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A Collection of Short Poems by Rudyard Kipling

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems by Rudyard Kipling.

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.



Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"The Advertisement" by Rudyard Kipling

THE ADVERTISEMENT

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

In the manner of the earlier English

WHETHER to wend through straight streets strictly,
Trimly by towns perfectly paved;
Or after office, as fitteth thy fancy,
Faring with friends far among fields;
There is none other equal in action,
Sith she is silent, nimble, unnoisome,
Lordly of leather, gaudily gilded,
Burgeoning brightly in a brass bonnet,
Certain to steer well between wains.


"The Appeal" by Rudyard Kipling

THE APPEAL

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If I have given you delight
By aught that I have done,
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be yours anon:

And for the little, little, span
The dead are borne in mind,
Seek not to question other than
The books I leave behind.


"Blue Roses" by Rudyard Kipling

BLUE ROSES

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

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!


"The Braggart" by Rudyard Kipling

THE BRAGGART

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Mat. Prior

PETROLIO, vaunting his Mercedes' power,
Vows she can cover eighty miles an hour.
I tried the car of old and know she can.
But dare he ever make her? Ask his man!


"Chartres Windows" by Rudyard Kipling

CHARTRES WINDOWS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

COLOUR fulfils where Music has no power:
By each man's light the unjudging glass betrays
All men's surrender, each man's holiest hour
And all the lit confusion of our days--
Purfled with iron, traced in dusk and fire,
Challenging ordered Time who, at the last,
Shall bring it, grozed and leaded and wedged fast,
To the cold stone that curbs or crowns desire.
Yet on the pavement that all feet have trod--
Even as the Spirit, in her deeps and heights,
Turns only, and that voiceless, to her God--
There falls no tincture from those anguished lights.
And Heaven's one light, behind them, striking through
Blazons what each man dreamed no other knew.


"The Covenant" by Rudyard Kipling

THE COVENANT

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1914

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!


"Doctors" by Rudyard Kipling

DOCTORS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

MAN dies too soon, beside his works half-planned.
His days are counted and reprieve is vain:
Who shall entreat with Death to stay his hand;
Or cloke the shameful nakedness of pain?

Send here the bold, the seekers of the way--
The passionless, the unshakeable of soul,
Who serve the inmost mysteries of man's clay,
And ask no more than leave to make them whole.


"The Explanation" by Rudyard Kipling

THE EXPLANATION

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1890

Love and Death once ceased their strife
At the Tavern of Man's Life.
Called for wine, and threw--alas!--
Each his quiver on the grass.
When the bout was o'er they found
Mingled arrows strewed the ground.
Hastily they gathered then
Each the loves and lives of men.
Ah, the fateful dawn deceived!
Mingled arrows each one sheaved;
Death's dread armoury was stored
With the shafts he most abhorred;
Love's light quiver groaned beneath
Venom-headed darts of Death.
Thus it was they wrought our woe
At the Tavern long ago.
Tell me, do our masters know,
Loosing blindly as they fly,
Old men love while young men die?


"The Friends" by Rudyard Kipling
0
THE FRIENDS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

I HAD some friends--but I dreamed that they were dead--
Who used to dance with lanterns round a little boy in bed;
Green and white lanterns that waved to and fro:
But I haven't seen a Firefly since ever so long ago!

I had some friends--their crowns were in the sky--
Who used to nod and whisper when a little boy went by,
As the nuts began to tumble and the breeze began to blow:
And I haven't seen a Cocoa-palm since ever so long ago!

I had a friend--he came up from Cape Horn,
With a Coal-sack on his shoulder when a little boy was born.
He heard me learn to talk, and he helped me thrive and grow:
But I haven't seen the Southern Cross since ever so long ago!

I had a boat--I out and let her drive,
Till I found my dream was foolish, for my friends were all alive.
The Cocoa-palms were real, and the Southern Cross was true:
And the Fireflies were dancing--so I danced too!


"Fuzzy-Wuzzy" by Rudyard Kipling
1
FUZZY-WUZZY

Soudan Expeditionary Force

We've fought with many men acrost the seas,
An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:
The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;
But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.
We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:
'E squatted in the scrub an' 'ocked our 'orses,
'E cut our sentries up at Suakim,
An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.
So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed
We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.

We took our chanst among the Kyber 'ills,
The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,
The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,
An' a Zulu impi dished us up in style:
But all we ever got from such as they
Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;
We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say,
But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.
Then 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid;
Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.
We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;
But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

'E 'asn't got no papers of 'is own,
'E 'asn't got no medals nor rewards,
So we must certify the skill 'e's shown
In usin' of 'is long two-'anded swords:
When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the bush
With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel-spear,
An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
Will last an 'ealthy Tommy for a year.
So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' your friends which are no more,
If we 'adn't lost some messmates we would 'elp you to deplore;
But give an' take's the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,
For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

'E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,
An', before we know, 'e's 'ackin' at our 'ead;
'E's all 'ot sand an' ginger when alive,
An' 'e's generally shammin' when 'e's dead.
'E's a daisy, 'e's a ducky, 'e's a lamb!
'E's a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
'E's the on'y thing that doesn't give a damn
For a Regiment o' British Infantree!
So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
An' 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air--
You big black boundin' beggar--for you broke a British square!


"General Joubert" by Rudyard Kipling
2
GENERAL JOUBERT

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1900

(Died, South African War, March 27, 1900)

With those that bred, with those that loosed the strife,
He had no part whose hands were clear of gain;
But subtle, strong, and stubborn, gave his life
To a lost cause, and knew the gift was vain.

Later shall rise a people, sane and great,
Forged in strong fires, by equal war made one;
Telling old battles over without hate--
Not least his name shall pass from sire to son.

He may not meet the onsweep of our van
In the doomed city when we close the score;
Yet o'er his grave--his grave that holds a Man--
Our deep-tongued guns shall answer his once more!


"Gertrude's Prayer" by Rudyard Kipling
3
GERTRUDE'S PRAYER

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

THAT which is marred at birth Time shall not mend,
Nor water out of bitter well make clean;
All evil thing returneth at the end,
Or elseway walketh in our blood unseen.
Whereby the more is sorrow in certaine--
Dayspring mishandled cometh not againe.

To-bruized be that slender, sterting spray
Out of the oake's rind that should betide
A branch of girt and goodliness, straightway
Her spring is turned on herself, and wried
And knotted like some gall or veiney wen.--
Dayspring mishandled cometh not agen.

Noontide repayeth never morning-bliss--
Sith noon to morn is incomparable;
And, so it be our dawning goth amiss,
None other after-hour serveth well.
Ah! Jesu-Moder, pitie my oe paine--
Dayspring mishandled cometh not againe!


"The Hour of the Angel"
4
THE HOUR OF THE ANGEL

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

"Stalky"

Sooner or late--in earnest or in jest--
(But the stakes are no jest) Ithuriel's Hour
Will spring on us, for the first time, the test
Of our sole unbacked competence and power
Up to the limit of our years and dower
Of judgment--or beyond. But here we have
Prepared long since our garland or our grave.

For, at that hour, the sum of all our past,
Act, habit, thought, and passion, shall be cast
In one addition, be it more or less,
And as that reading runs so shall we do;
Meeting, astounded, victory at the last,
Or, first and last, our own unworthiness.
And none can change us though they die to save!


"The Houses" by Rudyard Kipling
5
THE HOUSES

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1898

A SONG OF THE DOMINIONS

'Twixt my house and thy house the pathway is broad,
In thy house or my house is half the world's hoard;
By my house and thy house hangs all the world's fate,
On thy house and my house lies half the world's hate.

For my house and thy house no help shall we find
Save thy house and my house--kin cleaving to kind;
If my house be taken, thine tumbleth anon,
If thy house be forfeit, mine followeth soon.

'Twixt my house and thy house what talk can there be
Of headship or lordship, or service or fee?
Since my house to thy house no greater can send
Than thy house to my house--friend comforting friend;
And thy house to my house no meaner can bring
Than my house to thy house--King counselling King!


"In Springtime" by Rudyard Kipling
6
IN SPRINGTIME

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

MY GARDEN blazes brightly with the rose-bush and the peach,
And the koil sings above it, in the siris by the well,
From the creeper-covered trellis comes the squirrel's chattering speech,
And the blue jay screams and flutters where the cheery sat-bhai* dwell.
But the rose has lost its fragrance, and the koil's note is strange;
I am sick of endless sunshine, sick of blossom-burdened bough.
Give me back the leafless woodlands where the winds of Springtime range--
Give me back one day in England, for it's Spring in England now!

Through the pines the gusts are booming, o'er the brown fields blowing chill,
From the furrow of the ploughshare streams the fragrance of the loam,
And the hawk nests on the cliffside and the jackdaw in the hill,
And my heart is back in England 'mid the sights and sounds of Home.
But the garland of the sacrifice this wealth of rose and peach is,
Ah! koil, little koil, singing on the siris bough,
In my ears the knell of exile your ceaseless bell like speech is--
Can you tell me aught of England or of Spring in England now?


* Indian starlings.

"James I" by Rudyard Kipling
7
JAMES I

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

(1603-1625)

The child of Mary Queen of Scots,
A shifty mother's shiftless son,
Bred up among intrigues and plots,
Learned in all things, wise in none.
Ungainly, babbling, wasteful, weak,
Shrewd, clever, cowardly, pedantic,
The sight of steel would blanch his cheek,
The smell of baccy drive him frantic.
He was the author of his line--
He wrote that witches should be burnt;
He wrote that monarchs were divine,
And left a son who--proved they weren't!


"L'Envoi" by Rudyard Kipling
8
L'ENVOI

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Departmental Ditties

THE smoke upon your Altar dies,
The flowers decay,
The Goddess of your sacrifice
Has flown away.
What profit then to sing or slay
The sacrifice from day to day?

"We know the Shrine is void," they said,
"The Goddess flown--
"Yet wreaths are on the altar laid--
"The Altar-Stone
"Is black with fumes of sacrifice,
"Albeit She has fled our eyes.

"For, it may be, if still we sing
"And tend the Shrine,
"Some Deity on wandering wing
"May there incline;
"And, finding all in order meet,
"Stay while we worship at Her feet."


"The Love Song of Har Dyal"
9
THE LOVE SONG OF HAR DYAL

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Alone upon the housetops to the North
I turn and watch the lightning in the sky--
The glamour of thy footsteps in the North.
Come back to me, Beloved, or I die.

Below my feet the still bazar is laid--
Far, far below the weary camels lie--
The camels and the captives of thy raid.
Come back to me, Beloved, or I die!

My father's wife is old and harsh with years,
And drudge of all my father's house am I--
My bread is sorrow and my drink is tears.
Come back to me. Beloved, or I die!


"Mary's Son" by Rudyard Kipling
0
MARY'S SON

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If you stop to find out what your wages will be
And how they will clothe and feed you,
Willie, my son, don't you go on the Sea,
For the Sea will never need you.

If you ask for the reason of every command,
And argue with people about you,
Willie, my son, don't you go on the Land,
For the Land will do better without you.

If you stop to consider the work you have done
And to boast what your labour is worth, dear,
Angels may come for you, Willie, my son,
But you'll never be wanted on Earth, dear!


"Mother O' Mine" by Rudyard Kipling
1
MOTHER O' MINE

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

DEDICATION TO "THE LIGHT THAT FAILED"

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!


"A Nativity" by Rudyard Kipling
2
A NATIVITY

1914-18

BY RUDYARD KIPLING


The Babe was laid in the Manger
Between the gentle kine--
All safe from cold and danger
--
"But it was not so with mine,
(With mine! With mine!)
"Is it well with the child, is it well?"
The waiting mother prayed.
"For I know not how he fell,
And I know not where he is laid."

A Star stood forth in Heaven;
The Watchers ran to see
The Sign of the Promise given
--
"But there comes no sign to me.
(To me! To me!)
"My child died in the dark.
Is it well with the child, is it well?
There was none to tend him or mark,
And I know not how he fell."

The Cross was raised on high;
The Mother grieved beside
--
"But the Mother saw Him die
And took Him when He died.
(He died! He died!)
"Seemly and undefiled
His burial-place was made--
Is it well, is it well with the child?
For I know not where he is laid."

On the dawning of Easter Day
Comes Mary Magdalene;
But the Stone was rolled away,
And the Body was not within
--
(Within! Within!)
"Ah, who will answer my word?
The broken mother prayed.
"They have taken away my Lord,
And I know not where He is laid."

. . . . . . . .

"The Star stands forth in Heaven.
The watchers watch in vain
For Sign of the Promise given
Of peace on Earth again
--
(Again! Again!)
"But I know for Whom he fell"--
The steadfast mother smiled,
"Is it well with the child--is it well?
It is well--it is well with the child!"


"Non Nobis, Domine!" by Rudyard Kipling
3
NON NOBIS DOMINE!

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Non nobis, Domine! --
Not unto us, O Lord!
The Praise and Glory be
Of any deed or word;
For in Thy judgment lies
To crown or bring to nought
All knowledge or device
That man has reached or wrought.

And we confess our blame --
How all too high we hold
That noise which men call Fame,
That dross which men call Gold.
For these we undergo
Our hot and godless days,
But in our hearts we know
Not unto us the Praise.

O Power, by whom we live --
Creator, Judge and Friend,
Upholdingly forgive,
Nor fail us at the end:
But grant us well to see
In all our piteous ways --
Non nobis Domine! --
Not unto us the Praise.


"The Oldest Song" by Rudyard Kipling
4
THE OLDEST SONG

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

"For before Eve was Lilith." -- Old Tale.

"These were never your true love's eyes.
Why do you feign that you love them?
You that broke from their constancies,
And the wide calm brows above them!

This was never your true love's speech.
Why do you thrill when you hear it?
You that have ridden out of its reach
The width of the world or near it!

This was never your true love's hair,--
You that chafed when it bound you
Screened from knowledge or shame or care,
In the night that it made around you!"

"All these things I know, I know.
And that's why my heart is breaking!"
"Then what do you gain by pretending so?"
"The joy of an old wound waking."


"A Pageant of Elizabeth" by Rudyard Kipling
5
A PAGEANT OF ELIZABETH

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Written for "The Pageant of Parliament," 1934

Like Princes crowned they bore them--
Like Demi-Gods they wrought,
When the New World lay before them
In headlong fact and thought.
Fate and their foemen proved them
Above all meed of praise,
And Gloriana loved them,
And Shakespeare wrote them plays!

. . . . . . . .

Now Valour, Youth, and Life's delight break forth
In flames of wondrous deed, and thought sublime--
Lightly to mould new worlds or lightly loose
Words that shall shake and shape all after-time!

Giants with giants, wits with wits engage,
And England--England--England takes the breath
Of morning, body and soul, till the great Age
Fulfills in one great chord:--Elizabeth!


"The Prayer" by Rudyard Kipling
6
THE PRAYER

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

My Brother kneels, so saith Kabir,
To stone and brass in heathen wise,
But in my brother's voice I hear
My own unanswered agonies.
His God is as his fates assign,
His prayer is all the world's--and mine.


"Prophets at Home" by Rudyard Kipling
7
PROPHETS AT HOME

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Prophets have honour all over the Earth,
Except in the village where they were born,
Where such as knew them boys from birth,
Nature-ally hold 'em in scorn.

When Prophets are naughty and young and vain,
They make a won'erful grievance of it;
(You can see by their writings how they complain),
But O, 'tis won'erful good for the Prophet!

There's nothing Nineveh Town can give
(Nor being swallowed by whales between),
Makes up for the place where a man's folk live,
Which don't care nothing what he has been.
He might ha' been that, or he might ha' been this,
But they love and they hate him for what he is.


"Rhodes Memorial, Table Mountain"
8
RHODES MEMORIAL, TABLE MOUNTAIN

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1905

(From a letter written to Sir Herbert Baker, R.A.,
when the form of the Memorial was under discussion.)


AS THO' again--yea, even once again,
We should rewelcome to our stewardship
The rider with the loose-flung bridle-rein
And chance-plucked twig for whip,

The down-turned hat-brim, and the eyes beneath
Alert, devouring--and the imperious hand
Ordaining matters swiftly to bequeath
Perfect the work he planned.


"The Run of the Downs"
9
THE RUN OF THE DOWNS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

The Weald is good, the Downs are best--
I'll give you the run of 'em, East to West.

Beachy Head and Winddoor Hill,
They were once and they are still.
Firle, Mount Caburn and Mount Harry
Go back as far as sums'll carry.
Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring,
They have looked on many a thing,
And what those two have missed between 'em,
I reckon Truleigh Hill has seen 'em.
Highden, Bignor and Duncton Down
Knew Old England before the Crown.
Linch Down, Treyford and Sunwood
Knew Old England before the Flood;
And when you end on the Hampshire side--
Butser's old as Time and Tide.
The Downs are sheep, the Weald is corn,
You be glad you are Sussex born!


"The Runes on Weland's Sword"
0
THE RUNES ON WELAND'S SWORD

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

A Smith makes me
To betray my Man
In my first fight.

To gather Gold
At the world's end
I am sent.

The Gold I gather
Comes into England
Out of deep Water.

Like a shining Fish
Then it descends
Into deep Water.

It is not given
For goods or gear,
But for The Thing.

The Gold I gather
A King covets
For an ill use.

The Gold I gather
Is drawn up
Out of deep Water.

Like a shining Fish
Then it descends
Into deep Water.

It is not given
For goods or gear,
But for The Thing.


"Seven Watchmen" by Rudyard Kipling
1
SEVEN WATCHMEN

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Seven Watchmen sitting in a tower,
Watching what had come upon mankind,
Showed the Man the Glory and the Power,
And bade him shape the Kingdom to his mind.
"All things on Earth your will shall win you"
('Twas so their counsel ran).
"But the Kingdom--the Kingdom is within you,"
Said the Man's own mind to the Man.
For time--and some time--
As it was in the bitter years before,
So it shall be in the over-sweetened hour--
That a man's mind is wont to tell him more
Than Seven Watchmen sitting in a tower.


"Song of the Dynamo"
2
SONG OF THE DYNAMO

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

How do I know what Order brings
Me into being?
I only know, if you do certain things,
I must become your Hearing and your Seeing;
Also your Strength, to make great wheels go round,
And save your sons from toil, while I am bound!

What do I care how you dispose
The Powers that move me?
I only know that I am one with those
True Powers which rend the firmament above me,
And, harrying earth, would save me at the last--
But that your coward foresight holds me fast!


"The Song of the Sons"
3
THE SONG OF THE SONS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

One from the ends of the earth--gifts at an open door--
Treason has much, but we, Mother, thy sons have more!
From the whine of a dying man, from the snarl of a wolf-pack freed,
Turn, and the world is thine. Mother, be proud of thy seed!
Count, are we feeble or few? Hear, is our speech so rude?
Look, are we poor in the land? Judge, are we men of The Blood?

Those that have stayed at thy knees, Mother, go call them in--
We that were bred overseas wait and would speak with our kin.
Not in the dark do we fight--haggle and flout and gibe;
Selling our love for a price, loaning our hearts for a bribe.
Gifts have we only to-day--Love without promise or fee--
Hear, for thy children speak, from the uttermost parts of the sea!


"Submarines" a.k.a. "Tin Fish"
4
SUBMARINES

a.k.a. "TIN FISH"

SEA WARFARE

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

The ships destroy us above
And ensnare us beneath.
We arise, we lie down, and we move
In the belly of Death.

The ships have a thousand eyes
To mark where we come . . .
But the mirth of a seaport dies
When our blow gets home.


"To Thomas Atkins" by Rudyard Kipling
5
TO THOMAS ATKINS

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

Prelude to "Barrack-Room Ballads"

I HAVE made for you a song,
And it may be right or wrong.
But only you can tell me if it's true.
I have tried for to explain
Both your pleasure and your pain,
And, Thomas, here's my best respects to you!

O there'll surely come a day
When they'll give you all your pay,
And treat you as a Christian ought to do;
So, until that day comes round,
Heaven keep you safe and sound,
And, Thomas, here's my best respects to you!


"The Veterans" by Rudyard Kipling
6
THE VETERANS

Written for the gathering of survivors of the Indian Mutiny, Albert Hall, 1907

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

To-day, across our fathers' graves,
The astonished years reveal
The remnant of that desperate host
Which cleansed our East with steel.

Hail and farewell! We greet you here,
With tears that none will scorn--
O Keepers of the House of old,
Or ever we were born!

One service more we dare to ask--
Pray for us, heroes, pray,
That when Fate lays on us our task
We do not shame the Day!


"The Voortrekker" by Rudyard Kipling
7
THE VOORTREKKER

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

The gull shall whistle in his wake, the blind wave break in fire.
He shall fulfil God's utmost will, unknowing His desire.
And he shall see old planets change and alien stars arise,
And give the gale his seaworn sail in shadow of new skies.
Strong lust of gear shall drive him forth and hunger arm his hand,
To win his food from the desert rude, his pittance from the sand.
His neighbours' smoke shall vex his eyes, their voices break his rest,
He shall go forth till south is north, sullen and dispossessed.
He shall desire loneliness and his desire shall bring,
Hard on his heels, a thousand wheels, a People and a King.
He shall come back on his own track, and by his scarce-cooled camp
There shall he meet the roaring street, the derrick and the stamp:
There he shall blaze a nation's ways with hatchet and with brand,
Till on his last-won wilderness an Empire's outposts stand!


"When Earth's Last Picture is Painted"
8
WHEN EARTH'S LAST PICTURE IS PAINTED

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

1892

L'ENVOI TO "THE SEVEN SEAS"

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it--lie down for an eon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.

And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from--Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!


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