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Rudyard kipling

Rudyard Kipling

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
12

I’VE NEVER sailed the Amazon,
I’ve never reached Brazil;
But the Don and Magdalena,
They can go there when they will!

   Yes, weekly from Southampton,
   Great steamers, white and gold,
   Go rolling down to Rio
   (Roll down—roll down to Rio!)
   And I’d like to roll to Rio
   Some day before I’m old!

I’ve never seen a Jaguar,
 Nor yet an Armadill
O dilloing in his armour,
And I s’pose I never will,

   Unless I go to Rio
   These wonders to behold
   Roll down—roll down to Rio
   Roll really down to Rio!
   Oh, I’d love to roll to Rio
   Some day before I’m old!

THERE’S a pasture in a valley where the hanging woods divide,
And a Herd lies down and ruminates in peace;
Where the pheasant rules the nooning, and the owl the twilight tide,
And the war—cries of our world die out and cease.
Here I cast aside the burden that each weary week—day brings
And, delivered from the shadows I pursue,
On peaceful, postless, Sabbaths I consider Weighty Things
Such as Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

At the gate beside the river where the trouty shallows brawl,
I know the pride that Lobengula felt,
When he bade the bars be lowered of the Royal Cattle Kraal,
And fifteen miles of oxen took the veldt.
From the walls of Bulawayo in unbroken file they came
To where the Mount of Council cuts the blue . . .
I have only six and twenty, but the principle’s the same
With my Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

To a luscious sound of tearing, where the clovered herbage rips,
Level—backed and level—bellied watch 'em move.
See those shoulders, guess that heart—girth, praise those loins, admire those hips,
And the tail set low for flesh to make above!
Count the broad unblemished muzzles, test the kindly mellow skin
And, where yon heifer lifts her head at call,
Mark the bosom’s just abundance 'neath the gay and cleancut chin,
And those eyes of Juno, overlooking all!

Here is colour, form and substance, I will put it to the proof
And, next season, in my lodges shall be born
Some very Bull of Mithras, flawless from his agate hoof
To his even—branching ivory, dusk—tipped horn.
He shall mate with block—square virgins —kings shall seek his like in vain,
While I multiply his stock a thousandfold,
Till an hungry world extol me, builder of a lofty strain
That turns one standard ton at two years old.

There’s a valley, under oakwood, where a man may dream his dream,
In the milky breath of cattle laid at ease,
Till the moon o’ertops the alders, and her image chills the stream,
And the river—mist runs silver round their knees!
Now the footpaths fade and vanish; now the ferny clumps deceive;
Now the hedgerow—folk possess their fields anew;
Now the Herd is lost in darkness, and I bless them as I leave,
My Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

           (Ben Jonson)

Love’s fiery chariot, Delia, take
Which Vulcan wrought for Venus’ sake.
Wings shall not waft thee, but a flame
Hot as my heart—as nobly tame:
Lit by a spark, less bright, more wise
Than linked lightnings of thine eyes!
Seated and ready to be drawn  
Come not in muslins, lace or lawn,
But, for thy thrice imperial worth,
Take all the sables of the North,
With frozen diamonds belted on,
To face extreme Euroclydon!
Thus in our thund’ring toy we’ll prove
Which is more blind, the Law or Love;
And may the jealous Gods prevent
Our fierce and uncontrouled descent!

BLESSÈD was our first age and morning—time. Then were no waies tarren, ne no cars numberen, but each followed his owne playinge—busyness to go about singly or by large interspaces, for to leden his viage after his luste and layen under clene hedge. Jangling there was not, nor the overtaking wheele, and all those now cruel clarions were full—hushed and full—still. Then nobile horses, lest they should make the chariots moveable to run by cause of this new feare, we did not press, and were apayed by sweete thankes of him that drave. There was not cursings ne adventure of death blinded bankes betweene, but good—fellowship of yoke—mates at ignorance equal, and a one pillar of dust covered all exodus . . . . But, see now how the blacke road hath strippen herself of hearte and beauty where the dumbe lampe of Tartarus winketh red, etc.

What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in—
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you—
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters.
You steal away to the lapping waters,
And look at your ship in her winter-quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow,
And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow,
Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is Woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

1

BEYOND the path of the outmost sun, through utter darkness hurled—
Further than ever comet flared or vagrant star dust swirled—
Live such as sailed and fought and ruled and loved and made our world.

They are purged of pride because they died, they know the worth of their bays;
They sit at wine with the Maidens Nine and the Gods of the Elder Days;
It is their will to serve or be still as fitteth Our Father’s praise.

'Tis theirs to sweep through Azrael’s keep, where the clanging legions are,
To buffet a path through the Pit’s red wrath when God goes forth to war,
Or hang with the reckless Seraphim on the rein of a red—maned star.

They take their mirth in the joy of the Earth, they do not grieve for her pain;
They know of toil and the end of toil; they know God’s Law is plain;
So they whistle the Devil to make them sport who know that sin is vain.

And oft—times cometh our wise Lord God, Master of every trade,
And tells them tales of his daily toil, of Edens newly made;
And they rise to their feet as He passes by, gentlemen unafraid.

To those who are cleansed of black Desire, Sorrow, and Lust, and Shame—
Gods for they knew the heart of men, men for they stooped to Fame—
To these, a peer ‘mid his courtly peers, the Curate of Meudon came.

’ I have fished for frogs in the stagnant dark, and here is my catch ‘ quoth he,
’ The Soul of a little Lawyer Clerk that whines like an angry bee,
'Brethren all’ –and they saw it crawl in the open palm released –
‘ This bug hath flown from a New Sorbonne to call me a filthy priest.

’ Yea, it must turn to a guild to learn the nature of right and wrong,
And wear its Soul at its buttonhole, and finger it all day long,
And lose its Soul if a gypsy troll the catch of a lewd old song. '

He flipped the Blind bug into the dark, and grinned Gargantua’s grin:
The Great Gods heaved them back, and laughed till Heaven shook to the din —
And O, to have heard the Great Gods laugh, I had sinned the Blind Bug’s sin.

WE KNOW the Rocket’s upward whizz;
We know the Boom before the Bust.
We know the whistling Wail which is
The Stick returning to the Dust.
We know how much to take on trust
Of any promised Paradise.
We know the Pie—likewise the Crust.
We know the Bonfire on the Ice.

We know the Mountain and the Mouse.
We know Great Cry and Little Wool.
We know the purseless Ears of Sows.
We know the Frog that aped the Bull.
We know, whatever Trick we pull,
(Ourselves have gambled once or twice)
A Bobtailed Flush is not a Full.
We know the Bonfire on the Ice.

We know that Ones and Ones make Twos—
Till Demos votes them Three or Nought.
We know the Fenris Wolf is loose.
 We know what Fight has not been fought.
We know the Father to the Thought
Which argues Babe and Cockatrice
Would play together, were they taught.
We know that Bonfire on the Ice.

We know that Thriving comes by Thrift.
We know the Key must keep the Door.
We know his Boot—straps cannot lift
The frightened Waster off the Floor.
We know these things, and we deplore
That not by any Artifice
Can they be altered. Furthermore
We know the Bonfires on the Ice!

Where the East wind is brewed fresh and fresh every morning,
  And the balmy night-breezes blow straight from the Pole,
I heard a Destroyer sing: “What an enjoya–
  ble life does one lead on the North Sea Patrol!

”To blow things to bits is our business ( and Fritz’s ),
  Which means there are mine-fields wherever you stroll.
Unless you’ve particular wish to die quick, you’ll a–
  void steering close to the North Sea Patrol.

“We warn from disaster the mercantile master
  Who takes in high Dudgeon our life-saving role,
For every one’s grousing at Docking and Dowsing
  The marks and the lights on the North Sea Patrol.”

         [Twelve verses omitted.]

So swept but surviving, half drowned but still driving
  I watched her head out through the swell off the shoal,
And I heard her propellers roar– “Write to poor fellers
  Who run such a Hell as the North Sea Patrol!”

So long as 'neath the Kalka hills
  The tonga-horn shall ring,
So long as down the Solon dip
  The hard-held ponies swing,
So long as Tara Devi sees
  The lights of Simla town,
So long as Pleasure calls us up,
  Or Duty drivese us down,
   If you love me as I love you
    What pair so happy as we two?

So long as Aces take the King,
  Or backers take the bet,
So long as debt leads men to wed,
  Or marriage leads to debt,
So long as little luncheons, Love,
  And scandal hold their vogue,
While there is sport at Annandale
  Or whisky at Jutogh,
   If you love me as I love you
    What knife can cut our love in two?

So long as down the rocking floor
  The raving polka spins,
So long as Kitchen Lancers spur
  The maddened violins,
So long as through the whirling smoke
  We hear the oft-told tale —
“Twelve hundred in the Lotteries,”
  And Whatshername for sale?
   If you love me as I love you
    We’ll play the game and win it too.

So long as Lust or Lucre tempt
  Straight riders from the course,
So long as with each drink we pour
  Black brewage of Remorse,
So long as those unloaded guns
  We keep beside the bed,
Blow off, by obvious accident,
  The lucky owner’s head,
   If you love me as I love you
    What can Life kill of Death undo?

So long as Death 'twixt dance and dance
  Chills best and bravest blood,
And drops the reckless rider down
  The rotten, rain-soaked khud,
So long as rumours from the North
  Make loving wives afraid,
So long as Burma takes the boy
  Or typhoid kills the maid,
   If you love me as I love you
    What knife can cut our love in two?

By all that lights our daily life
  Or works our lifelong woe,
From Boileaugunge to Simla Downs
  And those grim glades below,
Where, heedless of the flying hoof
  And clamour overhead,
Sleep, with the grey langur for guard
  Our very scornful Dead,
   If you love me as I love you
    All Earth is servant to us two!

By Docket, Billetdoux, and File,
  By Mountain, Cliff, and Fir,
By Fan and Sword and Office-box,
  By Corset, Plume, and Spur
By Riot, Revel, Waltz, and War,
  By Women, Work, and Bills,
By all the life that fizzes in
  The everlasting Hills,
    If you love me as I love you
    What pair so happy as we two?

WE thought we ranked above the chance of ill.
 Others might fall, not we, for we were wise—
Merchants in freedom. So, of our free—will
We let our servants drug our strength with lies.
The pleasure and the poison had its way
On us as on the meanest, till we learned
That he who lies will steal, who steals will slay.
Neither God’s judgment nor man’s heart was turned.

Yet there remains His Mercy—to be sought
Through wrath and peril till we cleanse the wrong
By that last right which our forefathers claimed
When their Law failed them and its stewards were bought.
This is our cause. God help us, and make strong
Our will to meet Him later, unashamed!

OUR Lord Who did the Ox command
 To kneel to Judah’s King,
He binds His frost upon the land,
To ripen it for spring—
To ripen it for spring, good sirs,
According to His Word—
Which well must be, as you can see—
And who shall judge the Lord?

When we poor fenners skate the ice
Or shiver on the wold,
We hear the cry of a single tree
That breaks her heart in the cold—
That breaks her heart in the cold, good sirs,
And rendeth by the board—
Which well must be, as you can see—
And who shall judge the Lord?

Her wood is crazed and little worth
Excepting as to burn,
So we may warm and make our mirth
Until the spring return—
Until the spring return, good sirs,
 When Christians walk abroad
Which well must be, as ye can see—
And who shall judge the Lord?

God bless the master of this house
And all who sleep therein
And guard the fens from pirate folk
And keep us from all sin!
To walk in honesty, good sirs,
Of thought and deed and word
Which shall befriend our latter end,
And who shall judge the Lord.

BENEATH the deep veranda’s shade,
When bats begin to fly,
I sit me down and watch—alas!—
 Another evening die.
Blood—red behind the sere ferash
 She rises through the haze.
Sainted Diana! can that be
The Moon of Other Days?

Ah! shade of little Kitty Smith,
 Sweet Saint of Kensington!
Say, was it ever thus at Home
The Moon of August shone,
When arm in arm we wandered long
 Through Putney’s evening haze,
And Hammersmith was Heaven beneath
The moon of Other Days?

But Wandle’s stream is Sutlej now,
And Putney’s evening haze
The dust that half a hundered kine
 Before my window raise.
Unkempt, unclean, athwart the mist
 The seething city looms,
In place of Putney’s golden gorse
 The sickly babul blooms.

Glare down, old Hecate, through the dust,
And bid the pie—dog yell,
Draw from the drain its typhoid—term,
 From each bazaar its smell;
Yea, suck the fever from the tank
 And sap my strength therewith:
Thank Heaven, you show a smiling face
 To little Kitty Smith!