Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown'?
The expression 'uneasy lies the head that wears a crown' means that a person with great power, such as a king, is constantly apprehensive.
The phrase is sometimes used as 'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown'. That's not the original Shakesperian line but it has the same meaning.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown'?
'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown' comes from Shakespeare's Henry IV. Part II, 1597.
KING HENRY IV:
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
In this piece Henry is bemoaning his position as king in that he, unlike even the most humble cabin-boy, cannot find a moments peace and repose.