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AO Rudyard Kipling Poems AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Poems by Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936


01 - A Boy Scouts' Patrol Song 1913

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 Law,
But it has to be learnt by the Scout--
For whining and shirking and "jaw"
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!


02 - Blue Roses
     The Light that Failed

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!


03 - The Broken Men 1902 (Rather than go to debtor's prison, some Englishmen would start a new life in Peru.)

For things we never mention,
For Art misunderstood--
For excellent intention
That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales' renewing,
From clouds we would not clear--
Beyond the Law's pursuing
We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,
We bade no long good-byes;
Men talked of crime and thieving,
Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
'Twas time and time to go--
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,
Ahead lay Callao!

The widow and the orphan
That pray for ten per cent,
They clapped their trailers on us
To spy the road we went.
They watched the foreign sailings
(They scan the shipping still),
And that's your Christian people
Returning good for ill!

God bless the thoughtful islands
Where never warrants come;
God bless the just Republics
That give a man a home,
That ask no foolish questions,
But set him on his feet;
And save his wife and daughters
From the workhouse and the street!

On church and square and market
The noonday silence falls;
You'll hear the drowsy mutter
Of the fountain in our halls.
Asleep amid the yuccas
The city takes her ease--
Till twilight brings the land-wind
To the clicking jalousies.

Day long the diamond weather,
The high, unaltered blue--
The smell of goats and incense
And the mule-bells tinkling through.
Day long the warder ocean
That keeps us from our kin,
And once a month our levee
When the English mail comes in.

You'll find us up and waiting
To treat you at the bar;
You'll find us less exclusive
Than the average English are.
We'll meet you with a carriage,
Too glad to show you round,
But-- we do not lunch on steamers,
For they are English ground.

We sail o' nights to England
And join our smiling Boards--
Our wives go in with Viscounts
And our daughters dance with Lords,
But behind our princely doings,
And behind each coup we make,
We feel there's Something Waiting,
And-- we meet It when we wake.

Ah God! One sniff of England--
To greet our flesh and blood--
To hear the traffic slurring
Once more through London mud!
Our towns of wasted honour--
Our streets of lost delight!
How stands the old Lord Warden?
Are Dover's cliffs still white?


04 - The Children's Song (from Puck of Pook's Hill)

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth;
That, in our time, Thy Grace may give
The Truth whereby the Nations live.

Teach us to rule ourselves alway,
Controlled and cleanly night and day;
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.

Teach us to look in all our ends
On Thee for judge, and not our friends;
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favour of the crowd.

Teach us the Strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man's strength to comfort man's distress.

Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men 'neath the sun!

Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
Oh, Motherland, we pledge to thee
Head, heart and hand through the years to be!


05 - Covenent (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!


06 - The Holy War (1917)

"For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that built Mansoul, that the
walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse
potentate unless the townsmen gave consent thereto."--Bunyan's Holy War.)

A tinker out of Bedford,
A vagrant oft in quod,
A privet under Fairfax,
A minister of God--

Two hundred years and thirty
Ere Armageddon came
His single hand portrayed it,
And Bunyan was his name!

He mapped for those who follow,
The world in which we are--
"This famous town of Mansoul"
That takes the Holy War.
Her true and traitor people,
The gates along her wall,
From Eye Gate unto Feel Gate,
John Bunyan showed them all.

All enemy divisions,
Recruits of every class,
And highly-screened positions
For flame or poison-gas;
The craft that we call modern,
The crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had 'em typed and filed
In sixteen Eighty-two.

Likewise the Lords of Looseness
That hamper faith and works,
The Perseverance-Doubters,
And Present-Comfort shirks,
With brittle intellectuals
Who crack beneath a strain--
John Bunyan met that helpful set
In Charles the Second's reign.

Emmanuel's vanguard dying
For right and not for rights,
My Lord Apollyon lying
To the State-kept Stockholmites,
The Pope, the swithering Neutrals
The Kaiser and his Gott--
Their roles, their goals, their naked souls--
He knew and drew the lot.

Now he hath left his quarters,
In Bunhill Fields to lie,
The wisdom that he taught us
Is proven prophecy--
One watchword through our Armies,
One answer from our Lands:--
"No dealings with Diabolus
As long as Mansoul stands!"

A pedlar from a hovel,
The lowest of the low,
The Father of the Novel,
Salvation's first Defoe,
Eight blinded generations
Ere Armageddon came,
He showed us how to meet it,
And Bunyan was his name!


07 - Hymn Before Action (1896)

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions--
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow--
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee--
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone!
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror
Revenge that knows no rein--
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again,
Cloak Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death.

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need--
True comrade and true foeman--
Madonna, intercede!

E'en now their vanguard gathers,
E'en now we face the fray--
As Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host to-day.
Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear--
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear!


08 - How the Whale Got His Throat (From Just So Stories)

When the cabin port-holes are dark and green
Because of the seas outside
When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between)
And steward falls into the soup-tureen,
And trunks begin to slide;
When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap,
And Mummy tells you to let her sleep,
And you aren't waked or washed or dressed,
Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed)
You're "Fifty North and Forty West!"


09 - How the Camel Got His Hump (From Just So Stories)

The Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo,
      We get the hump--
      Cameelious hump--
      The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know' there is one for you)
      When we get the hump--
      Cameelious hump--
      The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind.
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
      Have lifted the hump--
      The horrible hump--
      The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo--
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo!
      We all get hump--
      Cameelious hump--
      Kiddies and grown-ups too!


10 - How the Leopard Got His Spots (From Just So Stories)

I am the Most Wise Baviaan, saying in Most wise tones,
"Let us melt into the landscape--just us two by our lones."
People have come--in a carriage--calling. But Mummy is there . . .
Yes, I can go if you take me--Nurse says she don't care.
Let's go up to the pig-styes and sit on the farmyard rails!
Let's say things to the bunnies, and watch 'em skitter their tails!
Let's'-oh, anything, daddy, so long as it's you and me,
And going truly exploring, and not being in till tea!
Here's your boots (I've brought 'em), and here's your cap and stick,
And here's your pipe and tobacco. Oh, come along out of it--quick!


11 - from The Elephant's Child (From Just So Stories)

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views.
I know a person small--
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes--
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!


12 - The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo (From Just So Stories)

This is the mouth-filling song
Of the race that was run by a Boomer,
Run in a single burst--only event of its kind--
Started by big God Nqong from Warrigaborrigarooma,
Old Man Kangaroo first: Yellow-Dog Dingo behind.

Kangaroo bounded away,
His back-legs working like pistons--
Bounded from morning till dark,
Twenty-five feet to a bound.
Yellow-Dog Dingo lay
Like a yellow cloud in the distance--
Much too busy to bark.
My! but they covered the ground!

Nobody knows where they went,
Or followed the track that they flew in,
For that Continent
Hadn't been given a name.
They ran thirty degrees,
From Torres Straits to the Leeuwin
(Look at the Atlas, please),
And they ran back as they came.

S'posing you could trot
From Adelaide to the Pacific,
For an afternoon's run
Half what these gentlemen did
You would feel rather hot,
But your legs would develop terrific--
Yes, my importunate son,
You'd be a Marvellous Kid!


13 - The Beginning of the Armadillos (From Just So Stories)

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--
He's 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!


14 - The Crab That Played with the Sea (From Just So Stories)

China-going P. & 0.'s
Pass Pau Amma's playground close,
And his Pusat Tasek lies
Near the track of most B.I.'s.
N.Y.K. and N.D.L.
Know Pau Amma's home as well
As the Fisher of the Sea knows
"Bens," M.M.'s and Rubattinos.
But (and this is rather queer )
A.T.L.'s can not come here;
0. and 0. and D.0.A.
Must go round another way.
Orient, Anchor, Bibby, Hall,
Never go that way at all.
U.C.S. would have a fit
If it found itself on it.
And if "Beavers" took their cargoes
To Penang instead of Lagos,
Or a fat Shaw-Savill bore
Passengers to Singapore,
Or a White Star were to try a
Little trip to Sourabaya,
Or a B.S.A. went on
Past Natal to Cheribon,
The great Mr. Lloyds would come
With a wire and drag them home!

You will know what my riddle means
When you've eaten mangosteens.


15 - The Cat That Walked by Himself (From Just So Stories)

Pussy can sit by the fire and sing,
Pussy can climb a tree,
Or play with a silly old cork and string
To 'muse herself, not me.
But I like Binkie my dog, because
He knows how to behave;
So, Binkie's the same as the First Friend was,
And I am the Man in Cave!
Pussy will play Man Friday till
It's time to wet her paw
And make her walk on the window-sill
(For the footprint Crusoe saw)
Then she fluffles her tail and mews,
And scratches and won't attend.
But Binkie will play whatever I choose,
And he is my true First Friend!
Pussy will rub my knees with her head
Pretending she loves me hard;
But the very minute I go to my bed
Pussy runs out in the yard,
And there she stays till the morning-light;
So I know it is only pretend;
But Binkie, he snores at my feet all night,
And he is my Firstest Friend!


16 - How the Rhinoceros got His Skin (From Just So Stories)

This Uninhabited Island
Is near Cape Gardafui,
By the beaches of Socotra
And the Pink Arabian Sea:
But it's hot -- too hot from Suez
For the likes of you and me
Ever to go
In a P. & 0.
To call on the Cake Parsee!


17 - The Butterfly That Stamped (From Just So Stories)

There was never a Queen like Balkis,
From here to the wide world's end;
But Balkis talked to a butterfly
As you would talk to a friend.
There was never a King like Solomon
Not since the world began;
But Solomon talked to a butterfly
As a man would talk to a man.
She was Queen of Sabea--
And he was Asia's Lord--
But they both of 'em talked to butterflies
When they took their walks abroad!


18 - A Nativity (1914-18)

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!"


19 - Our Fathers of Old - from "A Doctor of Medicine" (Rewards and Fairies)

Excellent herbs had our fathers of old--
Excellent herbs to ease their pain--
Alexanders and Marigold,
Eyebright, Orris, and Elecampane--
Basil, Rocket, Valerian, Rue,
(Almost singing themselves they run)
Vervain, Dittany, Call-me-to-you--
Cowslip, Melilot, Rose of the Sun.
Anything green that grew out of the mould
Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old.

Wonderful tales had our fathers of old,
Wonderful tales of the herbs and the stars-
The Sun was Lord of the Marigold,
Basil and Rocket belonged to Mars.
Pat as a sum in division it goes--
(Every herb had a planet bespoke)--
Who but Venus should govern the Rose?
Who but Jupiter own the Oak?
Simply and gravely the facts are told
In the wonderful books of our fathers of old.

Wonderful little, when all is said,
Wonderful little our fathers knew.
Half their remedies cured you dead--
Most of their teaching was quite untrue--
"Look at the stars when a patient is ill.
(Dirt has nothing to do with disease),
Bleed and blister as much as you will,
Blister and bleed him as oft as you please."
Whence enormous and manifold
Errors were made by our fathers of old.

Yet when the sickness was sore in the land,
And neither planets nor herbs assuaged,
They took their lives in their lancet-hand
And, oh, what a wonderful war they waged!
Yes, when the crosses were chalked on the door-
(Yes, when the terrible dead-cart rolled! )
Excellent courage our fathers bore--
None too learned, but nobly bold
Into the fight went our fathers of old.

If it be certain, as Galen says--
And sage Hippocrates holds as much--
"That those afflicted by doubts and dismays
Are mightily helped by a dead man's touch,"
Then, be good to us, stars above!
Then, be good to us, herbs below!
We are afflicted by what we can prove,
We are distracted by what we know.
So-ah, so!
Down from your heaven or up from your mould
Send us the hearts of our Fathers of old!


20 - The Thousandth Man - based on Ecclesiastes 7:28

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for 'ee,
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory,
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don't matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in you daily walk
As thought there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he's worth 'em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight-
With that for your only reason!
Nine thousand and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot--and after!


21 - L'Envoi

When Earth's last picture is painted, and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors 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 set us to work anew.

And those who were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comet's 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 the 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!


22 - The Way Through the Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a path through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemonies.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ringdove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night air cools on the trout-ring'd pools
Where the otter whistles his mate
(They fear not men in the woods
Because they see so few),
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods . . .
But there is no road through the woods.


23 - The Explanation

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?


24 - If (J.P. McEvoy's version of this for girls can be found by Googling.)

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 all 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!


25 - Gunga Din

You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
             He was "Din! Din! Din!
      You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
             Hi! slippery hitherao!
             Water, get it! Panee lao!       (panee lao - bring water quickly)
      You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din."

The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
An' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted "Harry By!"      (Harry by - Oh, brother)
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
             It was "Din! Din! Din!
      You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
             You put some juldee in it       (juldee-be quick)
             Or I'll marrow you this minute              (marrow- hit)
      If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"

'E would dot an' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut,
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back,              (mussick- water skin)
'E would skip with our attack,
An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire",
An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
             It was "Din! Din! Din!"
      With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
             When the cartridges ran out,
             You could hear the front-files shout,
      "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"

I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
             It was "Din! Din! Din!
      'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
             'E's chawin' up the ground,
             An' 'e's kickin' all around:
      For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!"

'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone--
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
             Yes, Din! Din! Din!
      You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
             Though I've belted you and flayed you,
             By the livin' Gawd that made you,
      You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!


26 - The Overland-Mail

In the name of the Empress of India, make way,
O Lords of the Jungle wherever you roam,
The woods are astir at the close of the day--
We exiles are waiting for letters from Home--
Let the robber retreat; let the tiger turn tail,
In the name of the Empress the Overland-Mail!

With a jingle of bells as the dusk gathers in,
He turns to the foot-path that leads up the hill--
The bags on his back, and a cloth round his chin,
And, tucked in his belt, the Post-Office bill;--
"Despatched on this date, as received by the rail,
Per runner, two bags of the Overland-Mail."

Is the torrent in spate? He must ford it or swim.
Has the rain wrecked the road? He must climb by the cliff
Does the tempest cry "Halt"? What are tempests to him?
The service admits not a "but" or an "if";
While the breath's in his mouth, he must bear without fail,
In the name of the Empress the Overland-Mail.

From aloe to rose-oak, from rose-oak to fir,
From level to upland, from upland to crest,
From rice-field to rock-ridge, from rock-ridge to spur,
Fly the soft-sandalled feet, strains the brawny brown chest.
From rail to ravine--to the peak from the vale--
Up, up through the night goes the Overland-Mail.

There's a speck on the hillside, a dot on the road--
A jingle of bells on the foot-path below--
There's a scuffle above in the monkeys' abode--
The world is awake, and the clouds are aglow--
For the great Sun himself must attend to the hail;--
In the name of the Empress the Overland-Mail.


27 - Seal Lullaby

Oh, hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green,
The moon o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.


28 - Cold Iron (from Rewards and Fairies)

"Gold is for the mistress--silver for the maid--
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade."
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron--Cold Iron--is master of them all."

So he made rebellion 'gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
"Nay!" said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
"But Iron--Cold Iron--shall be master of you all."

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid 'em all along;
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron--Cold Iron--was master of it all!

Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)
"What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?"
"Nay!" said the Baron, "mock not at my fall,
For Iron--Cold Iron--is master of men all."

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown--
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown."
"As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For Iron--Cold Iron--must be master of men all!"

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
"Here is Bread and here is Wine--sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron--Cold Iron--can be master of men all!"

He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread.
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
"See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,
Show Iron--Cold Iron--to be master of men all.

"Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason--I redeem thy fall--
For Iron--Cold Iron--must be master of men all!"

"Crowns are for the valiant--sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!"
"Nay!" said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
"But Iron--Cold Iron--is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!"

Other possibilities:


29 - The Sons of Martha

This poem refers in large part to the following passage in the Bible (Luke 10:38--42, Revised Standard Version):
38. Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, ``Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.'' 41. But the Lord answered her, ``Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42. one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.''

The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains ``Be ye removèd.'' They say to the lesser floods ``Be dry.''
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd---they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit---then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

They finger Death at their gloves' end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden---under the earthline their altars are--
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city's drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren's ways may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd---they know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the feet---they hear the Word---they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and---the Lord He lays it on Martha's Sons!


30 - A Pilgrim's Way

I do not look for holy saints to guide me on my way,
Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray.
If these are added, I rejoice---if not, I shall not mind,
So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind.
For as we come and as we go (and deadly-soon go we!)
The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

Thus I will honour pious men whose virtue shines so bright
(Though none are more amazed than I when I by chance do right),
And I will pity foolish men for woe their sins have bred
(Though ninety-nine per cent. of mine I brought on my own head).
And, Amorite or Eremite, or General Averagee,
The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

And when they bore me overmuch, I will not shake mine ears,
Recalling many thousand such whom I have bored to tears.
And when they labour to impress, I will not doubt nor scoff;
Since I myself have done no less and---sometimes pulled it off.
Yea, as we are and we are not, and we pretend to be,
The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

And when they work me random wrong, as oftentimes hath been,
I will not cherish hate too long (my hands are none too clean).
And when they do me random good I will not feign surprise.
No more than those whom I have cheered with wayside charities.
But, as we give and as we take---whate'er our takings be---
The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

But when I meet with frantic folk who sinfully declare
There is no pardon for their sin, the same I will not spare
Till I have proved that Heaven and Hell which in our hearts we have
Show nothing irredeemable on either side of the grave.
For as we live and as we die---if utter Death there be---
The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!

Deliver me from every pride---the Middle, High, and Low---
That bars me from a brother's side, whatever pride he show.
And purge me from all heresies of thought and speech and pen
That bid me judge him otherwise than I am judged. Amen!
That I may sing of Crowd or King or road-borne company,
That I may labour in my day, vocation and degree,
To prove the same in deed and name, and hold unshakenly
(Where'er I go, whate'er I know, whoe'er my neighbor be)
This single faith in Life and Death and to Eternity:
``The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!''


31 - Cities and Thrones and Powers

Cities and Thrones and Powers,
Stand in Time's eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth,
To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
The Cities rise again.

This season's Daffodil,
She never hears
What change, what chance, what chill,
Cut down last year's:
But with bold countenance,
And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days' continuance
To be perpetual.

So time that is o'er kind,
To all that be,
Ordains us e'en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well-persuaded, saith,
"See how our works endure!"


32 - "For All We Have and Are" (A War Poem)

For all we have and are,
For all our children's fate,
Stand up and meet the war.
The Hun is at the gate!
Our world has passed away
In wantonness o'erthrown.
There is nothing left to-day
But steel and fire and stone.

Though all we knew depart,
The old commandments stand:
"In courage keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."

Once more we hear the word
That sickened earth of old:
"No law except the sword
Unsheathed and uncontrolled,"
Once more it knits mankind,
Once more the nations go
To meet and break and bind
A crazed and driven foe.

Comfort, content, delight--
The ages' slow-bought gain--
They shrivelled in a night,
Only ourselves remain
To face the naked days
In silent fortitude,
Through perils and dismays
Renewd and re-renewed.

Though all we made depart,
The old commandments stand:
"In patience keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."

No easy hopes or lies
Shall bring us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all--
For each one life to give.
Who stands if freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?


33 - The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But...you've given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long--
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


34 - The Choice

The American Spirit Speaks:

To the Judge of Right and Wrong
With Whom fulfillment lies
Our purpose and our power belong,
Our faith and sacrifice.

Let Freedom's land rejoice!
Our ancient bonds are riven;
Once more to use the eternal choice
Of good or ill is given.

Not at a little cost,
Hardly by prayer or tears,
Shall we recover the road we lost
In the drugged and doubting years.

But after the fires and the wrath,
But after searching and pain,
His Mercy opens us a path
To live with ourselves again.

In the Gates of Death rejoice!
We see and hold the good--
Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice
For Freedom's brotherhood.

Then praise the Lord Most High
Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die
And not the living Soul!




More Kipling Poems

The Ballad of the Clampherdown
Recessional
The English Flag


This one might be interesting to read with an older student:

The Female of the Species

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail--
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws--
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale--
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale--
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue--to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity--must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions--not in these her honor dwells--
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions--in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges--even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons--even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish--like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice--which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!


Thanks to Bonnie Buckingham for editing this page!