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Remembering Rudyard Kipling
(December 30, 1865-January 18, 1936)

Phil Eiger Newmann, Kipling, 2020.

3,244 words

Nobel Prize-winning poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling was born on this day in 1865. For an introduction to his life and works, see the following articles on this site.

The Pierce article also contains a number of Kipling’s best poems.

An additional selection is found below. Please post your favorite Kipling poems and quotes in the comments section below.

If–

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy — willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low.
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddently bred.
It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.

The White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden —
Send forth the best ye breed —
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild —
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden —
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden —
The savage wars of peace —
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden —
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper —
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden —
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard —
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden —
Ye dare not stoop to less —
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden —
Have done with childish days —
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

The Female of the Species

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale —
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations — worm and savage otherwise, —
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger — Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue — to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity — must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions — not in these her honour dwells —
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions — in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! —
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges — even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons — even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish — like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice — which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern — shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Dane-Geld
A.D. 980-1016

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”

The Conundrum of the Workshops

When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mold;
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”

Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion his work anew—
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;
And he left his lore to the use of his sons—and that was a glorious gain
When the Devil chuckled: “Is it Art?” in the ear of the branded Cain.

They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: “It’s striking, but is it Art?”
The stone was dropped by the quarry-side, and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of art, and each in an alien tongue.

They fought and they talked in the north and the south, they talked and they fought in the west,
Till the waters rose on the jabbering land, and the poor Red Clay had rest—
Had rest till the dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: “It’s human, but is it Art?”

The tale is old as the Eden Tree—as new as the new-cut tooth—
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: “You did it, but was it Art?”

We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk of an addled egg,
We know that the tail must wag the dog, as the horse is drawn by the cart;
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: “It’s clever, but is it Art?”

When the flicker of London’s sun falls faint on the club-room’s green and gold,
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mold—
They scratch with their pens in the mold of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start
When the Devil mutters behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it art?”

Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the four great rivers flow,
And the wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept, and softly scurry through,
By the favor of God we might know as much—as our father Adam knew.

The Song of the Fifth River

Where first by Eden Tree
The Four Great Rivers ran,
To each was appointed a Man
Her Prince and Ruler to be.

But after this was ordained
(The ancient legends’ tell),
There came dark Israel,
For whom no River remained.

Then He Whom the Rivers obey
Said to him: “Fling on the ground
A handful of yellow clay,
And a Fifth Great River shall run,
Mightier than these Four,
In secret the Earth around;
And Her secret evermore,
Shall be shown to thee and thy Race.”

So it was said and done.
And, deep in the veins of Earth,
And, fed by a thousand springs
That comfort the market-place,
Or sap the power of King,
The Fifth Great River had birth,
Even as it was foretold–
The Secret River of Gold!

And Israel laid down
His sceptre and his crown,
To brood on that River bank
Where the waters flashed and sank
And burrowed in earth and fell
And bided a season below,
For reason that none might know,
Save only Israel

He is Lord of the Last–
The Fifth, most wonderful, Flood.
He hears Her thunder past
And Her Song is in his blood.
He can foresay: “She will fall,”
For he knows which fountain dries
Behind which desert-belt
A thousand leagues to the South.

He can foresay: “She will rise.”
He knows what far snows melt
Along what mountain-wall
A thousand leagues to the North,
He snuffs the coming drouth
As he snuffs the coming rain,
He knows what each will bring forth,
And turns it to his gain.

A Ruler without a Throne,
A Prince without a Sword,
Israel follows his quest.
In every land a guest,
Of many lands a lord,
In no land King is he.
But the Fifth Great River keeps
The secret of Her deeps
For Israel alone,
As it was ordered to be.

My Father’s Chair

There are four good legs to my Father’s Chair–
Priests and People and Lords and Crown.
I sits on all of ’em fair and square,
And that is reason it don’t break down.

I won’t trust one leg, nor two, nor three,
To carry my weight when I sets me down.
I wants all four of ’em under me–
Priests and People and Lords and Crown.

I sits on all four and favours none–
Priests, nor People, nor Lords, nor Crown:
And I never tilts in my chair, my son,
And that is the reason it don’t break down.

When your time comes to sit in my Chair,
Remember your Father’s habits and rules,
Sit on all four legs, fair and square,
And never be tempted by one-legged stools!

A Song of the White Men

Now, this is the cup the White Men drink
When they go to right a wrong,
And that is the cup of the old world’s hate–
Cruel and strained and strong.
We have drunk that cup–and a bitter, bitter cup–
And tossed the dregs away.
But well for the world when the White Men drink
To the dawn of the White Man’s day!

Now, this is the road that the White Men tread
When they go to clean a land–
Iron underfoot and levin overhead
And the deep on either hand.
We have trod that road–and a wet and windy road–
Our chosen star for guide.
Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread
Their highway side by side!

Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold
When they build their homes afar–
“Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons
And, failing freedom, War.”
We have proved our faith–bear witness to our faith,
Dear souls of freemen slain!
Oh, well for the world when the White Men join
To prove their faith again!

 

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13 Comments

  1. Autobot
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    My personal favorite is Song of the Banjo, which is lengthy so I won’t repost it here. An ode to second rate things, it falls into a tradition of poems written in trochaic pindarics, trochaic lines of variable length, as the lines of Pindar, which form is usually used to celebrate a musical instrument, as in Poe’s The Bells, which initiated it I think, another genius, The Barrel Organ, another fave, the Congo by Vachel Lindsay, about a famously musical people in this instance. I should attempt a short one maybe, about the recorder perhaps; hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot hoot!

    Kipling=genius

  2. Keith_SA
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    THE STRANGER
    by Rudyard Kipling

    The Stranger within my gate,
    He may be true or kind,
    But he does not talk my talk–
    I cannot feel his mind.
    I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
    But not the soul behind.

    The men of my own stock,
    They may do ill or well,
    But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
    They are used to the lies I tell;
    And we do not need interpreters
    When we go to buy or sell.

    The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
    But I cannot tell what powers control–
    What reasons sway his mood;
    Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.

    The men of my own stock,
    Bitter bad they may be,
    But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
    And see the things I see;
    And whatever I think of them and their likes
    They think of the likes of me.

    This was my father’s belief
    And this is also mine:
    Let the corn be all one sheaf–
    And the grapes be all one vine,
    Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
    By bitter bread and wine.

    • Autobot
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Hooo, good good

  3. Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    So-oldier of the Queen!

  4. Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,
    Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;
    And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
    Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, “It’s pretty, but is it Art ?”

  5. Andrew Hamilton
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    A Note on “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon”:

    The real title of this poem as Kipling wrote it is “The Beginnings,” not “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon.” Everything else is the same, except Kipling wrote “English” where this version says “Saxon.” http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_beginnings.htm

    The poem was motivated by Kipling’s intense anti-German prejudice; the hatred he’s referring to is hatred of WWI Germany.

    You can read about this in Wikipedia’s article “The Beginnings”: “A modified version of the poem, in which ‘Saxon’ has substituted ‘English’ and the poem retitled: ‘The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon’, has been widely circulated on the internet, often attributed to Kipling and without acknowledging the change from the poem Kipling wrote.”

    Surprisingly, given the source, this is both accurate and restrained. Most online sites (that is, those findable through the narrow aperture of Google’s dishonest search engine) state that “white supremacists” altered the poem, presumably to play down its anti-Germanism.

    I’ve seen no evidence showing who originally made the change, or when it happened. I suppose pro-whites could be responsible.

    I own a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive Edition (1940), so I do know that the original version was called “The Beginnings” and used the word “English,” not “Saxon.” That version has the advantage of being . . . accurate.

    Once written, a poem can carry meanings beyond what the author originally intended. They become “things in themselves.” To me, and others, “The Beginnings” is such a poem. I frankly don’t care what the ruling class thinks about the altered interpretation.

  6. Right_On
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    “I won’t trust one leg, nor two, nor three,
    To carry my weight when I sets me down
    . . .
    And I never tilts in my chair, my son”
    Four legs add strength but, funnily enough, a 3-legged stool is more stable than one with 4 legs. (The three end-points will always be in the same plane.) But yes, four legs good, two legs bad.

    My father used to have a pre-war complete set of Kipling’s books with swastikas on their spines. Don’t know what happened to them but they’d be worth a fair bit today.
    Kipling stopped using the symbol when you-know-who adopted it.

    There are too many good ‘uns to pick a favourite but Keith_SA’s choice of “The Stranger” is painfully relevant.

  7. Autobot
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    The caring is revealed in ones response to a Kipling poem. You can make totally different selections of his poetry, each much as good as the other, with little overlap between them. With few other poets is this possible. Each poem reveals a deep psychic wound in the reader!

  8. KatS
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, it has to be “The Ballad of the King’s Jest”:

    WHEN spring-time flushes the desert grass,
    Our kafilas wind through the Khyber Pass.
    Lean are the camels but fat the frails,
    Light are the purses but heavy the bales,
    As the snowbound trade of the North comes down
    To the market-square of Peshawur town.
    In a turquoise twilight, crisp and chill,
    A kafila camped at the foot of the hill.
    Then blue smoke-haze of the cooking rose,
    And tent-peg answered to hammer-nose;
    And the picketed ponies, shag and wild,
    Strained at their ropes as the feed was piled;
    And the bubbling camels beside the load
    Sprawled for a furlong adown the road;
    And the Persian pussy-cats, brought for sale,
    Spat at the dogs from the camel-bale;
    And the tribesmen bellowed to hasten the food;
    And the camp-fires twinkled by Fort Jumrood;
    And there fled on the wings of the gathering dusk
    A savour of camels and carpets and musk,
    A murmur of voices, a reek of smoke,
    To tell us the trade of the Khyber woke.

    The lid of the flesh-pot chattered high,
    The knives were whetted and—then came I
    To Mahbub Ali the muleteer,
    Patching his bridles and counting his gear,
    Crammed with the gossip of half a year.
    But Mahbub Ali the kindly said,
    “Better is speech when the belly is fed.”
    So we plunged the hand to the mid-wrist deep
    In a cinnamon stew of the fat-tailed sheep,
    And he who never hath tasted the food,
    By Allah! he knoweth not bad from good.
    We cleansed our beards of the mutton-grease,
    We lay on the mats and were filled with peace,
    And the talk slid north, and the talk slid south,
    With the sliding puffs from the hookah-mouth.

    Four things greater than all things are,—
    Women and Horses and Power and War.
    We spake of them all, but the last the most,
    For I sought a word of a Russian post,
    Of a shifty promise, an unsheathed sword
    And a gray-coat guard on the Helmund ford.
    Then Mahbub Ali lowered his eyes
    In the fashion of one who is weaving lies.
    Quoth he: “Of the Russians who can say?
    “When the night is gathering all is gray.
    “But we look that the gloom of the night shall die
    “In the morning flush of a blood-red sky.
    “Friend of my heart, is it meet or wise
    “To warn a King of his enemies?
    “We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
    “But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
    “That unsought counsel is cursed of God
    “Attesteth the story of Wali Dad.

    “His sire was leaky of tongue and pen,
    “His dam was a clucking Khuttuck hen;
    “And the colt bred close to the vice of each,
    “For he carried the curse of an unstanched speech.
    “Therewith madness—so that he sought
    “The favour of kings at the Kabul court;
    “And travelled, in hope of honour, far
    “To the line where the gray-coat squadrons are.
    “There have I journeyed too—but I
    “Saw naught, said naught, and—did not die!
    “He hearked to rumour, and snatched at a breath
    “Of ‘this one knoweth’ and ‘that one saith’,—
    “Legends that ran from mouth to mouth
    “Of a gray-coat coming, and sack of the South.
    “These have I also heard—they pass
    “With each new spring and the winter grass.

    “Hot-foot southward, forgotten of God,
    “Back to the city ran Wali Dad,
    “Even to Kabul—in full durbar
    “The King held talk with his Chief in War.
    “Into the press of the crowd he broke,
    “And what he had heard of the coming spoke.
    “Then Gholam Hyder, the Red Chief, smiled,
    “As a mother might on a babbling child;
    “But those who would laugh restrained their breath,
    “When the face of the King showed dark as death.
    “Evil it is in full durbar
    “To cry to a ruler of gathering war!
    “Slowly he led to a peach-tree small,
    “That grew by a cleft of the city wall.
    “And he said to the boy: ‘They shall praise thy zeal
    “So long as the red spurt follows the steel.
    “And the Russ is upon us even now?
    “Great is thy prudence—await them, thou.
    “Watch from the tree. Thou art young and strong,
    “Surely thy vigil is not for long.
    “The Russ is upon us, thy clamour ran?
    “Surely an hour shall bring their van.
    “Shout aloud that my men may hear.’

    “Friend of my heart, is it meet or wise
    “To warn a King of his enemies?
    “A guard was set that he might not flee—
    “A score of bayonets ringed the tree.
    “The peach-bloom fell in showers of snow,
    “When he shook at his death as he looked below.
    “By the power of God, who alone is great,
    “Till the seventh day he fought with his fate.
    “Then madness took him, and men declare
    “He mowed in the branches as ape and bear,
    “And last as a sloth, ere his body failed,
    “And he hung as a bat in the forks, and wailed,
    “And sleep the cord of his hands untied,
    “And he fell, and was caught on the points and died.

    “Heart of my heart, is it meet or wise
    “To warn a King of his enemies?
    “We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
    “But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
    “Of the gray-coat coming who can say?
    “When the night is gathering all is gray.
    “Two things greater than all things are,
    “The first is Love, and the second War.
    “And since we know not how War may prove,
    “Heart of my heart, let us talk of Love!”

  9. spin gerahat
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Johnson
    It was an honor to break bread with you several years ago. Thank you for all you do.

  10. Captain John Charity Spring MA
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Females are the real Eugenicists.

  11. gkruz
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    The White Man’s Burden, as defined by Kipling, the extension of British imperialism to elevate and benefit the benighted but still somehow worthy Little Brown Brother is exactly what brought us to our current dispossessed state.
    As for the “Awakened Saxon” poem, it implies that the Brits are gentle, well-meaning, easy-going decent chaps that won’t respond with violence until pushed beyond their limits and then, by God!, watch out. In reality, the Brits never needed to be provoked to unleash righteous violence on their targets, they usually were the aggressors.

  12. The Osprey
    Posted January 3, 2021 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m fond of his ode to the Boers, Britain’s opponent in South Africa, “Piet”.

    An’ then there’s Piet
    Be’ind ‘is stony kop
    With ‘is Boer bread and biltong
    An’ ‘is flask of awful dop
    ‘is Mauser for amusement
    An’ ‘is pony for retreat
    I’ve met a lot of fellers
    Shoot a damn sight worse than Piet

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