Friday, June 24, 2011

perseverance gains its meed, and patience wins the race

walking down the dark back streets of redfern the other night i spied through my little eye...

 this lone skater in a gallery doing tricks. 

sometimes he failed. over and over again.

but he'd pick himself [and his skateboard] up and steadfastly resume.

skateboarding, like many things, reminds me of the famous tale of the legendary scottish king robert bruce which has been immersed in scottish popular culture. spawning a mantra which traverses many disciplines:

"if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again."

legend has it that robert bruce whilst in hiding from british troops watched a spider try & fail six times before successfully completing her artful web. re-inspired, licking his deep battle wounds he regrouped & went on to conquer england & claim the crown.

Bruce and the Spider

For Scotland's and for freedom's right, 
   The Bruce his part has played; 
In five successive fields of fight, 
    Been conquered and dismayed: 
Once more against the English host, 
    His band he led, and once more lost 
The meed for which he fought; 
    And now from battle, faint and worn, 
The homeless fugitive, forlorn, 
    A hut's lone shelter sought.
And cheerless was that resting-place, 
    For him who claimed a throne; 
His canopy, devoid of grace, 
    The rude, rough beams alone; 
The heather couch his only bed - 
    Yet well I ween had slumber fled, 
From couch of eider down! 
    Through darksome night till dawn of day, 
Absorbed in wakeful thought he lay, 
    Of Scotland and her crown.

The sun rose brightly, and its gleam 
    Fell on that hapless bed, 
And tinged with light each shapeless beam, 
    Which roofed the lowly shed; 
When, looking up with wistful eye, 
    The Bruce beheld a spider try 
His filmy thread to fling 
    From beam to beam of that rude cot - 
And well the insect's toilsome lot, 
    Taught Scotland's future king.

Six times the gossamery thread 
    The wary spider threw; 
In vain the filmy line was sped, 
    For powerless or untrue, 
Each aim appeared, and back recoiled, 
    The patient insect, six times foiled, 
And yet unconquered still; 
    And soon the Bruce, with eager eye, 
Saw him prepare once more to try 
    His courage, strength, and skill.

One effort more, his seventh and last! 
    The hero hailed the sign! 
And on the wished-for beam hung fast 
    That slender silken line! 
Slight as it was, his spirit caught 
    The more than omen; for his thought 
The lesson well could trace, 
    Which even "he who runs may read," 
That Perseverance gains its meed, 
    And Patience wins the race. 

- Bernard Barton (1784 - 1849)

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