Robert Frost

In Equal Sacrifice

Thus of old the Douglas did: He left his land as he was bid With the royal heart of Robert the Bruce In a golden case with a golden lid, To carry the same to the Holy Land; By which we see and understand That that was the place to carry a heart At loyalty and love’s command, And that was the case to carry it in. The Douglas had not far to win Before he came to the land of Spain, Where long a holy war had been Against the too-victorious Moor; And there his courage could not endure Not to strike a blow for God Before he made his errand sure. And ever it was intended so, That a man for God should strike a blow, No matter the heart he has in charge For the Holy Land where hearts should go. But when in battle the foe were met, The Douglas found him sore beset, With only strength of the fighting arm For one more battle passage yet- And that as vain to save the day As bring his body safe away- Only a signal deed to do And a last sounding word to say. The heart he wore in a golden chain He swung and flung forth into the plain, And followed it crying ‘Heart or death!’ And fighting over it perished fain. So may another do of right, Give a heart to the hopeless fight, The more of right the more he loves; So may another redouble might For a few swift gleams of the angry brand, Scorning greatly not to demand In equal sacrifice with his The heart he bore to the Holy Land.