Manvotional: Opportunity by Edward Rowland Sill

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 15, 2010 · 11 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals


By Edward Rowland Sill

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king’s son bears,-but this
Blunt thing-!” he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jake McP August 15, 2010 at 1:59 am

Exquisite. Sill is very good.

2 Dave Lewis August 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

I memorized that back in 7th grade (1964). Today you wouldn’t be allowed to read the poem to yourself or even think about it (and that’s probably coming). Why? It tells of a prince – not democratically elected and obviously a member of an evil ruling class. The prince is engaged in a battle and did not take the time to reach out to and negotiate with his enemies. Instead the prince glorified violence. The hero of the story, a fellow named Craven, showed that he was too proud to fight and quickly voted with his feet in order to go home to booze and babes. In the last couple of lines the evil prince snatches up the illegal discarded M-16 assault sword and slaughters his enemies who were probably members of minority and otherwise disadvantaged groups.

3 Michael August 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

Oh yeah, well I know all the words to Kumbaya.
All nine of them.

4 Derrick August 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm

By George, you hit the nail square on the head Dave!

5 Josh August 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Princes should know better…always carry a spare sword.

6 Brucifer August 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm

aside from opportunity, the moral of the story of course = is it not the weapon, but the wielder.

what’s the saying? ,,,,, amateurs discuss caliber, magazine capacity and stopping power, …. professionals discuss tactics.

But yeah Dave, roger that.

7 Alexander August 15, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Very nice poem. Had to reread it twice to get the full message.

Didn’t know that craven means a coward. I required the assistance of a dictionary to learn that.

8 Jason Gekeler August 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I asked my 14 year old son if he understood the meaning of the poem. He replied, “Of course dad. It’s about the man, not the sword.”

I have to say I am proud of that boy.

9 G2Guitars August 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

A sword does not a man make.

10 matt August 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Memorized this 15 years ago in junior high and its probably the only poem I can still recite from memory

11 manly mike December 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

im going over this poem right now and im in 7th grade and i love it [ a manly kinda love]

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