeying on apace,
  In Palestine to rest.
 
While many a noble Scottish knight,
  With sable shield and plume,
Rode as its guard in armor bright        35
  To kiss their Saviour’s tomb.
As on the scenery of Spain
  They bent a traveller’s eye,
Forth came in bold and glorious train,
  Her flower of chivalry.        40
 
Led by Alphonso ’gainst the Moor,
  They came in proud array,
And set their serried phalanx sure
  To bide the battle-fray.
“God save ye now, ye gallant band        45
  Of Scottish warriors true,
Good service for the Holy Land
  Ye on this field may do.”
 
So with the cavalry of Spain
  In brother’s grasp they closed,        50
And the grim Saracen in vain
  Their blended might opposed;
But Douglas, with his falcon-glance
  O’erlooking crest and spear,
Saw brave St. Clair with broken lance,        55
  That friend from childhood dear.
 
He saw him by a thousand foes
  Opprest and overborne,
And high the blast of rescue rose
  From his good bugle-horn;        60
And reckless of the Moorish spears
  In bristling ranks around,
His monarch’s heart oft steeped in tears
  He from his neck unbound,
 
And flung it toward the battle front,        65
  And cried with panting breath,
“Pass first, my liege, as thou wert wont,—
  I follow thee to death.”
Stern Osmyn’s sword was dire that day,
  And keen the Moorish dart,        70
And there Earl Douglas bleeding lay
  Beside the Bruce’s heart.
 
Embalmed with Scotland’s flowing tears,
  That peerless champion fell,
And still the lyre to future years        75
  His glorious deeds shall tell.
The “good Lord James” that honored name
  Each Scottish babe shall call,
And all who love the Bruce’s fame
  Shall mourn the Douglas’ fall.        80
 
 
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