Kipling Friday

“For All We Have And Are”

1914

For all we have and are,
For all our children's fate,
Stand up and take 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
Renewed 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 hope or lies
Shall bring us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all --
One life for each to give.
What stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?

Kipling Friday

The Female of the Species

1911

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 basking 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 other's 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 honour 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 suave 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 in anguish -- like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it cames 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 enthral 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.

Kipling Friday

The Feet Of the Young Men

1897

Now the Four-way Lodge is opened, now the Hunting Winds are loose — Now the Smokes of Spring go up to clear the brain; Now the Young Men’s hearts are troubled for the whisper of the Trues, Now the Red Gods make their medicine again! Who hath seen the beaver busied? Who hath watched the black-tail mating? Who hath lain alone to hear the wild-goose cry? Who hath worked the chosen water where the ouananiche is waiting, Or the sea-trout’s jumping-crazy for the fly? He must go — go — go away from here! On the other side the world he’s overdue. ‘Send your road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes o’er you, And the Red Gods call for you! So for one the wet sail arching through the rainbow round the bow, And for one the creak of snow-shoes on the crust; And for one the lakeside lilies where the bull-moose waits the cow, And for one the mule-train coughing in the dust. Who hath smelt wood-smoke at twilight? Who hath heard the birch-log burning? Who is quick to read the noises of the night? Let him follow with the others, for the Young Men’s feet are turning Too the camps of proved desire and known delight! Let him go — go, etc. I Do you know the blackened timber — do you know that racing stream ‘ With the raw, right-angled log-jam at the end; And the bar of sun-warmed shingle where a man may bask and dream To the click of shod canoe-poles round the bend? It is there that we are going with our rods and reels and traces, To a silent, smoky Indian that we know — To a couch of new-pulled hemlock, with the starlight on our faces, For the Red Gods call us out and we must go! They must go — go, etc. II Do you know the shallow Baltic where the seas are steep and short, Where the bluff, lee-boarded fishing-luggers ride? Do you know the joy of threshing leagues to leeward of your port On a coast you’ve lost the chart of overside? It is there that I am going, with an extra hand to bale her — Just one able ‘long-shore loafer that I know. He can take his chance of drowning, while I sail and sail and sail her, For the Red Gods call me out and I must go! He must go — go, etc. III Do you know the pile-built village where the sago-dealers trade — Do you know the reek of fish and wet bamboo? Do you know the steaming stillness of the orchid-scented glade When the blazoned, bird-winged butterflies flap through? It is there that I am going with my camphor, net, and boxes, To a gentle, yellow pirate that I know — To my little wailing lemurs, to my palms and flying-foxes, For the Red Gods call me out and I must go! He must go — go, etc. IV Do you know the world’s white roof-tree — do you know that windy rift Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change? Do you know the long day’s patience, belly-down on frozen drift, While the head of heads is feeding out of range? It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie, With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know. I have sworn an oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poli, And the Red Gods call me out and I must go!He must go — go, etc. How the Four-way Lodge is opened — now the Smokes of Council rise — Pleasant smokes, ere yet ‘twixt trail and trail they choose — Now the girths and ropes are tested: now they pack their last supplies: Now our Young Men go to dance before the Trues! Who shall meet them at those altars — who shall light them to that shrine? Velvet-footed, who shall guide them to their goal? Unto each the voice and vision: unto each his spoor and sign — Lonely mountain in the Northland, misty sweat-bath ‘neath the Line — And to each a man that knows his naked soul! White or yellow, black or copper, he is waiting, as a lover, Smoke of funnel, dust of hooves, or beat of train — Where the high grass hides the horseman or the glaring flats discover — Where the steamer hails the landing, or the surf-boat brings the rover — Where the rails run out in sand-rift… Quick! ah, heave the camp-kit over, For the Red Gods make their medicine again!And we go — go — go away from here! On the other side the world we’re overdue! ‘Send the road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes o’er you, And the Red Gods call for you!

Kipling Friday

Certain Maxims Of Hafiz

                                I.
If It be pleasant to look on, stalled in the packed serai,
Does not the Young Man try Its temper and pace ere he buy?
If She be pleasant to look on, what does the Young Man say?
"Lo! She is pleasant to look on, give Her to me to-day!"

                                II.
Yea, though a Kafir die, to him is remitted Jehannum
If he borrowed in life from a native at sixty per cent. per anuum.

                                III.
Blister we not for bursati? So when the heart is vext,
The pain of one maiden's refusal is drowned in the pain of the next.

                                IV.
The temper of chums, the love of your wife, and a new piano's tune --
Which of the three will you trust at the end of an Indian June?

                                 V.
Who are the rulers of Ind -- to whom shall we bow the knee?
Make your peace with the women, and men will make you L. G.

                                 VI.
Does the woodpecker flit round the young ferash?
  Does grass clothe a new-built wall?
Is she under thirty, the woman who holds a boy in her thrall?

                                 VII.
If She grow suddenly gracious -- reflect. Is it all for thee?
The blackbuck is stalked through the bullock, and Man through jealousy.

                                 VIII.
Seek not for favours of women. So shall you find it indeed.
Does not the boar break cover just when you're lighting a weed?

                                  IX. 
If He play, being young and unskilful, for shekels of silver and gold,
Take His money, my son, praising Allah. The kid was ordained to be sold.

                                   X.
With a "weed" among men or horses verily this is the best,
That you work him in office or dog-cart lightly -- but give him no rest.

                                   XI.
Pleasant the snaffle of Courtship, improving the manners and carriage;
But the colt who is wise will abstain from the terrible thorn-bit of Marriage.

                                   XII.
As the thiftless gold of the babul, so is the gold that we spend
On a Derby Sweep, or our neighbour's wife, or the horse that we buy from a friend.

                                   XIII.
The ways of man with a maid be strange, yet simple and tame
To the ways of a man with a horse, when selling or racing that same.

                                    XIV.
In public Her face turneth to thee, and pleasant Her smile when ye meet.
It is ill. The cold rocks of El-Gidar smile thus on the waves at their feet.
In public Her face is averted; with anger She nameth thy name.
It is well. Was there ever a loser content with the loss of the game?

                                     XV.
If She have spoken a word, remember thy lips are sealed,
And the Brand of the Dog is upon him by whom is the secret revealed.
If She have written a letter, delay not an instant but burn it.
Tear it to pieces, O Fool, and the wind to her mate shall return it!
If there be trouble to Herward, and a lie of the blackest can clear,
Lie, while thy lips can move or a man is alive to hear.

                                     XVI. 
My Son, if a maiden deny thee and scufflingly bid thee give o'er,             
Yet lip meets with lip at the last word, get out!
  She has been there before.
They are pecked on the ear and the chin and the nose who are lacking in lore.

                                     XVII.
If we fall in the race, though we win, the hoof-slide is scarred on the course.
Though Allah and Earth pardon Sin, remaineth for ever Remorse.

                                     XVIII.
"By all I am misunderstood!" if the Matron shall say, or the Maid: --
"Alas! I do not understand," my son, be thou nowise afraid.
In vain in the sight of the Bird is the net of the Fowler displayed.

                                       XIX.
My son, if I, Hafiz, thy Father, take hold of thy knees in my pain,
Demanding thy name on stamped paper, one day or one hour -- refrain.
Are the links of thy fetters so light that thou cravest another man's chain?

Kipling Friday

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!

Call The Shots

My day job involves hunting submarines. It’s a highly scientific process that, like most Naval Warfare requires a healthy amount of wild ass guesses and improvisation because the real world rarely conforms to the neat formulas of the classroom and laboratory. The actual tracking and prosecution of a submarine by surface and air assets requires an entire team of watchstanders to operate the SONARs and interpret the data that they provide. My job is to form all of that information into single picture of the battlespace and then determine how to maneuver the ship in order to sink the submarine or at least defend other ships in the area.

As in most leadership positions, mine is largely an exercise in communication and decision-making.  The decision-making portion can be the most aggravating at times. Communication usually takes care of itself, but the processing of the vast amounts of data coming from all of the different pieces of the puzzle can be aggravating. Often times the data is contradictory or doesn’t fit the projected models neatly. And sometimes, my adversary does something completely unpredictable that doesn’t jive tactically. This causes frustration, just as all decision-making can.

But sometimes you have to stand back, look at everything in front of you, and then trust your gut because it’s your job to make decisions. In the Anti-Submarine Warfare world that requires focusing on the information you know, trying to make logical inferences based upon your understanding of your enemy’s tactics, and then doign something; anything. Theodore Roosevelt was famous for saying: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

This holds true in all avenues of leadership. Your people look up to you for a decision. That’s the reason you were put on this earth, to provide them direction in moments of crisis, when their ability to chart a course of action fails them. It can maddeningly difficult at times, but you have to do it, and no amount of hand-wringing or garment-wrenching will save you from it. So simply put, make the decision, break that institutional inertia, and then make course corrections as necessary afterwards in order to achieve your end goals.

Kipling Friday

Bridge-Guard in the Karroo

               1901

 ". . . and will supply details to guard the Blood River Bridge."
 District Orders-Lines of Communication, South African War.
Sudden the desert changes,
  The raw glare softens and clings,
Till the aching Oudtshoorn ranges
  Stand up like the thrones of Kings --

Ramparts of slaughter and peril --
  Blazing, amazing, aglow --
'Twixt the sky-line's belting beryl
  And the wine-dark flats below.

Royal the pageant closes,
  Lit by the last of the sun --
Opal and ash-of-roses,
  Cinnamon, umber, and dun.

The twilight swallows the thicket,
  The starlight reveals the ridge.
The whistle shrills to the picket --
  We are changing guard on the bridge.

(Few, forgotten and lonely,
  Where the empty metals shine --
No, not combatants-only
  Details guarding the line.)

We slip through the broken panel
  Of fence by the ganger's shed;
We drop to the waterless channel
  And the lean track overhead;

We stumble on refuse of rations,
  The beef and the biscuit-tins;
We take our appointed stations,
  And the endless night begins.

We hear the Hottentot herders
  As the sheep click past to the fold --
And the click of the restless girders
  As the steel contracts in the cold --

Voices of jackals calling
  And, loud in the hush between,
A morsel of dry earth falling
  From the flanks of the scarred ravine.

And the solemn firmament marches,
  And the hosts of heaven rise
Framed through the iron arches --
  Banded and barred by the ties,

Till we feel the far track humming,
  And we see her headlight plain,
And we gather and wait her coming --
  The wonderful north-bound train.

(Few, forgotten and lonely,
  Where the white car-windows shine --
No, not combatants-only
  Details guarding the line.)

Quick, ere the gift escape us!
  Out of the darkness we reach
For a handful of week-old papers
  And a mouthful of human speech.

And the monstrous heaven rejoices,
  And the earth allows again,
Meetings, greetings, and voices
  Of women talking with men.

So we return to our places,
  As out on the bridge she rolls;
And the darkness covers our faces,
  And the darkness re-enters our souls.

More than a little lonely   
  Where the lessening tail-lights shine.
No - not combatants - only
  Details guarding the line!

Kipling Friday

“Back To the Army Again”

I'm 'ere in a ticky ulster an' a broken billycock 'at,
A-layin' on the sergeant I don't know a gun from a bat;
My shirt's doin' duty for jacket, my sock's stickin' out o' my boots,
An' I'm learnin' the damned old goose-step along o' the new recruits!

        Back to Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        Don't look so 'ard, for I 'aven't no card,
          I'm back to the Army again!

I done my six years' service. 'Er Majesty sez: "Good day --
You'll please to come when you're rung for, an' 'ere's your 'ole back-pay:
An' fourpence a day for baccy -- an' bloomin' gen'rous, too;
An' now you can make your fortune -- the same as your orf'cers do."

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        'Ow did I learn to do right-about-turn?
          I'm back to the Army again!

A man o' four-an'-twenty that 'asn't learned of a trade --
Beside "Reserve" agin' him -- 'e'd better be never made.
I tried my luck for a quarter, an' that was enough for me,
An' I thought of 'Er Majesty's barricks, an' I thought I'd go an' see.

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        'Tisn't my fault if I dress when I 'alt --
          I'm back to the Army again!

The sergeant arst no questions, but 'e winked the other eye,
'E sez to me, " 'Shun!" an' I shunted, the same as in days gone by;
For 'e saw the set o' my shoulders, an' I couldn't 'elp 'oldin' straight
When me an' the other rookies come under the barrik-gate.

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        'Oo would ha' thought I could carry an' port?
          I'm back to the Army again!

I took my bath, an' I wallered -- for, Gawd, I needed it so!
I smelt the smell o' the barricks, I 'eard the bugles go.
I 'eard the feet on the gravel -- the feet o' the men what drill --
An' I sez to my flutterin' 'eart-strings, I sez to 'em, "Peace, be still!"

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        'Oo said I knew when the troopship was due?
          I'm back to the Army again!

I carried my slops to the tailor; I sez to 'im, "None o' your lip!
You tight 'em over the shoulders, an' loose 'em over the 'ip,
For the set o' the tunic's 'orrid." An' 'e sez to me, "Strike me dead,
But I thought you was used to the business!" an' so 'e done what I said.

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        Rather too free with my fancies? Wot -- me?
          I'm back to the Army again!

Next week I'll 'ave 'em fitted; I'll buy me a swagger-cane;
They'll let me free o' the barricks to walk on the Hoe again,
In the name o' William Parsons, that used to be Edward Clay,
An' -- any pore beggar that wants it can draw my fourpence a day!

        Back to the Army again, sergeant,
          Back to the Army again.
        Out o' the cold an' the rain, sergeant,
          Out o' the cold an' the rain.
                        'Oo's there?

A man that's too good to be lost you,
  A man that is 'andled an' made --
A man that will pay what 'e cost you
  In learnin' the others their trade -- parade!
You're droppin' the pick o' the Army
  Because you don't 'elp 'em remain,
But drives 'em to cheat to get out o' the street
  An' back to the Army again!

Kipling Friday

The Dove of Dacca

1892

The freed dove flew to the Rajah's tower --
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings --
And the thorns have covered the city of Gaur,
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Little white traitor, with woe on thy wings!

The Rajah of Dacca rode under the wall;
  He set in his bosom a dove of flight --
"If she return, be sure that I fall."
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Pressed to his heart in the thick of the fight.

"Fire the palace, the fort, and the keep --
  Leave to the foeman no spoil at all.     
In the flame of the palace lie down and sleep
  If the dove -- if the dove -- if the homing dove
Come, and alone, to the palace wall."

The Kings of the North they were scattered abroad --
  The Rajah of Dacca he slew them all.
Hot from slaughter he stooped at the ford,
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove!
She thought of her cote on the palace-wall.

She opened her wings and she flew away --
  Fluttered away beyond recall;
She came to the palace at break of day.
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
Flying so fast for a kingdom's fall!

The Queens of Dacca they slept in flame
  Slept in the flame of the palace old --
To save their honour from Moslem shame.
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove,
She cooed to her young where the smoke-cloud rolled!

The Rajah of Dacca rode far and fleet,
  Followed as fast as a horse could fly,
He came and the palace was black at his feet;
  And the dove -- the dove -- the homing dove,
Circled alone in the stainless sky.

So the dove flew to the Rajah's tower --
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings;
So the thorns covered the city of Gaur,
  And Dacca was lost for a white dove's wings.
Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
  Dacca is lost from the Roll of the Kings!

Kipling Friday

By Lord Byron:

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
 
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
 
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
 
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
 
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
 
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

Kipling Friday

This is awfully fitting for I am off on the Great Campaign, away from my homeland and loved ones:

A Departure

“The Parable of Boy Jones”
From “Land and Sea Tales”

Since first the White Horse Banner blew free,
  By Hengist's horde unfurled,
Nothing has changed on land or sea
  Of the things that steer the world.
(As it was when the long-ships scudded through the gale
  So it is where the Liners go.)
Time and Tide, they are both in a tale-- 
  "Woe to the weaker -- woe! "

No charm can bridle the hard-mouthed wind
  Or smooth the fretting swell.
No gift can alter the grey Sea's mind,
  But she serves the strong man well.
(As it is when her uttermost deeps are stirred
  So it is where the quicksands show,)
All the waters have but one word--
  "Woe to the weaker -- woe! "

The feast is ended, the tales are told,
  The dawn is overdue,
And we meet on the quay in the whistling cold
  Where the galley waits her crew.
Out with the torches, they have flared too long,
  And bid the harpers go.
Wind and warfare have but one song--
  "Woe to the weaker -- woe!"

Hail to the great oars gathering way,
  As the beach begins to slide!
Hail to the war-shields' click and play
  As they lift along our side!
Hail to the first wave over the bow--
  Slow for the sea-stroke! Slow!--
All the benches are grunting now:--
  "Woe to the weaker -- woe!"

Kipling Friday

By Sir Walter Raleigh:

As You Came from the Holy Land

As you came from the holy land
Of Walsingham,
Met you not with my true love
By the way as you came?
‘How shall I know your true love,
That have met many one,
I went to the holy land,
That have come, that have gone?’
She is neither white, nor brown,
But as the heavens fair;
There is none hath a form so divine
In the earth, or the air.
‘Such a one did I meet, good sir,
Such an angelic face,
Who like a queen, like a nymph, did appear
By her gait, by her grace.’
She hath left me here all alone,
All alone, as unknown,
Who sometimes did me lead with herself,
And me loved as her own.
‘What’s the cause that she leaves you alone,
And a new way doth take,
Who loved you once as her own,
And her joy did you make?’
I have lov’d her all my youth;
But now old, as you see,
Love likes not the falling fruit
From the withered tree.
Know that Love is a careless child,
And forgets promise past;
He is blind, he is deaf when he list,
And in faith never fast.
His desire is a dureless content,
And a trustless joy:
He is won with a world of despair,
And is lost with a toy.
Of womenkind such indeed is the love,
Or the word love abus’d,
Under which many childish desires
And conceits are excus’d.
But true love is a durable fire,
In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never old, never dead,
From itself never turning.

Kipling Friday

By Sir Walter Raleigh:

His Pilgrimage

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage;
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body’s balmer;
No other balm will there be given:
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss;
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before;
But, after, it will thirst no more.

Kipling Friday

By Lord Byron:

The Eve of Waterloo

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it? — No; ’twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! — that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is — it is — the cannon’s opening roar!
Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne’er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips — “The foe! they come! they come!”

Kipling Friday

By Lord Byron:

Prometheus

TITAN! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity’s recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness,
And then is jealous lest the sky
Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless.
 
Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable Heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
The ruling principle of Hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refus’d thee even the boon to die:
The wretched gift Eternity
Was thine–and thou hast borne it well.
All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell;
And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
And in his Soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread so ill dissembled,
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
 
Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself–and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry
Its own concenter’d recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.