The Glories of our Blood and State

The glories of our blood and state
  Are shadows, not substantial things;
  There is no armour against fate;
  Death lays his icy hand on kings.
  Sceptre and crown
  Must tumble down,
  And in the dust be equal made
  With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

  Some men with swords may reap the field,
  And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
  But their strong nerves at last must yield,
  They tame but one another still.
  Early or late,
  They stoop to fate,
  And must give up their murmuring breath,
  When they, pale captives, creep to death.

  The garlands wither on your brow,
  Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
  Upon death's purple altar now,
  See where the victor-victim bleeds.
  Your heads must come
  To the cold tomb;
  Only the actions of the just
  Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

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"The Glories of our Blood and State" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/20502/the-glories-of-our-blood-and-state>.

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