Robert the Bruce To Douglas in Dying


'MY life is done, yet all remains,

The breath has gone, the image not,

The furious shapes once forged in

Live on though now no longer hot.'Steadily the shining

In order rise, in order fall,

In order on the beaten

The faithful trumpets call.'The women weeping for the

Are not sad now but dutiful,

The dead men stiffening in their

Proclaim the ancient rule.'Great Wallace's body hewn in four,

So altered, stays as it must be.0 Douglas do not leave me now,

For past your head I see'My dagger sheathed in Comyn's

And nothing there to praise or blame,

Nothing but order which must

Itself and still the same.'But that Christ hung upon the Cross,

Comyn would rot until time's

And bury my sin in boundless dust,

For there is no amend.'In order; yet in order

All things by unreturning ways,

If Christ live not, nothing is

For sorrow or for praise.'So the king spoke to Douglas onceA little while before his death,

Having outfaced three English

And kept a people's faith.

Taken from Collected Poems by Edwin Muir Published by Faber and Faber

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