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Things and the Man

 Oh ye who hold the written clue
 To all save all unwritten things,
And, half a league behind, pursue
 The accomplished Fact with flouts and flings,
 Look! To your knee your baby brings
 The oldest tale since Earth began --
 The answer to your worryings:
 "Once on a time there was a Man.
" He, single-handed, met and slew Magicians, Armies, Ogres, Kings.
He lonely 'mid his doubting crew -- "In all the loneliness of wings " -- He fed the flame, he filled the springs, He locked the ranks, he launched the van Straight at the grinning Teeth of Things.
"Once on a time there was a Man.
" The peace of shocked Foundations flew Before his ribald questionings.
He broke the Oracles in two, And bared the paltry wires and strings.
He headed desert wanderings; He led his soul, his cause, his clan A little from the ruck of Things.
"Once on a time there was a Man.
" Thrones, Powers, Dominions block the view With episodes and underlings -- The meek historian deems them true Nor heeds the song that Clio sings -- The simple central truth that stings The mob to boo, the priest to ban; Things never yet created things -- "Once on a time there was a Man.
" A bolt is fallen from the blue.
A wakened realm full circle swings Where Dothan's dreamer dreams anew Of vast and farborne harvestings; And unto him an Empire clings That grips the purpose of his plan.
My Lords, how think you of these things? Once -- in our time -- is there a Man?

by Rudyard Kipling
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