Lives There the Man

after “Breathes There a Man with Soul so Dead” by Sir Walter Scott*

by Roy E. Peterson

Lives there the man who won’t defend
His hearth and home from whom intend
To quench his fire and steal his goods,
And leave him starving in the woods.

Who won’t protect his family,
And doesn’t learn from history?
Who won’t stand proud with Patriot band,
Defend his own, his native land?

Who fails to stand for what is right,
And runs away into the night?
Who prays to God, “Thy will be done;
Don’t bother me I’m having fun?”

This coward mark and study well;
He sold his soul and lives in hell.
For Satan surely turned his head,
And now he’s dwelling with the dead.

His eyes are cold; his words untrue;
A liar, thief, and beggar too.
For such as he there is no pride.
Friends and enemies both deride.

It matters not how rich in wealth,
The wretch can only think of self.
While others steal his life away,
The fool has nothing left to say.

It matters not how high his tower,
Titles, wealth, or living power.
His corpse will die and turn to dust.
The final setting that is just.

A coffin in a cemetery,
While those he knew are making merry.
Despite the things that he could claim,
He lived for nothing, died for same.

Now who for him will weep or care
That he resides in coffin there?
No bugle taps; no honor said;
Just pour the earth upon his head.



*Breathes There a Man with Soul So Dead

by Sir Walter Scott

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.



Roy E. Peterson is a writer and former U.S. military army intelligence officer who currently resides in Texas. 

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13 Responses

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    Thank you for this moving poem, Roy; and thank you for your service to our country.

  2. Sally Cook

    Dear Roy —
    Thank you for expressing thoughts most would have expressed just a short time ago.
    Your poem is both graceful and strong.
    Hope to see more.

  3. Paul Freeman

    When the faeces hits the fan,
    We learn who truly is a man.
    To stand upon the rampart walls
    Outnumbered and outgunned takes… courage.

    Thanks for the read, Roy. And for that memorable scene from ‘Patton’, Evan.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Roy, “Lives there The Man” is a beautifully wrought poem that depicts an attitude that chills me to the bone, especially in the lines: “While others steal his life away,/The fool has nothing left to say.” This says everything about our modern era, where people no longer know the meaning of the word freedom… I fear they’re just about to find out. Thank you for your service and thank you for your fine poem.

  5. Yael

    Great poem, and so true. Thanks for the good reads, I enjoyed both of them.

  6. Jeff Eardley

    The two poems bounce off each other superbly. I had the Beatles “Nowhere man” rattling round in my head whilst reading them. Most enjoyable Roy. Thank you.

  7. C.B. Anderson

    There are a few of those, and then there are the rest of us. You would know better than I would, considering your background, but I don’t expect, and I wouldn’t expect you to expect that the future of our nation will be bright and rosy. Our education system is now little more than a means of indoctrination whereby snowflakes are taught to capitulate to everything the Left holds dear. The great heroes are dead and gone, and now we wonder whether there is anyone left who will stand up, much less stand tall. It’s a pity that anyone with an ounce of spine would accept pity as an acceptable outcome. You’ve said so much here, and may it be true that there are still enough left with the ability to hear the message that you and Sir Walter have delivered.

  8. Patrick J Hanna

    Just excellent, bravissimo. My father was an Army “Lifer,” and served 30 years. I wish he was alive to read this.


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