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Best Famous Rudyard Kipling Poems

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by Rudyard Kipling | |


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!

by Rudyard Kipling | |



God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law— Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding, calls not Thee to guard, For frantic boast and foolish word— Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

By the Hoof of the Wild Goat

 By the Hoof of the Wild Goat uptossed
 From the cliff where she lay in the Sun
 Fell the Stone
 To the Tarn where the daylight is lost,
 So she fell from the light of the Sun
 And alone!

 Now the fall was ordained from the first
 With the Goat and the Cliff and the Tarn,
 But the Stone
 Knows only her life is accursed
 As she sinks from the light of the Sun
 And alone!

 Oh Thou Who hast builded the World,
 Oh Thou Who hast lighted the Sun,
 Oh Thou Who hast darkened the Tarn,
 Judge Thou
 The sin of the Stone that was hurled
 By the goat from the light of the Sun,
 As she sinks in the mire of the Tarn,
 Even now--even now--even now!

More great poems below...

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Recessional (A Victorian Ode)

 God of our fathers, known of old --
 Lord of our far-flung battle line --
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
 Dominion over palm and pine --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies --
 The Captains and the Kings depart --
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
 An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! Far-called our navies melt away -- On dune and headland sinks the fire -- Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe -- Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law -- Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget -- lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard -- All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word, Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord! Amen.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Prodigal Son

 Here come I to my own again, 
Fed, forgiven and known again, 
Claimed by bone of my bone again 
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me, But the husks have greater zest for me, I think my pigs will be best for me, So I'm off to the Yards afresh.
I never was very refined, you see, (And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see) But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see, For being a bit of a swine.
So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat, But glory be! - there's a laugh to it, Which isn't the case when we dine.
My father glooms and advises me, My brother sulks and despises me, And Mother catechises me Till I want to go out and swear.
And, in spite of the butler's gravity, I know that the servants have it I Am a monster of moral depravity, And I'm damned if I think it's fair! I wasted my substance, I know I did, On riotous living, so I did, But there's nothing on record to show I did Worse than my betters have done.
They talk of the money I spent out there - They hint at the pace that I went out there - But they all forget I was sent out there Alone as a rich man's son.
So I was a mark for plunder at once, And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once, But I didn't give up and knock under at once, I worked in the Yards, for a spell, Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs.
And shared their milk and maize with hogs, Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs And - I have that knowledge to sell! So back I go to my job again, Not so easy to rob again, Or quite so ready to sob again On any neck that's around.
I'm leaving, Pater.
Good-bye to you! God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you! I wouldn't be impolite to you, But, Brother, you are a hound!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal

 Speakin' in general, I'ave tried 'em all 
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I'ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get 'ence, the same as I'ave done, An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die, So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all— The different ways that different things are done, An' men an' women lovin' in this world; Takin' our chances as they come along, An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good? In cash or credit—no, it aren't no good; You've to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die, Unless you lived your life but one day long, Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all, But drew your tucker some'ow from the world, An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I'aven't done? I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good, In various situations round the world For 'im that doth not work must surely die; But that's no reason man should labour all 'Is life on one same shift—life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done, For something in my 'ead upset it all, Till I'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good, An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die, An' met my mate—the wind that tramps the world! It's like a book, I think, this bloomin, world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die Unless you get the page you're readi'n' done, An' turn another—likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn'em all.
Gawd bless this world! Whatever she'oth done— Excep' When awful long—I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Arithmetic on the Frontier

 A great and glorious thing it is
 To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
 Ere reckoned fit to face the foe --
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass.
" Three hundred pounds per annum spent On making brain and body meeter For all the murderous intent Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!" And after -- ask the Yusufzaies What comes of all our 'ologies.
A scrimmage in a Border Station -- A canter down some dark defile -- Two thousand pounds of education Drops to a ten-rupee jezail -- The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride, Shot like a rabbit in a ride! No proposition Euclid wrote, No formulae the text-books know, Will turn the bullet from your coat, Or ward the tulwar's downward blow Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can -- The odds are on the cheaper man.
One sword-knot stolen from the camp Will pay for all the school expenses Of any Kurrum Valley scamp Who knows no word of moods and tenses, But, being blessed with perfect sight, Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem, The troop-ships bring us one by one, At vast expense of time and steam, To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear" Are cheap -- alas! as we are dear.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Answer

 A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,
Cried out to God and murmured 'gainst His Wrath,
Because a sudden wind at twilight's hush
Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.
And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun, Had pity, whispering to that luckless one, "Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well -- What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?" And the Rose answered, "In that evil hour A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower? For lo, the very gossamers are still.
' And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah's will!'" Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward, Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord: "Sister, before We smote the dark in twain, Ere yet the stars saw one another plain, Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask.
" Whereat the withered flower, all content, Died as they die whose days are innocent; While he who questioned why the flower fell Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Army Headquarters

 Ahasuerus Jenkins of the "Operatic Own,"
Was dowered with a tenor voice of super-Santley tone.
His views on equitation were, perhaps, a trifle queer.
He had no seat worth mentioning, but oh! he had an ear.
He clubbed his wretched company a dozen times a day; He used to quit his charger in a parabolic way; His method of saluting was the joy of all beholders, But Ahasuerus Jenkins had a head upon his shoulders.
He took two months at Simla when the year was at the spring, And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.
He warbled like a bul-bul but particularly at Cornelia Agrippina, who was musical and fat.
She controlled a humble husband, who, in turn, controlled a Dept.
Where Cornelia Agrippina's human singing-birds were kept From April to October on a plump retaining-fee, Supplied, of course, per mensem, by the Indian Treasury.
Cornelia used to sing with him, and Jenkins used to play; He praised unblushingly her notes, for he was false as they; So when the winds of April turned the budding roses brown, Cornelia told her husband: -- "Tom, you mustn't send him down.
" They haled him from his regiment, which didn't much regret him; They found for him an office-stool, and on that stool they set him To play with maps and catalogues three idle hours a day, And draw his plump retaining-fee -- which means his double pay.
Now, ever after dinnger, when the coffee-cups are brought, Ahasuerus waileth o'er the grand pianoforte; And, thanks to fair Cornelia, his fame hath waxen great, And Ahasuerus Jenkins is a Power in the State!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

An Astrologers Song

 To the Heavens above us
O look and behold
The Planets that love us
All harnessed in gold!
What chariots, what horses
Against us shall bide
While the Stars in their courses
Do fight on our side?

All thought, all desires,
That are under the sun,
Are one with their fires,
As we also are one:
All matter, all spirit,
All fashion, all frame,
Receive and inherit
Their strength from the same.
(Oh, man that deniest All power save thine own, Their power in the highest Is mightily shown.
Not less in the lowest That power is made clear.
Oh, man, if thou knowest, What treasure is here!) Earth quakes in her throes And we wonder for why! But the blind planet knows When her ruler is nigh; And, attuned since Creation To perfect accord, She thrills in her station And yearns to her Lord.
The waters have risen, The springs are unbound-- The floods break their prison, And ravin around.
No rampart withstands 'em, Their fury will last, Till the Sign that commands 'em Sinks low or swings past.
Through abysses unproven And gulfs beyond thought, Our portion is woven, Our burden is brought.
Yet They that prepare it, Whose Nature we share, Make us who must bear it Well able to bear.
Though terrors o'ertake us We'll not be afraid.
No power can unmake us Save that which has made.
Nor yet beyond reason Or hope shall we fall-- All things have their season, And Mercy crowns all! Then, doubt not, ye fearful-- The Eternal is King-- Up, heart, and be cheerful, And lustily sing:-- What chariots, what horses Against us shall bide While the Stars in their courses Do fight on our side?

by Rudyard Kipling | |

A Ballad of Burial

 ("Saint Proxed's ever was the Church for peace")
If down here I chance to die,
 Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of "I"
 To the Hills for old sake's sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
 In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry --
 This observe for old sake's sake.
To the railway station hie, There a single ticket take For Umballa -- goods-train -- I Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly Spite of clamor coolies make; Thus in state and dignity Send me up for old sake's sake.
Next the sleepy Babu wake, Book a Kalka van "for four.
" Few, I think, will care to make Journeys with me any more As they used to do of yore.
I shall need a "special" break -- Thing I never took before -- Get me one for old sake's sake.
After that -- arrangements make.
No hotel will take me in, And a bullock's back would break 'Neath the teak and leaden skin Tonga ropes are frail and thin, Or, did I a back-seat take, In a tonga I might spin, -- Do your best for old sake's sake.
After that -- your work is done.
Recollect a Padre must Mourn the dear departed one -- Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don't go down at once.
I trust You will find excuse to "snake Three days' casual on the bust.
" Get your fun for old sake's sake.
I could never stand the Plains.
Think of blazing June and May Think of those September rains Yearly till the Judgment Day! I should never rest in peace, I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease, To the Hills for old sake's sake.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

A Ballad of Jakkko Hill

 One moment bid the horses wait,
 Since tiffin is not laid till three,
Below the upward path and straight
 You climbed a year ago with me.
Love came upon us suddenly And loosed -- an idle hour to kill -- A headless, armless armory That smote us both on Jakko Hill.
Ah Heaven! we would wait and wait Through Time and to Eternity! Ah Heaven! we could conquer Fate With more than Godlike constancy I cut the date upon a tree -- Here stand the clumsy figures still: "10-7-85, A.
" Damp with the mist of Jakko Hill.
What came of high resolve and great, And until Death fidelity! Whose horse is waiting at your gate? Whose 'rickshaw-wheels ride over me? No Saint's, I swear; and -- let me see To-night what names your programme fill -- We drift asunder merrily, As drifts the mist on Jakko Hill.
Princess, behold our ancient state Has clean departed; and we see 'Twas Idleness we took for Fate That bound light bonds on you and me.
Amen! Here ends the comedy Where it began in all good will; Since Love and Leave together flee As driven mist on Jakko Hill!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Banquet Night

 "ONCE in so often," King Solomon said,
 Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
"We will curb our garlic and wine and bread
 And banquet together beneath my Throne,
And all Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
" "Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre, Felling and floating our beautiful trees, Say that the Brethren and I desire Talk with our Brethren who use the seas.
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
" "Carry this message to Hiram Abif- Excellent master of forge and mine :- I and the Brethren would like it if He and the Brethren will come to dine (Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress) As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
" "God gave the Cedar their place- Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn- But that is no reason to black a man's face Because he is not what he hasn't been born.
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess We are Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
" So it was ordered and so it was done, And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark, With foc'sle hands of Sidon run And Navy Lords from the ROYAL ARK, Came and sat down and were merry at mess As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
The Quarries are hotter than Hiram's forge, No one is safe from the dog-whip's reach.
It's mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge, And it's always blowing off Joppa beach; But once in so often, the messenger brings Solomon's mandate : "Forget these things! Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings, Companion of Princes-forget these things! Fellow-Craftsmen, forget these things!"

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Before a Midnight Breaks in Storm

Before a midnight breaks in storm,
 Or herded sea in wrath, 
Ye know what wavering gusts inform 
 The greater tempest's path? 
 Till the loosed wind
 Drive all from mind,
Except Distress, which, so will prophets cry, 
O'ercame them, houseless, from the unhinting sky.
Ere rivers league against the land In piratry of flood, Ye know what waters steal and stand Where seldom water stood.
Yet who will note, Till fields afloat, And washen carcass and the returning well, Trumpet what these poor heralds strove to tell? Ye know who use the Crystal Ball (To peer by stealth on Doom), The Shade that, shaping first of all, Prepares an empty room.
Then doth it pass Like breath from glass, But, on the extorted vision bowed intent, No man considers why It came or went.
Before the years reborn behold Themselves with stranger eye, And the sport-making Gods of old, Like Samson slaying, die, Many shall hear The all-pregnant sphere, Bow to the birth and sweat, but--speech denied-- Sit dumb or--dealt in part--fall weak and wide.
Yet instant to fore-shadowed need The eternal balance swings; That winged men, the Fates may breed So soon as Fate hath wings.
These shall possess Our littleness, And in the imperial task (as worthy) lay Up our lives' all to piece one giant Day.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Bill Awkins

 "'As anybody seen Bill 'Awkins?"
 "Now 'ow in the devil would I know?"
"'E's taken my girl out walkin',
 An' I've got to tell 'im so --
 Gawd -- bless 'im!
 I've got to tell 'im so.
" "D'yer know what 'e's like, Bill 'Awkins?" "Now what in the devil would I care?" "'E's the livin', breathin' image of an organ-grinder's monkey, With a pound of grease in 'is 'air -- Gawd -- bless 'im! An' a pound o' grease in 'is 'air.
" "An' s'pose you met Bill 'Awkins, Now what in the devil 'ud ye do?" "I'd open 'is cheek to 'is chin-strap buckle, An' bung up 'is both eyes, too -- Gawd -- bless 'im! An bung up 'is both eyes, too!" "Look 'ere, where 'e comes, Bill 'Awkins! Now, what in the devil will you say?" "It isn't fit an' proper to be fightin' on a Sunday, So I'll pass 'im the time o' day -- Gawd -- bless 'im! I'll pass 'im the time o' day!"

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Bees and the Flies

 "The Mother Hive"-- Actions and Reactions

A Farmer of the Augustan Age
Perused in Virgil's golden page
The story of the secret won
From Proteus by Cyrene's son--
How the dank sea-god showed the swain
Means to restore his hives again.
More briefly, how a slaughtered bull Breeds honey by the bellyful.
The egregious rustic put to death A bull by stopping of its breath, Disposed the carcass in a shed With fragrant herbs and branches spread, And, having well performed the charm, Sat down to wait the promised swarm.
Nor waited long.
The God of Day Impartial, quickening with his ray Evil and good alike, beheld The carcass--and the carcass swelled.
Big with new birth the belly heaves Beneath its screen of scented leaves.
Past any doubt, the bull conceives! The farmer bids men bring more hives To house the profit that arrives; Prepares on pan and key and.
kettle, Sweet music that shall make 'em settle; But when to crown the work he goes, Gods! What a stink salutes his nose! Where are the honest toilers.
Where The.
gravid mistress of their care? A busy scene, indeed, he sees, But not a sign or sound of bees.
Worms of the riper grave unhid By any kindly coffin-lid, Obscene and shameless to the light, Seethe in insatiate appetite, Through putrid offal, while--above The hissing blow-fly seeks his love, Whose offspring, supping where they supt, Consume corruption twice corrupt.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Benefactors

 Ah! What avails the classic bent
 And what the cultured word,
Against the undoctored incident
 That actually occurred?

And what is Art whereto we press
 Through paint and prose and rhyme--
When Nature in her nakedness
 Defeats us every time?

It is not learning, grace nor gear,
 Nor easy meat and drink,
But bitter pinch of pain and fear
 That makes creation think.
When in this world's unpleasing youth Our god-like race began, The longest arm, the sharpest tooth, Gave man control of man; Till, bruised and bitten to the bone And taught by pain and fear, He learned to deal the far-off stone, And poke the long, safe spear.
So tooth and nail were obsolete As means against a foe, Till, bored by uniform defeat, Some genius built the bow.
Then stone and javelin proved as vain As old-time tooth and nail; Till, spurred anew by fear and pain, Man fashioned coats of mail.
Then was there safety for the rich And danger for the poor, Till someone mixed a powder which Redressed the scale once more.
Helmet and armour disappeared With sword and bow and pike, And, when the smoke of battle cleared, All men were armed alike.
And when ten million such were slain To please one crazy king, Man, schooled in bulk by tear and pain, Grew weary of the thing; And, at the very hour designed, To enslave him past recall, His tooth-stone-arrow-gun-shy mind Turned and abolished all.
All Power, each Tyrant, every Mob Whose head has grown too large, Ends by destroying its own job And works its own discharge; And Man, whose mere necessities Move all things from his path, Trembles meanwhile at their decrees, And deprecates their wrath!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Birds of Prey March

 March! The mud is cakin' good about our trousies.
Front! -- eyes front, an' watch the Colour-casin's drip.
Front! The faces of the women in the 'ouses Ain't the kind o' things to take aboard the ship.
Cheer! An' we'll never march to victory.
Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar! The Large Birds o' Prey They will carry us away, An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! Wheel! Oh, keep your touch; we're goin' round a corner.
Time! -- mark time, an' let the men be'ind us close.
Lord! the transport's full, an' 'alf our lot not on 'er -- Cheer, O cheer! We're going off where no one knows.
March! The Devil's none so black as 'e is painted! Cheer! We'll 'ave some fun before we're put away.
'Alt, an' 'and 'er out -- a woman's gone and fainted! Cheer! Get on -- Gawd 'elp the married men to-day! Hoi! Come up, you 'ungry beggars, to yer sorrow.
('Ear them say they want their tea, an' want it quick!) You won't have no mind for slingers, not to-morrow -- No; you'll put the 'tween-decks stove out, bein' sick! 'Alt! The married kit 'as all to go before us! 'Course it's blocked the bloomin' gangway up again! Cheer, O cheer the 'Orse Guards watchin' tender o'er us, Keepin' us since eight this mornin' in the rain! Stuck in 'eavy marchin'-order, sopped and wringin' -- Sick, before our time to watch 'er 'eave an' fall, 'Ere's your 'appy 'ome at last, an' stop your singin'.
'Alt! Fall in along the troop-deck! Silence all! Cheer! For we'll never live to see no bloomin' victory! Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar! (One cheer more!) The jackal an' the kite 'Ave an 'ealthy appetite, An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!) The eagle an' the crow They are waitin' ever so, An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!) Yes, the Large Birds o' Prey They will carry us away, An' you'll never see your soldiers any more!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Blue Roses

 Roses red and roses white
Plucked I for my love's delight.
She would none of all my posies-- Bade me gather her blue roses.
Half the world I wandered through, Seeking where such flowers grew.
Half the world unto my quest Answered me with laugh and jest.
Home I came at wintertide, But my silly love had died Seeking with her latest breath Roses from the arms of Death.
It may be beyond the grave She shall find what she would have.
Mine was but an idle quest-- Roses white and red are best!

by Rudyard Kipling | |


 We're foot--slog--slog--slog--sloggin' over Africa --
Foot--foot--foot--foot--sloggin' over Africa --
(Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again!)
  There's no discharge in the war!

Seven--six--eleven--five--nine-an'-twenty mile to-day --
Four--eleven--seventeen--thirty-two the day before --
(Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again!)
  There's no discharge in the war!

Don't--don't--don't--don't--look at what's in front of you.
(Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again); Men--men--men--men--men go mad with watchin' em, An' there's no discharge in the war! Try--try--try--try--to think o' something different -- Oh--my--God--keep--me from goin' lunatic! (Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again!) There's no discharge in the war! Count--count--count--count--the bullets in the bandoliers.
If--your--eyes--drop--they will get atop o' you! (Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again) -- There's no discharge in the war! We--can--stick--out--'unger, thirst, an' weariness, But--not--not--not--not the chronic sight of 'em -- Boot--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again, An' there's no discharge in the war! 'Taint--so--bad--by--day because o' company, But night--brings--long--strings--o' forty thousand million Boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again.
There's no discharge in the war! I--'ave--marched--six--weeks in 'Ell an' certify It--is--not--fire--devils, dark, or anything, But boots--boots--boots--boots--movin' up an' down again, An' there's no discharge in the war!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

A Boy ScoutsPatrol Song

These are our regulations-- 
 There's just one law for the Scout 
And the first and the last, and the present and the past,
 And the future and the perfect is "Look out!"
 I, thou and he, look out!
 We, ye and they, look out!
 Though you didn't or you wouldn't
 Or you hadn't or you couldn't;
 You jolly well must look out!

Look out, when you start for the day
 That your kit is packed to your mind;
There is no use going away 
 With half of it left behind.
Look out that your laces are tight, And your boots are easy and stout, Or you'll end with a blister at night.
(Chorus) All Patrols look out! Look out for the birds of the air, Look out for the beasts of the field-- They'll tell you how and where The other side's concealed.
When the blackbird bolts from the copse, Or the cattle are staring about, The wise commander stops And (chorus) All Patrols look out! Look out when your front is clear, And you feel you are bound to win.
Look out for your flank and your rear-- That's where surprises begin.
For the rustle that isn't a rat, For the splash that isn't a trout, For the boulder that may be a hat (Chorus) All Patrols look out! For the innocent knee-high grass, For the ditch that never tells, Look out! Look out ere you pass-- And look out for everything else A sign mis-read as you run May turn retreat to a rout-- For all things under the sun (Chorus) All Patrols look out! Look out where your temper goes At the end of a losing game; When your boots too tight for your toes; And you answer and argue and blame.
It's the hardest part of the Low, But it has to be learned by the Scout-- For whining and shrinking and "jaw" (Chorus) All Patrols look out!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

A British-Roman Song

406) "A Centurion of the Thirtieth" -- Puck of Pook's Hill My father's father saw it not, And I, belike, shall never come To look on that so-holly spot-- That very Rome-- Crowned by all Time, all Art, all Might, The equal work of Gods and Man, City beneath whose oldest height-- The Race began! Soon to send forth again a brood, Unshakable, we pray, that clings To Rome's thrice-hammered hardihood-- In arduous things.
Strong heart with triple armour bound, Beat strongly, for thy life-blood runs, Age after Age, the Empire round-- In us thy Sons Who, distant from the Seven Hills, Loving and serving much, require Thee-thee to guard 'gainst home-born ills The Imperial Fire!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Brookland Road

 I was very well pleased with what I knowed,
I reckoned myself no fool--
Till I met with a maid on the Brookland Road,
That turned me back to school.
Low down-low down! Where the liddle green lanterns shine-- O maids, I've done with 'ee all but one, And she can never' be mine! 'Twas right in the middest of a hot June night, With thunder duntin' round, And I see'd her face by the fairy light That beats from off the ground.
She only smiled and she never spoke, She smiled and went away; But when she'd gone my heart was broke And my wits was clean astray.
0, stop your ringing and let me be-- Let be, 0 Brookland bells! You'll ring Old Goodman out of the sea, Before I wed one else! Old Goodman's Farm is rank sea-sand, And was this thousand year; But it shall turn to rich plough-land Before I change my dear.
0, Fairfield Church is water-bound From autumn to the spring; But it shall turn to high hill-ground Before my bells do ring.
0, leave me walk on Brookland Road, In the thunder and warm rain-- 0, leave me look where my love goed, And p'raps I'll see her again! Low down--low down! Where the liddle green lanterns shine-- 0 maids, I've done with 'ee all but one, And she can never be mine!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Buddha at Kamakura

"And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura"

Oye who treated the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when "the heathen" pray
 To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat,
 The Buddha of Kamakura.
For though he neither burns nor sees, Nor hears ye thank your Deities, Ye have not sinned with such as these, His children at Kamakura, Yet spare us still the Western joke When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke The little sins of little folk That worship at Kamakura -- The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies That flit beneath the Master's eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries But loves them at Kamakura.
And whoso will, from Pride released, Contemning neither creed nor priest, May feel the Soul of all the East About him at Kamakura.
Yea, every tale Ananda heard, Of birth as fish or beast or bird, While yet in lives the Master stirred, The warm wind brings Kamakura.
Till drowsy eyelids seem to see A-flower 'neath her golden htee The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly From Burmah to Kamakura, And down the loaded air there comes The thunder of Thibetan drums, And droned -- "Om mane padme hums" -- A world's-width from Kamakura.
Yet Brahmans rule Benares still, Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill, And beef-fed zealots threaten ill To Buddha and Kamakura.
A tourist-show, a legend told, A rusting bulk of bronze and gold, S o much, and scarce so much, ye hold The meaning of Kamakura? But when the morning prayer is prayed, Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade, Is God in human image made No nearer than Kamakura?

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Burial

Rhodes, buried in the Matoppos, April 10, 1902) When that great Kings return to clay, Or Emperors in their pride, Grief of a day shall fill a day, Because its creature died.
But we -- we reck on not with those Whom the mere Fates ordain, This Power that wrought on us and goes Back to the Power again.
Dreamer devout, by vision led Beyond our guess or reach, The travail of his spirit bred Cities in place of speech.
So huge the all-mastering thought that drove -- So brief the term allowed -- Nations, not words, he linked to prove His faith before the crowd.
It is his will that he look forth Across the world he won -- The granite of the ancient North -- Great spaces washed with sun.
There shall he patient take his seat (As when the Death he dared), And there await a people's feet In the paths that he prepared.
There, till the vision he foresaw Splendid and whole arise, And unimagined Empires draw To council 'neath his skies, The immense and brooding Spirit still Shall quicken and control.
Living he was the land, and dead, His soul shall be her soul!