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.

Kipling Friday

By Lord Byron:

We’ll Go No More A-Roving

So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
 
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have a rest.
 
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

Kipling Friday

By Lord Byron:

When We Two Parted

WHEN we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:
Lond, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
I secret we met–
I silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

Kipling Friday

Yet another divergence from the standard Kipling fare offered here:

The Call of the Wild by Robert Service

Have you gazed on naked grandeur
where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills,
have you galloped o’er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa?
Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.

Have you known the Great White Silence,
not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies).
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is,
can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew).
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.

They have cradled you in custom,
they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching —
But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.

Kipling Friday

The following is Ulysses by Tennyson:

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: But every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bounds of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachos,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle-
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port, the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have tol’d and wrought, and thought with me-
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads – you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

Kipling Friday

As a proper sea-faring man, I find the following prayer penned by Sir Francis Drake moving.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

 

Kipling Friday

The English Way

1929

After the fight at Otterburn, 
        Before the ravens came, 
The Witch-wife rode across the fern 
        And spoke Earl Percy's name. 

"Stand up-stand up, Northumberland! 
        I bid you answer true,
If England's King has under his hand 
        A Captain as good as you?"

Then up and spake the dead Percy-
        Oh, but his wound was sore!
"Five hundred Captains as good," said he, 
        "And I trow five hundred more.

"But I pray you by the lifting skies, 
        And the young wind over the grass, 
That you take your eyes from off my eyes, 
        And let my spirit pass."

"Stand up-stand up, Northumberland! 
        I charge you answer true,
If ever you dealt in steel and brand, 
        How went the fray with you?" 

"Hither and yon," the Percy said; 
        "As every fight must go;
For some they fought and some they fled, 
        And some struck ne'er a blow.

"But I pray you by the breaking skies, 
        And the first call from the nest,
That you turn your eyes away from my eyes, 
        And let me to my rest."

"Stand up-stand up, Northumberland!
        I will that you answer true,
If you and your men were quick again, 
        How would it be with you?"

"Oh, we would speak of hawk and hound, 
        And the red deer where they rove, 
And the merry foxes the country round, 
        And the maidens that we love.

"We would not speak of steel or steed, 
        Except to grudge the cost;
And he that had done the doughtiest deed 
        Would mock himself the most.

"But I pray you by my keep and tower, 
        And the tables in my hall,
And I pray you by my lady's bower 
        (Ah, bitterest of all!)

"That you lift your eyes from outen my eyes, 
        Your hand from off my breast,
And cover my face from the red sun-rise, 
        And loose me to my rest!"

She has taken her eyes from out of his eyes-
        Her palm from off his breast,
And covered his face from the red sun-rise, 
        And loosed him to his rest.

"Sleep you, or wake, Northumberland-
        You shall not speak again,
And the word you have said 'twixt quick and dead 
        I lay on Englishmen.

"So long as Severn runs to West 
        Or Humber to the East,
That they who bore themselves the best 
        Shall count themselves the least. 

"While there is fighting at the ford, 
        Or flood along the Tweed,
That they shall choose the lesser word 
        To cloke the greater deed.

"After the quarry and the kill-
        The fair fight and the fame-
With an ill face and an ill grace 
        Shall they rehearse the same. 

"Greater the deed, greater the need 
        Lightly to laugh it away,

Shall be the mark of the English breed 
        Until the Judgment Day!"

 

Kipling Friday

Et Dona Ferentes

1896

In extended observation of the ways and works of man,
From the Four-mile Radius roughly to the Plains of Hindustan: 
I have drunk with mixed assemblies, seen the racial ruction rise, 
And the men of half Creation damning half Creation's eyes.

I have watched them in their tantrums, all that Pentecostal crew, 
French, Italian, Arab, Spaniard, Dutch and Greek, and Russ and Jew,
Celt and savage, buff and ochre, cream and yellow, mauve and white,
But it never really mattered till the English grew polite;

Till the men with polished toppers, till the men in long frock-coats,
Till the men who do not duel, till the men who war with votes, 
Till the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Lawrence took his grid,
Began to "beg your pardon" and-the knowing croupier hid. 

Then the bandsmen with their fiddles, and the girls that bring the beer,
Felt the psychological moment, left the lit Casino clear; 
But the uninstructed alien, from the Teuton to the Gaul, 
Was entrapped, once more, my country, by that suave, deceptive drawl.

As it was in ancient Suez or 'neath wilder, milder skies,
I "observe with apprehension" how the racial ructions rise; 
And with keener apprehension, if I read the times aright, 
Hear the old Casino order: "Watch your man, but be polite. 

“Keep your temper. Never answer (that was why they spat and swore).
Don't hit first, but move together (there's no hurry) to the door. 
Back to back, and facing outward while the linguist tells 'em how -
`Nous sommes allong ar notre batteau, nous ne voulong pas un row.'"

So the hard, pent rage ate inward, till some idiot went too far... 
"Let 'em have it!" and they had it, and the same was merry war -
Fist, umbrella, cane, decanter, lamp and beer-mug, chair and boot -
Till behind the fleeing legions rose the long, hoarse yell for loot. 

Then the oil-cloth with its numbers, like a banner fluttered free; 
Then the grand piano cantered, on three castors, down the quay; 
White, and breathing through their nostrils, silent, systematic, swift -
They removed, effaced, abolished all that man could heave or lift. 

Oh, my country, bless the training that from cot to castle runs -
The pitfall of the stranger but the bulwark of thy sons -
Measured speech and ordered action, sluggish soul and un - perturbed,
Till we wake our Island-Devil-nowise cool for being curbed! 

When the heir of all the ages "has the honour to remain,"
When he will not hear an insult, though men make it ne'er so plain,
When his lips are schooled to meekness, when his back is bowed to blows -
Well the keen aas-vogels know it-well the waiting jackal knows. 

Build on the flanks of Etna where the sullen smoke-puffs float -
Or bathe in tropic waters where the lean fin dogs the boat -
Cock the gun that is not loaded, cook the frozen dynamite -
But oh, beware my Country, when my Country grows polite!

 

Kipling Friday

The Glories

1925

IN FAITHS and Food and Books and Friends 
   Give every soul her choice.
For such as follow divers ends 
   In divers lights rejoice. 

There is a glory of the Sun 
   ('Pity it passeth soon!)
But those whose work is nearer done 
   Look, rather, towards the Moon. 

There is a glory of the Moon 
   When the hot hours have run;
But such as have not touched their noon 
   Give worship to the Sun.

There is a glory of the Stars, 
   Perfect on stilly ways;
But such as follow present wars 
   Pursue the Comet's blaze. 

There is a glory in all things; 
   But each must find his own, 
Sufficient for his reckonings, 
   Which is to him alone.