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Rudyard kipling

Rudyard Kipling

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
11

LONG years ago, ere R—lls or R—ce
 Trebled the mileage man could cover;
When Sh—nks’s Mare was H—bs—n’s Choice,
 And Bl—r—ot had not flown to Dover
When good hoteliers looked askance
 If any power save horse—flesh drew vans—
’Time was in easy, hand—made France,
 I met the Curé of Saint Juvans.

He was no babbler, but, at last,
 One learned from things he left unspoken
How in some fiery, far—off past,
 His, and a woman’s, heart were broken.
He sought for death, but found it not,
 Yet, seeking, found his true vocation,
And fifty years, by all forgot,
 Toiled at a simple folks’ salvation.

His pay was lower than our Dole;
 The piteous little church he tended
Had neither roof nor vestments whole
 Save what his own hard fingers mended
While, any hour, at every need
 (As Conscience or La Grippe assailed ’em),
His parish bade him come with speed,
 And, foot or cart, he never failed ’em.

His speech—to suit his hearers—ran
 From pure Parisian to gross peasant,
With interludes North African
 If any Légionnaire were present:
And when some wine—ripe atheist mocked
 His office or the Faith he knelt in,
He left the sinner dumb and shocked
 By oaths his old Battalion dealt in. . .

And he was learned in Death and Life;
 And he was Logic’s self (as France is).
He knew his folk—man, maid, and wife—
 Their forebears, failings, and finances.
Spite, Avarice, Devotion, Lies—
 Passion ablaze or sick Obsession—
He dealt with each physician—wise;
 Stern or most tender, at Confession.

To—day? God knows where he may lie—
 His Cross of weathered beads above him
But one not worthy to untie
 His shoe—string, prays you read—and love him!

EDDI, priest of St. Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

‘Wicked weather for walking,’
Said Eddi of Manhood End.
‘But I must go on with the service
For such as care to attend.

The altar—lamps were lighted, –
An old marsh—donkey came,
Bold as a guest invited,
And stared at the guttering flame.

The storm beat on at the windows,
The water splashed on the floor,
And a wet, yoke—weary bullock
Pushed in through the open door.

’How do I know what is greatest,
How do I know what is least?
That is My Father’s business,'
Said Eddi, Wilfrid’s priest.

‘But– three are gathered together –
Listen to me and attend.
I bring good news, my brethren!’
Said Eddi of Manhood End.

And he told the Ox of a Manger
And a Stall in Bethlehem,
And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
That rode to Jerusalem.

They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
They listened and never stirred,
While, just as though they were Bishops,
Eddi preached them The Word,

Till the gale blew off on the marshes
And the windows showed the day,
And the Ox and the Ass together
Wheeled and clattered away.

And when the Saxons mocked him,
Said Eddi of Manhood End,
‘I dare not shut His chapel
On such as care to attend.’

It was an artless Bandar, and he danced upon a pine,
And much I wondered how he lived, and where the beast might dine,
And many many other things, till, o’er my morning smoke,
I slept the sleep of idleness and dreamt that Bandar spoke.

He said: “O man of many clothes! Sad crawler on the Hills!
Observe, I know not Ranken’s shop, nor Ranken’s monthly bills!
I take no heed to trousers or the coats that you call dress;
Nor am I plagued with little cards for little drinks at Mess.

”I steal the bunnia’s grain at morn, at noon and eventide,
(For he is fat and I am spare), I roam the mountain side,
I follow no man’s carriage, and no, never in my life
Have I flirted at Peliti’s with another Bandar’s wife.

“O man of futile fopperies —unnecessary wraps;
I own no ponies in the hills, I drive no tall—wheeled traps.
I buy me not twelve—button gloves, 'short—sixes’ eke, or rings,
Nor do I waste at Hamilton’s my wealth on ‘pretty things.’

”I quarrel with my wife at home, we never fight abroad;
But Mrs. B. has grasped the fact I am her only lord.
I never heard of fever —dumps nor debts depress my soul;
And I pity and despise you!" Here he pouched my breakfast—roll.

His hide was very mangy and his face was very red,
And ever and anon he scratched with energy his head.
His manners were not always nice, but how my spirit cried
To be an artless Bandar loose upon the mountain side!

So I answered: —“Gentle Bandar, and inscrutable Decree
Makes thee a gleesome fleasome Thou, and me a wretched Me.
Go! Depart in peace, my brother, to thy home amid the pine;
Yet forget not once a mortal wished to change his lot for thine.”

There was a strife ‘twixt man and maid—
Oh, that was at the birth of time!
But what befell ’twixt man and maid,
Oh, that’s beyond the grip of rhyme.
'Twas “Sweet, I must not bide with you,”
And, “Love, I cannot bide alone”;
For both were young and both were true.
And both were hard as the nether stone.

Beware the man who’s crossed in love;
  For pent-up steam must find its vent.
Stand back when he is on the move,
  And lend him all the Continent.

Your patience, Sirs. The Devil took me up
To the burned mountain over Sicily
(Fit place for me) and thence I saw my Earth—
(Not all Earth’s splendour, 'twas beyond my need—)
And that one spot I love—all Earth to me,
And her I love, my Heaven. What said I?
My love was safe from all the powers of Hell–
For you—e’en you—acquit her of my guilt—
But Sula, nestling by our sail—specked sea,
My city, child of mine, my heart, my home—
Mine and my pride—evil might visit there!
It was for Sula and her naked port,
Prey to the galleys of the Algerine,
Our city Sula, that I drove my price—
For love of Sula and for love of her.
The twain were woven—gold on sackcloth—twined
Past any sundering till God shall judge
The evil and the good.
Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan
     brown,
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the
     Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of
      the  late  deceased,
And the epitaph drear:  “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the
       East.”

There is pleasure in the wet, wet clay
When the artist’s hand is  potting it.
There is pleasure in the wet, wet lay —
When the poet’s pad is blotting it.
There is pleasure in the shine of your picture on the line
At the Royal Acade-my;
But the pleasure felt in these is as chalk to Cheddar cheese
When it comes to a well-made Lie—

 To a quite unwreckable Lie,
 To a most impeccable Lie!
 To  a water-right,  fire-proof,  angle-iron,  sunk-hinge,  time-lock,
         steel-faced Lie!
 Not a private handsome Lie,
 But a pair-and-brougham Lie,
 Not a little-place-at-Tooting, but a country-house-with-shooting
 And a ring-fence-deer-park Lie.

               When a lover hies abroad
               Looking for his love,
               Azrael smiling sheathes his sword,
               Heaven smiles above.
               Earth and sea
               His servants be,
               And to lesser compass round,
               That his love be sooner found!

                 We meet in an evil land
                 That is near to the gates of Hell.
                 I wait for thy command
                 To serve, to speed or withstand.
                 And thou sayest I do not well?

            Oh Love, the flowers so red
             Are only tongues of flame,
            The earth is full of the dead,
            The new-killed, restless dead.
            There is danger beneath and o’erhead,
             And I guard thy gates in fear
             Of words thou canst not hear,
             Of peril and jeopardy,
             Of signs thou canst not see—
.            And thou sayest 'tis ill that I came?

           This I saw when the rites were done,
           And the lamps were dead and the Gods alone,
           And the grey snake coiled on the altar stone—
           Ere I fled from a Fear that I could not see,
           And the Gods of the East made mouths at me.

  Beat off in our last fight were we?
  The greater need to seek the sea.
  For Fortune changeth as the moon
  To caravel and picaroon.
  Then Eastward Ho! or Westward Ho!
  Whichever wind may meetest blow.
   Our quarry sails on either sea,
   Fat prey for such bold lads as we,
   And every sun-dried buccaneer
   Must hand and reef and watch and steer,
   And bear great wrath of sea and sky
   Before the plate-ships wallow by.
   Now, as our tall bows take the foam,
   Let no man turn his heart to home,
   Save to desire plunder more
   And larger warehouse for his store,
   When treasure won from Santos Bay
   Shall make our sea-washed village gay.

      Because I sought it far from men,
      In deserts and alone,
      I found it burning overhead,
      The jewel of a Throne.

       Because I sought—I sought it so
       And spent my days to find—
       It blazed one moment ere it left
       The blacker night behind.

      We be the Gods of the East—
         Older than all—
      Masters of Mourning and Feast—
         How shall we fall?

Will they gape for the husks that ye proffer
  Or yearn to your song
And we—have we nothing to offer
  Who ruled them so long—
In the fume of incense, the clash of the cymbals, the blare of
  the conch and the gong?
Over the strife of the schools
  Low the day burns—
Back with the kine from the pools
  Each one returns
To the life that he knows where the  altar-flame glows and the
  tulsi is trimmed in the urns.

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!

As I was spittin’ into the Ditch aboard o’ the Crocodile,
I seed a man on a man-o’-war got up in the Reg’lars’ style.
'E was scrapin’ the paint from off of 'er plates, an’ I sez to 'im, “'Oo are you?”
Sez 'e, “I’m a Jolly —'Er Majesty’s Jolly —soldier an’ sailor too!”
Now ‘is work begins by Gawd knows when, and ’is work is never through;
'E isn’t one o’ the reg’lar Line, nor 'e isn’t one of the crew.
'E’s a kind of a giddy harumfrodite —soldier an’ sailor too!
 
An’ after I met 'im all over the world, a-doin’ all kinds of things,
Like landin’ 'isself with a Gatlin’ gun to talk to them ‘eathen kings;
’E sleeps in an 'ammick instead of a cot, an’ 'e drills with the deck on a slew,
An’ ‘e sweats like a Jolly —’Er Majesty’s Jolly —soldier an’ sailor too!
For there isn’t a job on the top o’ the earth the beggar don’t know, nor do —
You can leave 'im at night on a bald man’s ‘ead, to paddle ’is own canoe —
'E’s a sort of a bloomin’ cosmopolouse —soldier an’ sailor too.
 
We’ve fought 'em in trooper, we’ve fought ‘em in dock, and drunk with ’em in betweens,
When they called us the seasick scull’ry-maids, an’ we called ‘em the Ass Marines;
But, when we was down for a double fatigue, from Woolwich to Bernardmyo,
We sent for the Jollies —’Er Majesty’s Jollies —soldier an’ sailor too!
They think for 'emselves, an’ they steal for 'emselves, and they never ask what’s to do,
But they’re camped an’ fed an’ they’re up an’ fed before our bugle’s blew.
Ho! they ain’t no limpin’ procrastitutes —soldier an’ sailor too.
 
You may say we are fond of an ‘arness-cut, or ’ootin’ in barrick-yards,
Or startin’ a Board School mutiny along o’ the Onion Guards;
But once in a while we can finish in style for the ends of the earth to view,
The same as the Jollies —'Er Majesty’s Jollies —soldier an’ sailor too!
They come of our lot, they was brothers to us; they was beggars we’d met an’ knew;
Yes, barrin’ an inch in the chest an’ the arm, they was doubles o’ me an’ you;
For they weren’t no special chrysanthemums —soldier an’ sailor too!
 
To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,
Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to 'and, an’ leave an’ likin’ to shout;
But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,
An’ they done it, the Jollies —'Er Majesty’s Jollies —soldier an’ sailor too!
Their work was done when it 'adn’t begun; they was younger nor me an’ you;
Their choice it was plain between drownin’ in 'eaps an’ bein’ mopped by the screw,
So they stood an’ was still to the Birken’ead drill, soldier an’ sailor too!
 
We’re most of us liars, we’re 'arf of us thieves, an’ the rest are as rank as can be,
But once in a while we can finish in style (which I 'ope it won’t 'appen to me).
But it makes you think better o’ you an’ your friends, an’ the work you may 'ave to do,
When you think o’ the sinkin’ Victorier’s Jollies —soldier an’ sailor too!
Now there isn’t no room for to say ye don’t know —they 'ave proved it plain and true —
That whether it’s Widow, or whether it’s ship, Victorier’s work is to do,
An’ they done it, the Jollies —'Er Majesty’s Jollies —soldier an’ sailor too!

“Farewell, Romance!” the Cave-men said;
  “With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
  And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these.  Farewell, Romance!”
 
“Farewell, Romance!” the Lake-folk sighed;
  “We lift the weight of flatling years;
The caverns of the mountain-side
  Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
Guard ye his rest.  Romance, farewell!”
 
“Farewell, Romance!” the Soldier spoke;
  “By sleight of sword we may not win,
But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke
  Of arquebus and culverin.
Honour is lost, and none may tell
Who paid good blows.  Romance, farewell!”
 
“Farewell, Romance!” the Traders cried;
  “Our keels have lain with every sea;
The dull-returning wind and tide
  Heave up the wharf where we would be;
The known and noted breezes swell
Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!”
 
“Good-bye, Romance!” the Skipper said;
  “He vanished with the coal we burn.
Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
  Our speed is timed to half a turn.
Sure as the ferried barge we ply
'Twixt port and port.  Romance, good-bye!”
 
“Romance!” the season-tickets mourn,
  “He never ran to catch His train,
But passed with coach and guard and horn —
  And left the local —late again!”
Confound Romance!...  And all unseen
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.
 
His hand was on the lever laid,
  His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
  His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
By dock and deep and mine and mill
The Boy-god reckless laboured still!
 
Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
  Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle,
  Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
“Our King was with us —yesterday!”

Troopin’, troopin’, troopin’ to the sea:
'Ere’s September come again —the six-year men are free.
O leave the dead be’ind us, for they cannot come away
To where the ship’s a-coalin’ up that takes us 'ome to-day.
   We’re goin’ 'ome, we’re goin’ 'ome,
    Our ship is at the shore,
   An’ you must pack your 'aversack,
    For we won’t come back no more.
   Ho, don’t you grieve for me,
    My lovely Mary-Ann,
   For I’ll marry you yit on a fourp’ny bit
    As a time-expired man.
 
The Malabar’s in 'arbour with the ~Jumner~ at 'er tail,
An’ the time-expired’s waitin’ of 'is orders for to sail.
Ho! the weary waitin’ when on Khyber 'ills we lay,
But the time-expired’s waitin’ of ‘is orders ’ome to-day.
 
They’ll turn us out at Portsmouth wharf in cold an’ wet an’ rain,
All wearin’ Injian cotton kit, but we will not complain;
They’ll kill us of pneumonia —for that’s their little way —
But damn the chills and fever, men, we’re goin’ 'ome to-day!
 
Troopin’, troopin’, winter’s round again!
See the new draf’s pourin’ in for the old campaign;
Ho, you poor recruities, but you’ve got to earn your pay —
What’s the last from Lunnon, lads?  We’re goin’ there to-day.
 
Troopin’, troopin’, give another cheer —
'Ere’s to English women an’ a quart of English beer.
The Colonel an’ the regiment an’ all who’ve got to stay,
Gawd’s mercy strike 'em gentle —Whoop! we’re goin’ 'ome to-day.
    We’re goin’ 'ome, we’re goin’ 'ome,
     Our ship is at the shore,
    An’ you must pack your 'aversack,
     For we won’t come back no more.
    Ho, don’t you grieve for me,
     My lovely Mary-Ann,
    For I’ll marry you yit on a fourp’ny bit
     As a time-expired man.

THE careful text—books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
'The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff —the Man!
But in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find
The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge they make us—
For no laid course prepare—
And presently o’ertake us
With loads we cannot bear:
Too merciless to bear.

The prudent text—books give it
In tables at the end
‘The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie—bar bend—
’What traffic wrecks macadam—
What concrete should endure—
but we, poor Sons of Adam
Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder—
All Time and Space as well–
Too wonder—stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till, in the mid—illusion
Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned—
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
(0h, luckier bridge and rail)
Abide the twin damnation—
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we– by which sole token
We know we once were Gods–
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds—
The burden of the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we– by which sure token
We know Thy ways are true—
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

Only two African kopjes,
      Only the cart-tracks that wind
Empty and open between 'em,
  Only the Transvaal behind;
Only an Aldershot column
  Marching to conquer the land   .   .   .
Only a sudden and solemn
  Visit, unarmed, to the Rand.

    Then scorn not the African kopje,
       The kopje that smiles in the heat,
    The wholly unoccupied kopje,
      The home of Cornelius and Piet.
   You can never be sure of your kopje,
      But of this be you blooming well sure,
    A kopje is always a kopje,
      And a Boojer is always a Boer!

Only two African kopjes,
  Only the vultures above,
Only baboons—at the bottom,
  Only some buck on the move;
Only a Kensington draper
  Only pretending to scout   .   .   .
.Only bad news for the paper,
  Only another knock-out.

    Then mock not the African kopje,  
      And rub not your flank on its side,
    The silent and simmering kopje,
      The kopje beloved by the guide.
    You can never be, etc.

Only two African kopjes,
  Only the dust of their wheels,
Only a bolted commando,
  Only our guns at their heels   .   .   .
Only a little barb-wire,
  Only a natural fort,
Only “by sections retire,”
  Only “regret to report! ”

    Then mock not the .African kopje,
       Especially when it is twins,
    One sharp and one table-topped kopje
       For that’s where the trouble begins.
     You never can be, etc.

Only two African kopjes
  Baited the same as before—
Only  we’ve had it so often,
  Only we’re taking no more   .   .   .
Only a wave to our troopers,
  Only our flanks swinging past,
Only a dozen voorloopers,.
   Only we’ve learned it at last!

    Then mock not the African kopje,
       But take off your hat to the same,
    The patient, impartial old kopje,
       The kopje that taught us the game!
    For all that we knew in the Columns,
       And all they’ve forgot on the Staff,
    We learned at the Fight o’ Two Kopjes,
       Which lasted two years an’ a half.

0 mock not the African kopje,
 Not even when peace has been signed—
The kopje that isn’t a kopje—
  The kopje that copies its kind.
You can never be sure of your kopje,
  But of this be you blooming well sure,
That a kopje is always a kopje,
  And a Boojer is always a Boer!

Your trail runs to the westward,
    And mine to my own place;
  There is water between our lodges,
    And I have not seen your face.

  But since I have read your verses
     'Tis easy to  guess the rest,—
  Because in the hearts of the children
    There is neither East nor West.

 Born to a thousand fortunes
   Of good or evil hap,
 Once they were kings together,
   Throned in a mother’s lap.

 Surely they know that secret—
   Yellow and black and white—
When they meet as kings together
   In innocent dreams at night.

By a moon they all can play with—
  Grubby and grimed and unshod,
Very happy together,
  And very near to God.

Your trail runs to the westward,
  And mine to my own place:
There is water between our lodges,
  And you cannot see my face.—

And that is well—for crying
  Should neither be written nor seen,
But if I call you Smoke-in-the-Eyes,
 I know you will know what I mean.

Through the Plagues of Egyp’ we was chasin’ Arabi,
 Gettin’ down an’ shovin’ in the sun;
An’ you might 'ave called us dirty, an’ you might ha’ called us dry,
 An’ you might ‘ave ’eard us talkin’ at the gun.
But the Captain ‘ad ’is jacket, an’ the jacket it was new —
 ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the wettin’ of the jacket is the proper thing to do,
 Nor we didn’t keep 'im waiting very long.
 
One day they gave us orders for to shell a sand redoubt,
 Loadin’ down the axle-arms with case;
But the Captain knew 'is dooty, an’ he took the crackers out
 An’ he put some proper liquor in its place.
An’ the Captain saw the shrapnel, which is six-an’-thirty clear.
 ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
“Will you draw the weight,” sez 'e, “or will you draw the beer?”
 An’ we didn’t keep 'im waitin’ very long.
 For the Captain, etc.
 
Then we trotted gentle, not to break the bloomin’ glass,
 Though the Arabites 'ad all their ranges marked;
But we dursn’t 'ardly gallop, for the most was bottled Bass,
 An’ we’d dreamed of it since we was disembarked,
So we fired economic with the shells we ‘ad in ’and,
 ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
But the beggars under cover 'ad the impidence to stand,
 An’ we couldn’t keep 'em waitin’ very long.
 And the Captain, etc.
 
So we finished 'arf the liquor (an’ the Captain took champagne),
 An’ the Arabites was shootin’ all the while;
An’ we left our wounded 'appy with the empties on the plain,
 An’ we used the bloomin’ guns for projectile!
We limbered up an’ galloped —there were nothin’ else to do —
 ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Battery came a-boundin’ like a boundin’ kangaroo,
 But they didn’t watch us comin’ very long.
 As the Captain, etc.
 
We was goin’ most extended —we was drivin’ very fine,
 An’ the Arabites were loosin’ 'igh an’ wide,
Till the Captain took the glacis with a rattlin’ “right incline,”
 An’ we dropped upon their ‘eads the other side.
Then we give ’em quarter —such as 'adn’t up and cut,
 ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Captain stood a limberful of fizzy somethin’ Brutt,
 But we didn’t leave it fizzing very long.
 For the Captain, etc.
 
We might ha’ been court-martialled, but it all come out all right
 When they signalled us to join the main command.
There was every round expended, there was every gunner tight,
 An’ the Captain waved a corkscrew in ‘is ’and.
 But the Captain ‘ad ’is jacket, etc.