Masterpieces of

World Literature


 

(CONTENTS)


 

 

 



 

 

 

 


Rudyard Kipling

 

Rudyard Kipling

British writer
in full Joseph Rudyard Kipling
born Dec. 30, 1865, Bombay, India
died Jan. 18, 1936, London, Eng.

Main
English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, his tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.

Life
Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling, was an artist and scholar who had considerable influence on his son’s work, became curator of the Lahore museum, and is described presiding over this “wonder house” in the first chapter of Kim, Rudyard’s most famous novel. His mother was Alice Macdonald, two of whose sisters married the highly successful 19th-century painters Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Sir Edward Poynter, while a third married Alfred Baldwin and became the mother of Stanley Baldwin, later prime minister. These connections were of lifelong importance to Kipling.

Much of his childhood was unhappy. Kipling was taken to England by his parents at the age of six and was left for five years at a foster home at Southsea, the horrors of which he described in the story Baa Baa, Black Sheep (1888). He then went on to the United Services College at Westward Ho, north Devon, a new, inexpensive, and inferior boarding school. It haunted Kipling for the rest of his life—but always as the glorious place celebrated in Stalky & Co. (1899) and related stories: an unruly paradise in which the highest goals of English education are met amid a tumult of teasing, bullying, and beating. The Stalky saga is one of Kipling’s great imaginative achievements. Readers repelled by a strain of brutality—even of cruelty—in his writings should remember the sensitive and shortsighted boy who was brought to terms with the ethos of this deplorable establishment through the demands of self-preservation.

Kipling returned to India in 1882 and worked for seven years as a journalist. His parents, although not officially important, belonged to the highest Anglo-Indian society, and Rudyard thus had opportunities for exploring the whole range of that life. All the while he had remained keenly observant of the thronging spectacle of native India, which had engaged his interest and affection from earliest childhood. He was quickly filling the journals he worked for with prose sketches and light verse. He published the verse collection Departmental Ditties in 1886, the short-story collection Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and between 1887 and 1889 he brought out six paper-covered volumes of short stories. Among the latter were Soldiers Three, The Phantom Rickshaw (containing the story The Man Who Would Be King), and Wee Willie Winkie (containing Baa, Baa, Black Sheep). When Kipling returned to England in 1889, his reputation had preceded him, and within a year he was acclaimed as one of the most brilliant prose writers of his time. His fame was redoubled upon the publication in 1892 of the verse collection Barrack-Room Ballads, which contained such popular poems as Mandalay, Gunga Din, and Danny Deever. Not since the English poet Lord Byron had such a reputation been achieved so rapidly. When the poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson died in 1892, it may be said that Kipling took his place in popular estimation.

In 1892 Kipling married Caroline Balestier, the sister of Wolcott Balestier, an American publisher and writer with whom he had collaborated in The Naulahka (1892), a facile and unsuccessful romance. That year the young couple moved to the United States and settled on Mrs. Kipling’s property in Vermont, but their manners and attitudes were considered objectionable by their neighbours. Unable or unwilling to adjust to life in America, the Kiplings returned to England in 1896. Ever after Kipling remained very aware that Americans were “foreigners,” and he extended to them, as to the French, no more than a semiexemption from his proposition that only “lesser breeds” are born beyond the English Channel.

Besides numerous short-story collections and poetry collections such as The Seven Seas (1896), Kipling published his best-known novels in the 1890s and immediately thereafter. His novel The Light That Failed (1890) is the story of a painter going blind and spurned by the woman he loves. Captains Courageous (1897), in spite of its sense of adventure, is often considered a poor novel because of the excessive descriptive writing. Kim (1901), although essentially a children’s book, must be considered a classic. The Jungle Books (1894 and 1895) is a stylistically superb collection of stories linked by poems for children. These books give further proof that Kipling excelled at telling a story but was inconsistent in producing balanced, cohesive novels.

In 1902 Kipling bought a house at Burwash, Sussex, which remained his home until his death. Sussex was the background of much of his later writing—especially in Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910), two volumes that, although devoted to simple dramatic presentations of English history, embodied some of his deepest intuitions. In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first Englishman to be so honoured. In South Africa, where he spent much time, he was given a house by Cecil Rhodes, the diamond magnate and South African statesman. This association fostered Kipling’s imperialist persuasions, which were to grow stronger with the years. These convictions are not to be dismissed in a word; they were bound up with a genuine sense of a civilizing mission that required every Englishman, or, more broadly, every white man, to bring European culture to the heathen natives of the uncivilized world. Kipling’s ideas were not in accord with much that was liberal in the thought of the age, and as he became older he was an increasingly isolated figure. When he died, two days before King George V, he must have seemed to many a far less representative Englishman than his sovereign.


Assessment
Kipling’s poems and stories were extraordinarily popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, but after World War I his reputation as a serious writer suffered through his being widely viewed as a jingoistic imperialist. As a poet he scarcely ranks high, although his rehabilitation was attempted by so distinguished a critic as T.S. Eliot. His verse is indeed vigorous, and in dealing with the lives and colloquial speech of common soldiers and sailors it broke new ground. But balladry, music-hall song, and popular hymnology provide its unassuming basis; and even at its most serious—as in Recessional (1897) and similar pieces in which Kipling addressed himself to his fellow countrymen in times of crisis—the effect is rhetorical rather than imaginative.

But it is otherwise with Kipling’s prose. In the whole sweep of his adult storytelling, he displays a steadily developing art, from the early volumes of short stories set in India through the collections Life’s Handicap (1891), Many Inventions (1893), The Day’s Work (1898), Traffics and Discoveries (1904), Actions and Reactions (1909), Debits and Credits (1926), and Limits and Renewals (1932). While his later stories cannot exactly be called better than the earlier ones, they are as good—and they bring a subtler if less dazzling technical proficiency to the exploration of deeper though sometimes more perplexing themes. It is a far cry from the broadly effective eruption of the supernatural in The Phantom Rickshaw (1888) to its subtle exploitation in The Wish House or A Madonna of the Trenches (1924), or from the innocent chauvinism of the bravura The Man Who Was (1890) to the depth of implication beneath the seemingly insensate xenophobia of Mary Postgate (1915). There is much in Kipling’s later art to curtail its popular appeal. It is compressed and elliptical in manner and sombre in many of its themes. The author’s critical reputation declined steadily during his lifetime—a decline that can scarcely be accounted for except in terms of political prejudice. Paradoxically, postcolonial critics later rekindled an intense interest in his work, viewing it as both symptomatic and critical of imperialist attitudes.

Kipling, it should be noted, wrote much and successfully for children; for the very young in Just So Stories (1902), and for others in The Jungle Books and in Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies. Of his miscellaneous works, the more notable are a number of early travel sketches collected in two volumes in From Sea to Sea (1899) and the unfinished Something of Myself, posthumously published in 1941, a reticent essay in autobiography.

John I.M. Stewart

 

 

Kim

Rudyard Kipling
1865-1936

In this imperialist bildungsroman the young hero an Irish orphan, matures from a Lahore street-urchir into an invaluable member of the British Secre: Service. Kipling equates Kim's personal maturit;. with a wider cultural maturity, linking the boys journey into manliness with one from native childishness to an adult European civilization.These two ideas are deeply entwined in the novel as Kim must trade in the education of the street for that of a military boarding school, and the languages of India for his native tongue. Kipling's own language full) supports this hierarchy, so that the supposedl) immature cultures of Asia are expressed through a deliberately archaic idiom.
Kipling has been rightly seen as an apologist for British imperialism; in Kim there is little doubt that British rule is the best thing for India. Moreover, as a Sahib who is a master of disguise, able to successfully appear as a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Buddhist-mendicant, Kim embodies the notion of western mastery over the Asiatic cultures.
Nevertheless, this view of Kipling's writing does not do justice to the complexity of his vision of India. Kipling frequently identifies similarities between the cultures of India and those of the Europeans-in-India.The Irish soldiers who discover Kim are just as superstitious and credulous as the Indian travelers on the Grand Trunk Road, and the Buddhist priest who shares responsibility for Kim's education with Creighton, the English surveyor and spy master, presents a perspective on India remarkably similar to Creighton's own. One of the charms of this novel is as a survey of India, and, though it repeatedly lumps together the "oriental" as an undifferentiated mass, its descriptions of individual Indians stresses the brightness and diversity of Indian public life.

 


KIM
 

Òyðå of work: Novel
Author: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Type of plot: Adventure romance
Time of plot: Late nineteenth century
Locale: British India
First published: 1901

 

Kim gives a vivid picture of the complexities of India under British rule. Kipling's vast canvas, crowded with action and movement, is painted in full detail, showing the life of the bazaar mystics, of the natives, and of the British military.

 

Principal Characters

Kimball O'Hara (Kim), the son of an Irish mother, who died in India when he was born, and an Irish father, who was color sergeant of the regiment called the Mav-ericks and who died and left Kim in the care of a half-caste woman. Kim grows up on the streets of Lahore and his skin becomes so dark that no one can tell he is white. He attaches himself to a Tibetan lama as a chela. Kim is caught by the chaplain of the Maverick regiment, who discovers his real identity. The lama pays for Kim's edu¬cation, and Kim finally distinguishes himself as a member of the British Secret Service.
A Tibetan Lama, who becomes Kim's instructor and whose ambition it is to find the holy River of the Arrow that would wash away all sin. The lama pays for Kim's schooling. After Kim's education is complete, he accompanies the lama in his wanderings, though he is really a member of the secret service. In the end, the lama finds his holy river, a brook on the estate of an old woman who befriends him and Kim.
Mahbub AH, a horse trader who is really a member of the British secret service. Mahbub AH is largely responsible for Kim's becoming a member of the Secret Service.
Colonel Creighton, the director of the British Secret Service, who permits Kim to resume the dress of a street boy and do secret service work.
Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, a babu, and also a member of the secret service. He is Kim's confederate in securing some valuable documents brought into India by spies for the Russians.
 



 

The Story

Kim grew up on the streets of Lahore. His Irish mother had died when he was born. His father, a former color-sergeant of an Irish regiment called the Mavericks, died eventually of drugs and drink and left his son in the care of a half-caste woman. Young Kimball O'Hara then became Kim, and under the hot Indian sun, his skin grew so dark that one could not tell he was a white boy.
One day a Tibetan lama, in search of the holy River of the Arrow that would wash away all sin, came to Lahore. Struck by the possibility of exciting adventure, Kim attached himself to the lama as his chela. His adventures began almost at once. That night at the edge of Lahore, Mahbub Ali, a horse trader, gave Kim a cryptic message to deliver to a British officer in Umballa. Kim did not know that Mahbub was a member of the British Secret Service. He delivered the message as directed and then lay in the grass and watched and listened until he learned that his message meant that eight thousand men would go to war.
Out on the big road, the lama and Kim encountered many people of all sorts. Conversation was easy. One group in particular interested Kim, an old lady traveling in a family bullock cart attended by a retinue of eight men. Kim and the lama attached themselves to her party. Toward evening, they saw a group of soldiers making camp. It was the Maverick regiment. Kim, whose horoscope said that his life would be changed at the sign of a red bull in a field of green, was fascinated by the reg-imental flag, which was just that, a red bull against a background of bright green.
Caught by a chaplain, the Reverend Arthur Bennett, Kim accidentally jerked loose the amulet that he carried around his neck. Mr. Bennett opened the amulet and discovered three papers folded inside, including Kim's baptismal certificate and a note from his father asking that the boy be taken care of. Father Victor arrived in time to see the papers. When Kim had told his story, he was informed that he would be sent away to school. Kim parted sadly from the lama; he was sure, however, that he would soon escape. The lama asked that Father Victor's name and address and the costs of Kim's schooling be written down and given to him. Then he disappeared. Kim, pretending to prophesy, told the priests what he had heard at Umballa. They and the soldiers laughed at him; but the next day his prophecy came true, and eight thou-sand soldiers were sent to put down an uprising in the north. Kim remained in camp.
One day, a letter arrived from the lama. He enclosed enough money for Kim's first year at school and promised to provide the same amount yearly. He requested that the boy be sent to St. Xavier's for his education. Meanwhile, the drummer who was keeping an eye on Kim had been cruel to his charge. When Mahbub Ali came upon the two boys, he gave the drummer a beating and began talking to Kim. While they were thus engaged, Colonel Creighton came up and learned from Mahbub Ali, in an indirect way, that Kim would be, when educated, a valuable member of the secret service.
At last, Kim was on his way to St. Xavier's. Near the school he spied the lama, who had been waiting a day and a half to see him. They agreed to see each other often. Kim was an apt pupil, but he disliked being shut up in classrooms and dormitories. When vacation time came, he went to Umballa and persuaded Mahbub Ali to let him return to the road until school reopened.
Traveling with Mahbub Ali, he played the part of a horse boy and saved the trader's life when he overheard two men plotting to kill the horse dealer. At Simla, Kim stayed with Mr. Lurgan, who taught him a great many subtle tricks and games and the art of makeup and disguise. Just as Mahbub Ali had said, he was now learning the great game, as the work of the secret service was called. At the end of the summer, Kim returned to St. Xavier's and studied there for a total of three years.
In conference with Mr. Lurgan and Colonel Creighton, Mahbub Ali advised that Kim be permitted once more to go out on the road with his lama. Kim's skin was stained dark, and again he resumed the dress of a street boy. Given the password by Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, a babu who was another member of the secret service, Kim set out with his lama after begging a train ticket to Delhi.
Still seeking his river, the lama moved up and down India with Kim as his disciple. The two of them once more encountered the old woman they had met on the road three years before. A little later, Kim was surprised to see the babu, who told him that two of the five kings of the north had been bribed and that the Russians had sent spies down into India through the passes that the kings had agreed to guard. Two men, a Russian and a Frenchman, were to be apprehended, and the babu asked Kim's aid. Kim suggested to the lama a journey into the foothills of the Himalayas, and so he was able to follow the babu on his mission.
During a storm, the babu came upon the two foreigners. Discovering that one of their baskets contained valuable letters including a message from one of the trai-torous kings, he offered to be their guide; in two days, he had led them to the spot where Kim and the lama were camped. When the foreigners tore almost in two a holy drawing made by the lama, the babu created a disturbance in which the coolies, according to plan, carried off the men's luggage. The lama conducted Kim to the village of Shamlegh. There Kim examined all the baggage that the coolies had carried off. He threw everything except letters and notebooks over an unscalable cliff, then he hid the documents on him.
In a few days, Kim and the lama set out again. At last, they came to the house of the old woman who had befriended them twice before. When she saw Kim's ema-ciated condition, she put him to bed, where he slept many days. Before he went to sleep, he asked that a strongbox be brought to him. He deposited his papers in it, locked the box, and hid it under his bed. When he woke up, he heard that the babu had arrived, and Kim delivered the papers to him. The babu told him that Mahbub Ali was also in the vicinity. They assured Kim that he had played his part well in the great game. The old lama knew nothing of these matters. He was happy because Kim had brought him to his river at last, a brook on the old lady's estate.
 



 

Critical Evaluation

Rudyard Kipling wrote many poems, short stories, and novels about India. Whether by design or accident, most of these works assumed a tone that implied acceptance of the caste system and a class-conscious society. This position is diametrically opposed to that of E. M. Forster, who in his classic novel, A Passage to India, castigated British colonial depredations. Kim is a remarkable exception to Kipling's Tory allegiance, for his novel paints an almost affectionate—not condescending—portrait of the Indian masses. It affords sympathetic insight into some of the most important aspects of Indian life, including among them popular beliefs, life in the streets, bazaars, and life on the road.
Popular beliefs are often labeled superstitions when such beliefs are strange or foreign to the one who applies the label, as though the labeler were hardly aware of the pejorative connotations of "superstition." The Tibetan lama thus believes that his search will ultimately lead him to the holy River of Arrow, which will wash away all sin. An Anglo-American reader might scoff a such naivete, whether it is called popular belief or superstition, but Kipling lends both credibility and dignity to the lama's faith by allowing him to find the river at the end of the novel. In this way, as in others dealing with uniquely Indian beliefs, Kipling pays respect to a culture other than his own.
The teeming life on India's streets and in its bazaars is relatively common knowledge today. At the turn of the century, however, it was unfamiliar territory and there-fore quite exotic. Although Kipling did nothing to diminish the exotic ambience of street life, neither did he gloss over its harsh realities. Particularly vivid is the depiction of Kim's early experiences in the streets of Lahore—opium, extortion, fighting, and the like.
With equal verisimilitude, Kipling described the rigors of travel and life on the road. There were dangers, such as the two men who plotted to kill Mahbub Ali; there were discomforts and inconveniences, such as having occasionally to sleep in the open. Nevertheless, a spirit of friendship and hospitality could also be found, as, for example, when the old woman gives the exhausted and emaciated Kim a resting place. All in all, the nostalgic tale captured a flavor of tolerance and humane feeling for the most part lacking in Kipling's other Indian literature.

 

 

 





Poems

 

 

 

Recessional

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

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

 

 

 

The Fires

 

Men make them fires on the hearth
Each under his roof-tree,
And the Four Winds that rule the earth
They blow the smoke to me.

Across the high hills and the sea
And all the changeful skies,
The Four Winds blow the smoke to me
Till the tears are in my eyes.

Until the tears are in my eyes
And my heart is wellnigh broke
For thinking on old memories
That gather in the smoke.

With every shift of every wind
The homesick memories come,
From every quarter of mankind
Where I have made me a home.

Four times a fire against the cold
And a roof against the rain --
Sorrow fourfold and joy fourfold
The Four Winds bring again!

How can I answer which is best
Of all the fires that burn?
I have been too often host or guest
At every fire in turn.

How can I turn from any fire,
On any man's hearthstone?
I know the wonder and desire
That went to build my own!

How can I doubt man's joy or woe
Where'er his house-fires shine.
Since all that man must undergo
Will visit me at mine?

Oh, you Four Winds that blow so strong
And know that his is true,
Stoop for a little and carry my song
To all the men I knew!

Where there are fires against the cold,
Or roofs against the rain --
With love fourfold and joy fourfold,
Take them my songs again!

 

 

 

The Gift of the Sea

The dead child lay in the shroud,
And the widow watched beside;
And her mother slept, and the Channel swept
The gale in the teeth of the tide.

But the mother laughed at all.
"I have lost my man in the sea,
And the child is dead. Be still," she said,
"What more can ye do to me?"

The widow watched the dead,
And the candle guttered low,
And she tried to sing the Passing Song
That bids the poor soul go.

And "Mary take you now," she sang,
"That lay against my heart."
And "Mary smooth your crib to-night,"
But she could not say "Depart."

Then came a cry from the sea,
But the sea-rime blinded the glass,
And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
"'Tis the child that waits to pass."

And the nodding mother sighed:
"'Tis a lambing ewe in the whin,
For why should the christened soul cry out
That never knew of sin?"

"O feet I have held in my hand,
O hands at my heart to catch,
How should they know the road to go,
And how should they lift the latch?"

They laid a sheet to the door,
With the little quilt atop,
That it might not hurt from the cold or the dirt,
But the crying would not stop.

The widow lifted the latch
And strained her eyes to see,
And opened the door on the bitter shore
To let the soul go free.

There was neither glimmer nor ghost,
There was neither spirit nor spark,
And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
"'Tis crying for me in the dark."

And the nodding mother sighed:
"'Tis sorrow makes ye dull;
Have ye yet to learn the cry of the tern,
Or the wail of the wind-blown gull?"

"The terns are blown inland,
The grey gull follows the plough.
'Twas never a bird, the voice I heard,
O mother, I hear it now!"

"Lie still, dear lamb, lie still;
The child is passed from harm,
'Tis the ache in your breast that broke your rest,
And the feel of an empty arm."

She put her mother aside,
"In Mary's name let be!
For the peace of my soul I must go," she said,
And she went to the calling sea.

In the heel of the wind-bit pier,
Where the twisted weed was piled,
She came to the life she had missed by an hour,
For she came to a little child.

She laid it into her breast,
And back to her mother she came,
But it would not feed and it would not heed,
Though she gave it her own child's name.

And the dead child dripped on her breast,
And her own in the shroud lay stark;
And "God forgive us, mother," she said,
"We let it die in the dark!"

 

 

 

As the Bell Clinks

As I left the Halls at Lumley, rose the vision of a comely
Maid last season worshipped dumbly, watched with fervor from afar;
And I wondered idly, blindly, if the maid would greet me kindly.
That was all -- the rest was settled by the clinking tonga-bar.
Yea, my life and hers were coupled by the tonga coupling-bar.

For my misty meditation, at the second changing-station,
Suffered sudden dislocation, fled before the tuneless jar
Of a Wagner obbligato, scherzo, doublehand staccato,
Played on either pony's saddle by the clacking tonga-bar --
Played with human speech, I fancied, by the jigging, jolting bar.

"She was sweet," thought I, "last season, but 'twere surely wild unreason
Such tiny hope to freeze on as was offered by my Star,
When she whispered, something sadly: 'I -- we feel your going badly!'"
"And you let the chance escape you?" rapped the rattling tonga-bar.
"What a chance and what an idiot!" clicked the vicious tonga-bar.

Heart of man -- O heart of putty! Had I gone by Kakahutti,
On the old Hill-road and rutty, I had 'scaped that fatal car.
But his fortune each must bide by, so I watched the milestones slide by,
To "You call on Her to-morrow!" -- no fugue with cymbals by the bar --
You must call on Her to-morrow!" -- post-horn gallop by the bar.

Yet a further stage my goal on -- we were whirling down to Solon,
With a double lurch and roll on, best foot foremost, ganz und gar --
"She was very sweet," I hinted. "If a kiss had been imprinted?" --
"'Would ha' saved a world of trouble!" clashed the busy tonga-bar.
"'Been accepted or rejected!" banged and clanged the tonga-bar.

Then a notion wild and daring, 'spite the income tax's paring,
And a hasty thought of sharing -- less than many incomes are,
Made me put a question private, you can guess what I would drive at.
"You must work the sum to prove it," clanked the careless tonga-bar.
"Simple Rule of Two will prove it," lilted back the tonga-bar.

It was under Khyraghaut I mused. "Suppose the maid be haughty --
There are lovers rich -- and forty -- wait some wealthy Avatar?
Answer, monitor untiring, 'twixt the ponies twain perspiring!"
"Faint heart never won fair lady," creaked the straining tonga-bar.
"Can I tell you ere you ask Her?" pounded slow the tonga-bar.

Last, the Tara Devi turning showed the lights of Simla burning,
Lit my little lazy yearning to a fiercer flame by far.
As below the Mall we jingled, through my very heart it tingled --
Did the iterated order of the threshing tonga-bar --
Try your luck -- you can't do better!" twanged the loosened tongar-bar.

 

 

 

The Bother

Hastily Adam our driver swallowed a curse in the darkness--
Petrol nigh at end and something wrong with a sprocket
Made him speer for the nearest town, when lo! at the crossways
Four blank letterless arms the virginal signpost extended.
"Look!" thundered Hugh the Radical. "This is the England we
boast of--
Bland, white-bellied, obese, but utterly useless for business.
They are repainting the signs and have left the job in the middle.
They are repainting the signs and traffic may stop till they've
done it,
Which is to say: till the son-of-a-gun of a local contractor,
Having laboriously wiped out every name for
Probably thirty miles round, be minded to finish his labour!
Had not the fool the sense to paint out and paint in together?"

Thus, not seeing his speech belied his Radical Gospel
(Which is to paint out the earth and then write "Damn" on the
shutter),
Hugh embroidered the theme imperially and stretched it
From some borough in Wales through our Australian possessions,
Making himself, reformer-wise, a bit of a nuisance
Till, with the help of Adam, we cast him out on the landscape.

 

 

 

Delilah

We have another viceroy now, -- those days are dead and done
Of Delilah Aberyswith and depraved Ulysses Gunne.

Delilah Aberyswith was a lady -- not too young --
With a perfect taste in dresses and a badly-bitted tongue,
With a thirst for information, and a greater thirst for praise,
And a little house in Simla in the Prehistoric Days.

By reason of her marriage to a gentleman in power,
Delilah was acquainted with the gossip of the hour;
And many little secrets, of the half-official kind,
Were whispered to Delilah, and she bore them all in mind.

She patronized extensively a man, Ulysses Gunne,
Whose mode of earning money was a low and shameful one.
He wrote for certain papers, which, as everybody knows,
Is worse than serving in a shop or scaring off the crows.

He praised her "queenly beauty" first; and, later on, he hinted
At the "vastness of her intellect" with compliment unstinted.
He went with her a-riding, and his love for her was such
That he lent her all his horses and -- she galled them very much.

One day, THEY brewed a secret of a fine financial sort;
It related to Appointments, to a Man and a Report.
'Twas almost worth the keeping, -- only seven people knew it --
And Gunne rose up to seek the truth and patiently ensue it.

It was a Viceroy's Secret, but -- perhaps the wine was red --
Perhaps an Aged Councillor had lost his aged head --
Perhaps Delilah's eyes were bright -- Delilah's whispers sweet --
The Aged Member told her what 'twere treason to repeat.

Ulysses went a-riding, and they talked of love and flowers;
Ulysses went a-calling, and he called for several hours;
Ulysses went a-waltzing, and Delilah helped him dance --
Ulysses let the waltzes go, and waited for his chance.

The summer sun was setting, and the summer air was still,
The couple went a-walking in the shade of Summer Hill.
The wasteful sunset faded out in turkis-green and gold,
Ulysses pleaded softly, and . . . that bad Delilah told!

Next morn, a startled Empire learnt the all-important news;
Next week, the Aged Councillor was shaking in his shoes.
Next month, I met Delilah and she did not show the least
Hesitation in affirming that Ulysses was a "beast."

* * * * *

We have another Viceroy now, those days are dead and done --
Off, Delilah Aberyswith and most mean Ulysses Gunne!

 

 

 

The Last Chantey

"And there was no more sea."


Thus said The Lord in the Vault above the Cherubim
Calling to the Angels and the Souls in their degree:
"Lo! Earth has passed away
On the smoke of Judgment Day.
That Our word may be established shall We gather up the sea?"

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners:
"Plague upon the hurricane that made us furl and flee!
But the war is done between us,
In the deep the Lord hath seen us --
Our bones we'll leave the barracout', and God may sink the sea!"

Then said the soul of Judas that betray]\ed Him:
"Lord, hast Thou forgotten Thy covenant with me?
How once a year I go
To cool me on the floe?
And Ye take my day of mercy if Ye take away the sea!"

Then said the soul of the Angel of the Off-shore Wind:
(He that bits the thunder when the bull-mouthed breakers flee):
"I have watch and ward to keep
O'er Thy wonders on the deep,
And Ye take mine honour from me if Ye take away the sea!"

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners:
"Nay, but we were angry, and a hasty folk are we!
If we worked the ship together
Till she foundered in foul weather,
Are we babes that we should clamour for a vengeance on the sea?"

Then said the souls of the slaves that men threw overboard:
"Kennelled in the picaroon a weary band were we;
But Thy arm was strong to save,
And it touched us on the wave,
And we drowsed the long tides idle till Thy Trumpets tore the sea."

Then cried the soul of the stout Apostle Paul to God:
"Once we frapped a ship, and she laboured woundily.
There were fourteen score of these,
And they blessed Thee on their knees,
When they learned Thy Grace and Glory under Malta by the sea!"

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners,
Plucking at their harps, and they plucked unhandily:
"Our thumbs are rough and tarred,
And the tune is something hard --
May we lift a Deep-sea Chantey such as seamen use at sea?"

Then said the souls of the gentlemen-adventurers --
Fettered wrist to bar all for red iniquity:
"Ho, we revel in our chains
O'er the sorrow that was Spain's;
Heave or sink it, leave or drink it, we were masters of the sea!"

Up spake the soul of a gray Gothavn 'speckshioner --
(He that led the flinching in the fleets of fair Dundee):
"Oh, the ice-blink white and near,
And the bowhead breaching clear!
Will Ye whelm them all for wantonness that wallow in the sea?"

Loud sang the souls of the jolly, jolly mariners,
Crying: "Under Heaven, here is neither lead nor lee!
Must we sing for evermore
On the windless, glassy floor?
Take back your golden fiddles and we'll beat to open sea!"

Then stooped the Lord, and He called the good sea up to Him,
And 'stablished his borders unto all eternity,
That such as have no pleasure
For to praise the Lord by measure,
They may enter into galleons and serve Him on the sea.

Sun, wind, and cloud shall fail not from the face of it,
Stinging, ringing spindrift, nor the fulmar flying free;
And the ships shall go abroad
To the Glory of the Lord
Who heard the silly sailor-folk and gave them back their sea!

 

 

 

The Last Ode

As WATCHERS couched beneath a Bantine oak,
Hearing the dawn-wind stir,
Know that the present strength of night is broke
Though no dawn threaten her
Till dawn's appointed hour--so Virgil died,
Aware of change at hand, and prophesied

Change upon all the Eternal Gods had made
And on the Gods alike--
Fated as dawn but, as the dawn, delayed
Till the just hour should strike--

A Star new-risen above the living and dead;
And the lost shades that were our loves restored
As lovers, and for ever. So he said;
Having received the word...

Maecenas waits me on the Esquiline:
Thither to-night go I....
And shall this dawn restore us, Virgil mine
To dawn? Beneath what sky?

 

 

 

The Old Men

This is our lot if we live so long and labour unto the end –
Then we outlive the impatient years and the much too patient friend:
And because we know we have breath in our mouth and think we have thoughts enough in our head,
We shall assume that we are alive, whereas we are really dead.

We shall not acknowledge that old stars fade or stronger planets arise
(That the sere bush buds or the desert blooms or the ancient well-head dries),
Or any new compass wherewith new men adventure ‘neath new skies.

We shall lift up the ropes that constrained our youth, to bind on our children’s hands;
We shall call to the waters below the bridges to return and to replenish our lands;
We shall harness (Death’s own pale horses) and scholarly plough the sands.

We shall lie down in the eye of the sun for lack of a light on our way –
We shall rise up when the day is done and chirrup, “Behold, it is day!”
We shall abide till the battle is won ere we amble into the fray.

We shall peck out and discuss and dissect, and evert and extrude to our mind,
The flaccid tissues of long-dead issues offensive to God and mankind –
(Precisely like vultures over an ox that the army left behind).

We shall make walk preposterous ghosts of the glories we once created –
Immodestly smearing from muddled palettes amazing pigments mismated –
And our friend will weep when we ask them with boasts if our natural force be abated.

The Lamp of our Youth will be utterly out, but we shall subsist on the smell of it;
And whatever we do, we shall fold our hands and suck our gums and think well of it.
Yes, we shall be perfectly pleased with our work, and that is the Perfectest Hell of it!

This is our lot if we live so long and listen to those who love us –
That we are shunned by the people about and shamed by the Powers above us.
Wherefore be free of your harness betimes; but, being free be assured,
That he who hath not endured to the death, from his birth he hath never endured!

 

 

 

The King
"Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said;
"With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these. Farewell, Romance!"

"Farewell, Romance!" the Lake-folk sighed;
"We lift the weight of flatling years;
The caverns of the mountain-side
Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
Guard ye his rest. Romance, farewell!"

"Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke;
"By sleight of sword we may not win,
But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke
Of arquebus and culverin.
Honour is lost, and none may tell
Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell!"

"Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried;
"Our keels have lain with every sea;
The dull-returning wind and tide
Heave up the wharf where we would be;
The known and noted breezes swell
Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!"

"Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said;
"He vanished with the coal we burn.
Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
Our speed is timed to half a turn.
Sure as the ferried barge we ply
'Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!"

"Romance!" the season-tickets mourn,
"He never ran to catch His train,
But passed with coach and guard and horn --
And left the local -- late again!"
Confound Romance!... And all unseen
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.

His hand was on the lever laid,
His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
By dock and deep and mine and mill
The Boy-god reckless laboured still!

Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle,
Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
"Our King was with us -- yesterday!"

 

 

 

The Inventor

Time and Space decreed his lot,
But little Man was quick to note:
When Time and Space said Man might not,
Bravely he answered, "Nay! I mote."

I looked on old New England.
Time and Space stood fast.
Men built altars to Distance
At every mile they passed.

Yet sleek with oil, a Force was hid
Making mock of all they did,
Ready at the appointed hour
To yield up to Prometheus
The secular and well-drilled Power
The Gods secreted thus.

And over high Wantastiquet
Emulous my lightnings ran,
Unregarded but afret,
To fall in with my plan.

I beheld two ministries,
One of air and one of earth --
At a thought I married these,
And my New Age came to birth!

For rarely my purpose errs
Though oft it seems to pause,
And rods and cylinders
Obey my planets' laws.

Oil I drew from the well,
And Franklin's spark from its blue;
Time and Distance fell,
And Man went forth anew.

On the prairie and in the street
So long as my chariots roll
I bind wings to Adam's feet,
And, presently, to his soul!

 

 

 

The Widower

For a season there must be pain--
For a little, little space
I shall lose the sight of her face,
Take back the old life again
While She is at rest in her place.

For a season this pain must endure,
For a little, little while
I shall sigh more often than smile
Till time shall work me a cure,
And the pitiful days beguile.

For that season we must be apart,
For a little length of years,
Till my life's last hour nears,
And, above the beat of my heart,
I hear Her voice in my ears.

But I shall not understand--
Being set on some later love,
Shall not know her for whom I strove,
Till she reach me forth her hand,
Saying, "Who but I have the right?"
And out of a troubled night
Shall draw me safe to the land.

 

 

 

A Tree Song


Of all the trees that grow so fair,
Old England to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun,
Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs,
(All of a Midsummer morn!)
Surely we sing no little thing,
In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
Or ever AEneas began.
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
When Brut was an outlaw man.
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
(From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry
Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Yew that is old in churchyard-mould,
He breedeth a mighty bow.
Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
And beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
And your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
To Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth
Till every gust be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him
That anyway trusts her shade:
But whether a lad be sober or sad,
Or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along
'Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But--we have been out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth-
Good news for cattle and corn--
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs
(All of a Midsummer morn):
England shall bide ti11 Judgment Tide,
By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

 

 

The Song of the Dead

Hear now the Song of the Dead -- in the North by the torn berg-edges --
They that look still to the Pole, asleep by their hide-stripped sledges.
Song of the Dead in the South -- in the sun by their skeleton horses,
Where the warrigal whimpers and bays through the dust of the sere river-courses.

Song of the Dead in the East -- in the heat-rotted jungle-hollows,
Where the dog-ape barks in the kloof -- in the brake of the buffalo-wallows.

Song of the Dead in the West in the Barrens, the pass that betrayed them,
Where the wolverine tumbles their packs from the camp and the grave-rnound they made them;
Hear now the Song of the Dead!

I
We were dreamers, dreaming greatly, in the man-stifled town;
We yearned beyond the sky-line where the strange roads go down.
Came the Whisper, came the Vision, came the Power with the Need,
Till the Soul that is not man's soul was lent us to lead.
As the deer breaks -- as the steer breaks -- from the herd where they graze,
In the faith of little children we went on our ways.
Then the wood failed -- then the food failed -- then the last water dried.
In the faith of little children we lay down and died.
On the sand-drift -- on the veldt-side -- in the fern-scrub we lay,
That our sons might follow after by the bones on the way.
Follow after-follow after! We have watered the root,
And the bud has come to blossom that ripens for fruit!
Follow after -- we are waiting, by the trails that we lost,
For the sounds of many footsteps, for the tread of a host.
Follow after-follow after -- for the harvest is sown:
By the bones about the wayside ye shall come to your own!

When Drake went down to the Horn
And England was crowned thereby,
'Twixt seas unsailed and shores unhailed
Our Lodge -- our Lodge was born
(And England was crowned thereby!)

Which never shall close again
By day nor yet by night,
While man shall take his ife to stake
At risk of shoal or main
(By day nor yet by night)

But standeth even so
As now we witness here,
While men depart, of joyful heart,
Adventure for to know
(As now bear witness here!)

II
We have fed our sea for a thousand years
And she calls us, still unfed,
Tbough there's never a wave of all her waves
But marks our English dead:
We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest,
To the shark and the sheering gull.
If blood be the price of admiralty,
Lord God, we ha' paid in full!

There's never a flood goes shoreward now
But lifts a keel we manned;
There's never an ebb goes seaward now
But drops our dead on the sand --
But slinks our dead on the sands forlore,
From the Ducies to the Swin.
If blood be the price of admiralty,
If blood be the price of admiralty,
Lord God, we ha' paid it in!

We must feed our sea for a thousand years,
For that is our doom and pride,
As it was when they sailed with the Golden Hind,
Or tbe wreck that struck last tide --
Or the wreck that lies on the spouting reef
Where the ghastly blue-lights flare
If blood be tbe price of admiralty,
If blood be tbe price of admiralty,
If blood be the price of admiralty,
Lord God, we ha' bought it fair!

 

 

 

If

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 imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

 

 

 

The Flowers

To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic,
almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress,
are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us
like translations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote;
the dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose,
nor can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly in April
as the English thrush.
THE ATHEN]AEUM.


Buy my English posies!
Kent and Surrey may --
Violets of the Undercliff
Wet with Channel spray;
Cowslips from a Devon combe --
Midland furze afire --
Buy my English posies
And I'll sell your heart's desire!

Buy my English posies!
You that scorn the May,
Won't you greet a friend from home
Half the world away?
Green against the draggled drift,
Faint and frail but first --
Buy my Northern blood-root
And I'll know where you were nursed:
Robin down the logging-road whistles, "Come to me!"
Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free.
All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain.
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Here's to match your need --
Buy a tuft of royal heath,
Buy a bunch of weed
White as sand of Muizenberg
Spun before the gale --
Buy my heath and lilies
And I'll tell you whence you hail!
Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie --
Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless sky --
Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
You that will not turn --
Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond o' fern
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne --
Buy my Christmas creeper
And I'll say where you were born!
West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin --
They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn --
Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South Main --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Here's your choice unsold!
Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom,
Buy the kowhai's gold
Flung for gift on Taupo's face,
Sign that spring is come --
Buy my clinging myrtle
And I'll give you back your home!
Broom behind the windy town, pollen of the pine --
Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ratas twine --
Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Ye that have your own
Buy them for a brother's sake
Overseas, alone!
Weed ye trample underfoot
Floods his heart abrim --
Bird ye never heeded,
Oh, she calls his dead to him!
Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas;
Woe for us if we forget, we who hold by these!
Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land --
Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand.

 

 

 

Dirge of Dead Sisters


Who recalls the twilight and the ranged tents in order
(Violet peaks uplifted through the crystal evening air?)
And the clink of iron teacups and the piteous, noble laughter,
And the faces of the Sisters with the dust upon their hair?

(Now and not hereafter, while the breath is in our nostrils,
Now and not hereafter, ere the meaner years go by -
Let us now remember many honourable women,
Such as bade us turn again when we were like to die.)

Who recalls the morning and the thunder through the foothills,
(Tufts of fleecy shrapnel strung along the empty plains?)
And the sun-scarred Red-Cross coaches creeping guarded to the culvert,
And the faces of the Sisters looking gravely from the trains?

(When the days were torment and the nights were clouded terror,
When the Powers of Darkness had dominion on our soul -
When we fled consuming through the Seven Hells of Fever,
These put out their hands to us and healed and made us whole.)

Who recalls the midnight by the bridge's wrecked abutment,
(Autumn rain that rattled like a Maxim on the tin?)
And the lightning-dazzled levels and the streaming, straining wagons,
And the faces of the Sisters as they bore the wounded in?

(Till the pain was merciful and stunned us into silence -
When each nerve cried out on God that made the misused clay;
When the Body triumphed and the last poor shame departed -
These abode our agonies and wiped the sweat away.)

Who recalls the noontide and the funerals through the market,
(Blanket-hidden bodies, flagless, followed by the flies?)
And the footsore firing-party, and the dust and stench and staleness,
And the faces of the Sisters and the glory in their eyes?

(Bold behind the battle, in the open camp all-hallowed,
Patient, wise, and mirthful in the ringed and reeking town,
These endured unresting till they rested from their labours -
Little wasted bodies, ah, so light to lower down!)

Yet their graves are scattered and their names are clean forgotten,
Earth shall not remember, but the Waiting Angel knows
Them who died at Uitvlugt when the plague was on the city -
Her that fell at Simon's Town' in service on our foes.

 

 

 

The Ballad of the Cars

"Now this is the price of a stirrup-cup,"
The kneeling doctor said.
And syne he bade them take him up,
For he saw that the man was dead.

They took him up, and they laid him down
( And, oh, he did not stir ),
And they had him into the nearest town
To wait the Coroner.

They drew the dead-cloth over the face,
They closed the doors upon,
And the cars that were parked in the market-place
Made talk of it anon.

Then up and spake a Daimler wide,
That carries the slatted tank: --
"'Tis we must purge the country-side
And no man will us thank.

"For while they pray at Holy Kirk
The souls should turn from sin,
We cock our bonnets to the work,
And gather the drunken in. --

"And if we spare them for the nonce, --
Or their comrades jack them free, --
They learn more under our dumb-irons
Than they learned at time mother's knee."

Then up and spake an Armstrong bold,
And Siddeley, was his name: --
"I saw a man lie stark and cold
By Grantham as I came.

"There was a blind turn by a brook,
A guard-rail and a fail:
But the drunken loon that overtook
He got no hurt at all!

"I ha' trodden the wet road and the dry --
But and the shady lane; '
And why the guiltless soul should die,
Good reason find I nane."

Then up and spake the Babe Austin --
Had barely room for two --
"'Tis time and place that make the sin,
And not the deed they do.

"For when a man drives with his dear,
I ha' seen it come to pass
That an arm too close or a lip too near
Has killed both lad and lass.

"There was a car at eventide
And a sidelings kiss to steal --
The God knows how the couple died,
But I mind the inquest weel.

"I have trodden the black tar and the heath --
But and the cobble-stone;
And why the young go to their death,
Good reason find I none."

Then spake a Morris from Oxenford,
('Was keen to a Cowley Friar ): --
"How shall we judge the ways of the Lord
That are but steel and fire?

"Between the oil-pits under earth
And the levin-spark from the skies,
We but adventure and go forth
As our man shall devise:

"And if he have drunken a hoop too deep,
No kinship can us move
To draw him home in his market-sleep
Or spare his waiting love.

"There is never a lane in all England
Where a mellow man can go,
But he must look on either hand
And back and front also.

"But he must busk him every tide,
At prick of horn, to leap
Either to hide in ditch beside
Or in the bankes steep.

"And whether he walk in drink or muse,
Or for his love be bound,
We have no wit to mark and chuse,
But needs must slay or wound."

. . . . . . .

They drew the dead-cloth from its face.
The Crowner looked thereon;
And the cars that were parked in the market-place
Went all their ways anon.

 

 

 

The Comforters

"The Dog Hervey" -- A Diversity of Creatures

Until thy feet have trod the Road
Advise not wayside folk,
Nor till thy back has borne the Load
Break in upon the broke.

Chase not with undesired largesse
Of sympathy the heart
Which, knowing her own bitterness,
Presumes to dwell apart.

Employ not that glad hand to raise
The God-forgotten head
To Heaven and all the neighbours' gaze --
Cover thy mouth instead.

The quivering chin, the bitten lip,
The cold and sweating brow,
Later may yearn for fellowship --
Not now, you ass, not now!

Time, not thy ne'er so timely speech,
Life, not thy views thereon,
Shall furnish or deny to each
His consolation.

Or, if impelled to interfere,
Exhort, uplift, advise,
Lend not a base, betraying ear
To all the victim's cries.

Only the Lord can understand,
When those first pangs begin,
How much is reflex action and
How much is really sin.

E'en from good words thyself refrain,
And tremblingly admit
There is no anodyne for pain
Except the shock of it.

So, when thine own dark hour shall fall,
Unchallenged canst thou say:
"I never worried you at all,
For God's sake go away!"

 

 

 

A Child's Garden


Now there is nothing wrong with me
Except--I think it's called T.B.
And that is why I have to lay
Out in the garden all the day.

Our garden is not very wide,
And cars go by on either side,
And make an angry-hooty noise
That rather startles little boys.

But worst of all is when they take
Me out in cars that growl and shake,
With charabancs so dreadful-near
I have to shut my eyes for fear.

But when I'm on my back again,
I watch the Croydon aeroplane
That flies across to France, and sings
Like hitting thick piano-strings.

When I am strong enough to do
The things I'm truly wishful to,
I'll never use a car or train
But always have an aeroplane;

And just go zooming round and round,
And frighten Nursey with the sound,
And see the angel-side of clouds,
And spit on all those motor-crowds!

 

 

 

The Explorer


There's no sense in going further -- it's the edge of cultivation,"
So they said, and I believed it -- broke my land and sowed my crop --
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop:

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:
"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and wating for you. Go!"

So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours --
Stole away with pack and ponies -- left 'em drinking in the town;
And the faith that moveth mountains didn't seem to help my labours
As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.

March by march I puzzled through 'em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders,
Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass;
Till I camped above the tree-line -- drifted snow and naked boulders --
Felt free air astir to windward -- knew I'd stumbled on the Pass.

'Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me --
Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair
(It's the Railway Gap to-day, though). Then my Whisper waked to hound me: --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Over yonder! Go you there!"

Then I knew, the while I doubted -- knew His Hand was certain o'er me.
Still -- it might be self-delusion -- scores of better men had died --
I could reach the township living, but....e knows what terror tore me...
But I didn't... but I didn't. I went down the other side.

Till the snow ran out in flowers, and the flowers turned to aloes,
And the aloes sprung to thickets and a brimming stream ran by;
But the thickets dwined to thorn-scrub, and the water drained to shallows,
And I dropped again on desert -- blasted earth, and blasting sky....

I remember lighting fires; I remember sitting by 'em;
I remember seeing faces, hearing voices, through the smoke;
I remember they were fancy -- for I threw a stone to try 'em.
"Something lost behind the Ranges" was the only word they spoke.

I remember going crazy. I remember that I knew it
When I heard myself hallooing to the funny folk I saw.
'Very full of dreams that desert, but my two legs took me through it...
And I used to watch 'em moving with the toes all black and raw.

But at last the country altered -- White Man's country past disputing --
Rolling grass and open timber, with a hint of hills behind --
There I found me food and water, and I lay a week recruiting.
Got my strength and lost my nightmares. Then I entered on my find.

Thence I ran my first rough survey -- chose my trees and blazed and ringed 'em --
Week by week I pried and sampled -- week by week my findings grew.
Saul he went to look for donkeys, and by God he found a kingdom!
But by God, who sent His Whisper, I had struck the worth of two!

Up along the hostile mountains, where the hair-poised snowslide shivers --
Down and through the big fat marshes that the virgin ore-bed stains,
Till I heard the mile-wide mutterings of unimagined rivers,
And beyond the nameless timber saw illimitable plains!

'Plotted sites of future cities, traced the easy grades between 'em;
Watched unharnessed rapids wasting fifty thousand head an hour;
Counted leagues of water-frontage through the axe-ripe woods that screen 'em --
Saw the plant to feed a people -- up and waiting for the power!

Well, I know who'll take the credit -- all the clever chaps that followed --
Came, a dozen men together -- never knew my desert-fears;
Tracked me by the camps I'd quitted, used the water-holes I hollowed.
They'll go back and do the talking. They'll be called the Pioneers!

They will find my sites of townships -- not the cities that I set there.
They will rediscover rivers -- not my rivers heard at night.
By my own old marks and bearings they will show me how to get there,
By the lonely cairns I builded they will guide my feet aright.

Have I named one single river? Have I claimed one single acre?
Have I kept one single nugget -- (barring samples)? No, not I!
Because my price was paid me ten times over by my Maker.
But you wouldn't understand it. You go up and occupy.

Ores you'll find there; wood and cattle; water-transit sure and steady
(That should keep the railway rates down), coal and iron at your doors.
God took care to hide that country till He judged His people ready,
Then He chose me for His Whisper, and I've found it, and it's yours!

Yes, your "Never-never country" -- yes, your "edge of cultivation"
And "no sense in going further" -- till I crossed the range to see.
God forgive me! No, I didn't. It's God's present to our nation.
Anybody might have found it, but -- His Whisper came to Me!

 

 

 

The Jester

There are three degrees of bliss
At the foot of Allah's Throne,
And the highest place is his
Who saves a brother's soul
At peril of his own.
There is the Power made known!

There are three degrees of bliss
In Gardens of Paradise,
And the second place is his
Who saves his brother's soul
By exellent advice.
For there the Glory lies!

There the are three degrees of bliss
And three abodes of the Blest,
And the lowest place is his
Who has saved a soul by jest
And a brother's soul in sport...
But there do the Angels resort!

 

 

 

Mary's Son


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

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

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

 

 

 

The Native-Born


We've drunk to the Queen -- God bless her! --
We've drunk to our mothers' land;
We've drunk to our English brother,
(But he does not understand);
We've drunk to the wide creation,
And the Cross swings low for the mom,
Last toast, and of Obligation,
A health to the Native-born!

They change their skies above them,
But not their hearts that roam!
We learned from our wistful mothers
To call old England "home";
We read of the English skylark,
Of the spring in the English lanes,
But we screamed with the painted lories
As we rode on the dusty plains!

They passed with their old-world legends --
Their tales of wrong and dearth --
Our fathers held by purchase,
But we by the right of birth;
Our heart's where they rocked our cradle,
Our love where we spent our toil,
And our faith and our hope and our honour
We pledge to our native soil!

I charge you charge your glasses --
I charge you drink with me
To the men of the Four New Nations,
And the Islands of the Sea --
To the last least lump of coral
That none may stand outside,
And our own good pride shall teach us
To praise our comrade's pride,

To the hush of the breathless morning
On the thin, tin, crackling roofs,
To the haze of the burned back-ranges
And the dust of the shoeless hoofs --
To the risk of a death by drowning,
To the risk of a death by drouth --
To the men ef a million acres,
To the Sons of the Golden South!

To the Sons of the Golden South (Stand up!),
And the life we live and know,
Let a felow sing o' the little things he cares about,
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about
With the weight o a single blow!

To the smoke of a hundred coasters,
To the sheep on a thousand hills,
To the sun that never blisters,
To the rain that never chills --
To the land of the waiting springtime,
To our five-meal, meat-fed men,
To the tall, deep-bosomed women,
And the children nine and ten!

And the children nine and ten (Stand up!),
And the life we live and know,
Let a fellow sing o' the little things he cares about,
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about
With the weight of a two-fold blow!

To the far-flung, fenceless prairie
Where the quick cloud-shadows trail,
To our neighbours' barn in the offing
And the line of the new-cut rail;
To the plough in her league-long furrow
With the grey Lake' gulls behind --
To the weight of a half-year's winter
And the warm wet western wind!

To the home of the floods and thunder,
To her pale dry healing blue --
To the lift of the great Cape combers,
And the smell of the baked Karroo.
To the growl of the sluicing stamp-head --
To the reef and the water-gold,
To the last and the largest Empire,
To the map that is half unrolled!

To our dear dark foster-mothers,
To the heathen songs they sung --
To the heathen speech we babbled
Ere we came to the white man's tongue.
To the cool of our deep verandah --
To the blaze of our jewelled main,
To the night, to the palms in the moonlight,
And the fire-fly in the cane!

To the hearth of Our People's People --
To her well-ploughed windy sea,
To the hush of our dread high-altar
Where The Abbey makes us We.
To the grist of the slow-ground ages,
To the gain that is yours and mine --
To the Bank of the Open Credit,
To the Power-house of the Line!

We've drunk to the Queen -- God bless her!
We've drunk to our mothers'land;
We've drunk to our English brother
(And we hope he'll understand).
We've drunk as much as we're able,
And the Cross swings low for the morn;
Last toast-and your foot on the table! --
A health to the Native-born!

A health to the Nativeborn (Stand up!),
We're six white men arow,
All bound to sing o' the Little things we care about,
All bound to fight for the Little things we care about
With the weight of a six-fold blow!
By the might of our Cable-tow (Take hands!),
From the Orkneys to the Horn
All round the world (and a Little loop to pull it by),
All round the world (and a Little strap to buckle it).
A health to the Native-born!

 

 

 

The Roman Centurion's Song

Legate, I had the news last night --my cohort ordered home
By ships to Portus Itius and thence by road to Rome.
I've marched the companies aboard, the arms are stowed below:
Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go!

I've served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall,
I have none other home than this, nor any life at all.
Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
That calls me to my native land, I feel that land is here.

Here where men say my name was made, here where my work
was done;
Here where my dearest dead are laid--my wife--my wife and
son;
Here where time, custom, grief and toil, age, memory, service,
love,
Have rooted me in British soil. Ah, how can I remove?

For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields surffice.
What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern
skies,
Black with December snows unshed or pearled with August
haze--
The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or June's long-lighted
days?

You'll follow widening Rhodanus till vine an olive lean
Aslant before the sunny breeze that sweeps Nemausus clean
To Arelate's triple gate; but let me linger on,
Here where our stiff-necked British oaks confront Euroclydon!

You'll take the old Aurelian Road through shore-descending
pines
Where, blue as any peacock's neck, the Tyrrhene Ocean shines.
You'll go where laurel crowns are won, but--will you e'er forget
The scent of hawthorn in the sun, or bracken in the wet?

Let me work here for Britain's sake--at any task you will--
A marsh to drain, a road to make or native troops to drill.
Some Western camp (I know the Pict) or granite Border keep,
Mid seas of heather derelict, where our old messmates sleep.

Legate, I come to you in tears--My cohort ordered home!
I've served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
Here is my heart, my soul, my mind--the only life I know.
I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go!

 

 

 

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