Zion by Rudyard Kipling

The Doorkeepers of Zion, They do not always stand In helmet and whole armour, With halberds in their hand; But, being sure of Zion, And all her mysteries, They rest awhile in Zion, Sit down and smile in Zion; Ay, even jest in Zion; In Zion, at their ease. The Gatekeepers of Baal, They dare […]

You Must n’t Swim… by Rudyard Kipling

You must n’t swim till you’re six weeks old, Or your head will be sunk by your heels; And summer gales and Killer Whales Are bad for baby seals. Are bad for baby seals, dear rat, As bad as bad can be; But splash and grow strong, And you can’t be wrong, Child of the […]

With Scindia to Delphi by Rudyard Kipling

More than a hundred years ago, in a great battle fought near Delhi, an Indian Prince rode fifty miles after the day was lost with a beggar-girl, who had loved him and followed him in all his camps, on his saddle-bow. He lost the girl when almost within sight of safety. A Maratta trooper tells […]

Wilful Missing by Rudyard Kipling

(Deserters) There is a world outside the one you know, To which for curiousness ‘Ell can’t compare– It is the place where “wilful-missings” go, As we can testify, for we are there. You may ‘ave read a bullet laid us low, That we was gathered in “with reverent care” And buried proper. But it was […]

White Horses by Rudyard Kipling

Where run your colts at pasture? Where hide your mares to breed? ‘Mid bergs about the Ice-cap Or wove Sargasso weed; By chartless reef and channel, Or crafty coastwise bars, But most the ocean-meadows All purple to the stars! Who holds the rein upon you? The latest gale let free. What meat is in your […]

When the Great Ark by Rudyard Kipling

When the Great Ark, in Vigo Bay, Rode stately through the half-manned fleet, From every ship about her way She heard the mariners entreat– Before we take the seas again Let down your boats and send us men! “We have no lack of victual here With work–God knows!–enough for all, To hand and reef and […]

When ‘Omer Smote ‘Is Bloomin’ Lyre by Rudyard Kipling

When ‘Omer smote ‘is bloomin’ lyre, He’d ‘eard men sing by land an’ sea; An’ what he thought ‘e might require, ‘E went an’ took — the same as me! The market-girls an’ fishermen, The shepherds an’ the sailors, too, They ‘eard old songs turn up again, But kep’ it quiet — same as you! […]

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted by Rudyard Kipling

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

What the People Said by Rudyard Kipling

(June 21st, 1887) By the well, where the bullocks go Silent and blind and slow — By the field where the young corn dies In the face of the sultry skies, They have heard, as the dull Earth hears The voice of the wind of an hour, The sound of the Great Queen’s voice: “My […]

What Happened by Rudyard Kipling

Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, pride of Bow Bazaar, Owner of a native press, “Barrishter-at-Lar,” Waited on the Government with a claim to wear Sabres by the bucketful, rifles by the pair. Then the Indian Government winked a wicked wink, Said to Chunder Mookerjee: “Stick to pen and ink. They are safer implements, but, if you insist, […]

Ulster by Rudyard Kipling

The dark eleventh hour Draws on and sees us sold To every evil power We fought against of old. Rebellion, rapine hate Oppression, wrong and greed Are loosed to rule our fate, By England’s act and deed. The Faith in which we stand, The laws we made and guard, Our honour, lives, and land Are […]

Two Months by Rudyard Kipling

June No hope, no change! The clouds have shut us in, And through the cloud the sullen Sun strikes down Full on the bosom of the tortured Town, Till Night falls heavy as remembered sin That will not suffer sleep or thought of ease, And, hour on hour, the dry-eyed Moon in spite Glares through […]

Two Kopjes by Rudyard Kipling

(Made Yeomanry towards End of Boer War) Only two African kopjes, Only the cart-tracks that wind Empty and open between ’em, Only the Transvaal behind; Only an Aldershot column Marching to conquer the land . . . Only a sudden and solemn Visit, unarmed, to the Rand. Then scorn not the African kopje, The kopje […]

Troopin’ by Rudyard Kipling

Troopin’, troopin’, troopin’ to the sea: ‘Ere’s September come again — the six-year men are free. O leave the dead be’ind us, for they cannot come away To where the ship’s a-coalin’ up that takes us ‘ome to-day. We’re goin’ ‘ome, we’re goin’ ‘ome, Our ship is at the shore, An’ you must pack your […]

Tommy by Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer, The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.” The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die, I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I: O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go […]

Tin Fish by Rudyard Kipling

The ships destroy us above And ensnare us beneath. We arise, we lie down, and we In the belly of Death. The ships have a thousand eyes To mark where we come . . . But the mirth of a seaport dies When our blow gets home. ————— The End And that’s the End of […]

The Young British Soldier by Rudyard Kipling

When the ‘arf-made recruity goes out to the East ‘E acts like a babe an’ ‘e drinks like a beast, An’ ‘e wonders because ‘e is frequent deceased Ere ‘e’s fit for to serve as a soldier. Serve, serve, serve as a soldier, Serve, serve, serve as a soldier, Serve, serve, serve as a soldier, […]

The Wishing-Caps by Rudyard Kipling

Life’s all getting and giving, I’ve only myself to give. What shall I do for a living? I’ve only one life to live. End it? I’ll not find another. Spend it? But how shall I best? Sure the wise plan is to live like a man And Luck may look after the rest! Largesse! Largesse, […]

The Winners by Rudyard Kipling

What the moral? Who rides may read. When the night is thick and the tracks are blind A friend at a pinch is a friend, indeed, But a fool to wait for the laggard behind. Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone. White hands cling to the […]

The Widow at Windsor by Rudyard Kipling

‘Ave you ‘eard o’ the Widow at Windsor With a hairy gold crown on ‘er ‘ead? She ‘as ships on the foam — she ‘as millions at ‘ome, An’ she pays us poor beggars in red. (Ow, poor beggars in red!) There’s ‘er nick on the cavalry ‘orses, There’s ‘er mark on the medical stores […]

The Truce of the Bear by Rudyard Kipling

Yearly, with tent and rifle, our careless white men go By the Pass called Muttianee, to shoot in the vale below. Yearly by Muttianee he follows our white men in — Matun, the old blind beggar, bandaged from brow to chin. Eyeless, noseless, and lipless — toothless, broken of speech, Seeking a dole at the […]

The Thousandth Man by Rudyard Kipling

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

The Story of Uriah by Rudyard Kipling

Jack Barrett went to Quetta Because they told him to. He left his wife at Simla On three-fourths his monthly screw. Jack Barrett died at Quetta Ere the next month’s pay he drew. Jack Barrett went to Quetta. He didn’t understand The reason of his transfer From the pleasant mountain-land. The season was September, And […]

The Story of Ung by Rudyard Kipling

Once, on a glittering ice-field, ages and ages ago, Ung, a maker of pictures, fashioned an image of snow. Fashioned the form of a tribesman — gaily he whistled and sung, Working the snow with his fingers. Read ye the Story of Ung! Pleased was his tribe with that image — came in their hundreds […]

The Sons of Martha by Rudyard Kipling

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

The Songs of the Lathes by Rudyard Kipling

1918Being the Words of the Tune Hummed at Her Lathe by Mrs. L. Embsay, Widow The fans and the beltings they roar round me. The power is shaking the floor round me Till the lathes pick up their duty and the midnight-shift takes over. It is good for me to be here! Guns in Flanders–Flanders […]

The Song of the Women by Rudyard Kipling

How shall she know the worship we would do her? The walls are high, and she is very far. How shall the woman’s message reach unto her Above the tumult of the packed bazaar? Free wind of March, against the lattice blowing, Bear thou our thanks, lest she depart unknowing. Go forth across the fields […]

The Song of the Sons by Rudyard Kipling

One from the ends of the earth — gifts at an open door — Treason has much, but we, Mother, thy sons have more! From the whine of a dying man, from the snarl of a wolf-pack freed, Turn, and the world is thine. Mother, be proud of thy seed! Count, are we feeble or […]

The Song of the Old Guard by Rudyard Kipling

Army Reform-.After Boer war “The Army of a Dream”-Traffics and Discoveries. Know this, my brethren, Heaven is clear And all the clouds are gone– The Proper Sort shall flourish now, Good times are coming on”– The evil that was threatened late To all of our degree Hath passed in discord and debate, And,Hey then up […]

The Song of the Little Hunter by Rudyard Kipling

Ere Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey People cry, Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer, Through the Jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh– He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear! Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade, And the whisper spreads and widens […]

The Song of the Dead by Rudyard Kipling

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 […]

The Song of the Cities by Rudyard Kipling

BOMBAY Royal and Dower-royal, I the Queen Fronting thy richest sea with richer hands — A thousand mills roar through me where I glean All races from all lands. CALCUTTA Me the Sea-captain loved, the River built, Wealth sought and Kings adventured life to hold. Hail, England! I am Asia — Power on silt, Death […]

The Song of Seven Cities by Rudyard Kipling

I was Lord of Cities very sumptuously builded. Seven roaring Cities paid me tribute from far. Ivory their outposts were–the guardrooms of them gilded, And garrisoned with Amazons invincible in war. All the world went softly when it walked before my Cities– Neither King nor Army vexed my peoples at their toil. Never horse nor […]

The Settler by Rudyard Kipling

1903 (South African War ended, May, 1902) Here, where my fresh-turned furrows run, And the deep soil glistens red, I will repair the wrong that was done To the living and the dead. Here, where the senseless bullet fell, And the barren shrapnel burst, I will plant a tree, I will dig a well, Against […]

The Servant When He Reigneth by Rudyard Kipling

Three things make earth unquiet And four she cannot brook The godly Agur counted them And put them in a book — Those Four Tremendous Curses With which mankind is cursed; But a Servant when He Reigneth Old Agur entered first. An Handmaid that is Mistress We need not call upon. A Fool when he […]

The Sergeant’s Weddin’ by Rudyard Kipling

‘E was warned agin’ ‘er — That’s what made ‘im look; She was warned agin’ ‘im — That is why she took. ‘Wouldn’t ‘ear no reason, ‘Went an’ done it blind; We know all about ’em, They’ve got all to find! Cheer for the Sergeant’s weddin’ — Give ’em one cheer more! Grey gun-‘orses in […]

The Secret of the Machines by Rudyard Kipling

We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine, We were melted in the furnace and the pit– We were cast and wrought and hammered to design, We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit. Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask, And a thousandth of an inch to give […]

The Second Voyage by Rudyard Kipling

We’ve sent our little Cupids all ashore — They were frightened, they were tired, they were cold: Our sails of silk and purple go to store, And we’ve cut away our mast of beaten gold (Foul weather!) Oh ’tis hemp and singing pine for to stand against the brine, But Love he is our master […]

The Sea-Wife by Rudyard Kipling

There dwells a wife by the Northern Gate, And a wealthy wife is she; She breeds a breed o’ rovin’ men And casts them over sea. And some are drowned in deep water, And some in sight o’ shore, And word goes back to the weary wife And ever she sends more. For since that […]

The Sea And the Hills by Rudyard Kipling

1902 Who hath desired the Sea? — the sight of salt wind-hounded — The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber win hounded? The sleek-barrelled swell before storm, grey, foamless, enormous, and growing — Stark calm on the lap of the Line or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing — His […]