The Liner She’s a Lady – Rudyard Kipling

The Liner she’s a lady, an’ she never looks nor ‘eeds –

-The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, an’ ‘e gives ‘er all she needs;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats, that sail the wet seas roun’,

They’re just the same as you an’ me a-plyin’ up an’ down!
Plyin’ up an’ down, Jenny, ‘angin’ round the Yard,

All the way by Fratton tram down to Portsmouth ‘Ard;

Anythin’ for business, an’ we’re growin’ old —

Plyin’ up an’ down, Jenny, waitin’ in the cold!
The Liner she’s a lady by the paint upon ‘er face,

An’ if she meets an accident they count it sore disgrace:

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, and ‘e’s always ‘andy by,

But, oh, the little cargo-boats! they’ve got to load or die.
The Liner she’s a lady, and ‘er route is cut an’ dried;

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, an’ ‘e always keeps beside;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats that ‘aven’t any man,

They’ve got to do their business first, and make the most they can!
The Liner she’s a lady, and if a war should come,

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, and ‘e’d bid ‘er stay at home;

But, oh, the little cargo-boats that fill with every tide!

‘E’d ‘ave to up an’ fight for them, for they are England’s pride.
The Liner she’s a lady, but if she wasn’t made,

There still would be the cargo-boats for ‘ome an’ foreign trade.

The Man-o’-War’s ‘er ‘usband, but if we wasn’t ‘ere,

‘E wouldn’t have to fight at all for ‘ome an’ friends so dear.
‘Ome an’ friends so dear, Jenny, ‘angin’ round the Yard,

All the way by Fratton tram down to Portsmouth ‘Ard;

Anythin’ for business, an’ we’re growin’ old —

‘Ome an’ friends so dear, Jenny, waitin’ in the cold! 

The Lesson – Rudyard Kipling

1899-1902 — Boer War

Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,

We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.
Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,

But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and

Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilde-

roy’s kite.

We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well

right !
This was not bestowed us under the trees, nor yet in the shade

of a tent,

But swingingly, over eleven degrees of a bare brown conti-


From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to


Fell the phenomenal lesson we learned-with a fullness ac-

corded no other land.
It was our fault, and our very great fault, and not the judg-

ment of Heaven.

We made an Army in our own image, on an island nine by


Which faithfully mirrored its makers’ ideals, equipment, and

mental attitude–

And so we got our lesson: and we ought to accept it with

We have spent two hundred million pounds to prove the fact

once more,

That horses are quicker than men afoot, since two and two

make four;

And horses have four legs, and men have two legs, and two

into four goes twice,

And nothing over except our lesson–and very cheap at the

For remember (this our children shall know: we are too near

for that knowledge)

Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and


All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie


Have felt the effects of the lesson we got-an advantage no

money could by us!
Then let us develop this marvellous asset which we alone


And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as

much as the Rand.

Let us approach this pivotal fact in a humble yet hopeful


We have had no end of a lesson, it will do us no end of good!
It was our fault, and our very great fault–and now we must

turn it to use.

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single


So the more we work and the less we talk the better results

we shall get–

We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire


The Old Issue – Rudyard Kipling

October 9, 1899 — Outbreak of Boer War

Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,

“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.

“It is the King–the King we schooled aforetime! ”

(Trumpets in the marshes-in the eyot at Runnymede!)

“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,

“Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.

“It is the King!”–inexorable Trumpets–

(Trumpets round the scaffold af the dawning by Whitehall!)
. . . . . . .

“He hath veiled the Crown And hid the Scepter,” warn (he Trum pets,

“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.

“Hard die the Kings–ah hard–dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,

Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!
Ancient and Unteachable, abide–abide the Trumpets!

Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings 

Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets–

Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings! 
All we have of freedom, all we use or know–

This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw–

Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.
Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing

Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the king.
Till our fathers ‘stablished,, after bloody years, 

How our King is one with us, first among his peers. 
So they bought us freedom-not at little cost– 

Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.
Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,

Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.
Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.

Whining “He is weak and far”; crying “Time will cure.”
(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,

Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)
Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.

Suffer not the old King here or overseas.
They that beg us barter–wait his yielding mood–

Pledge the years we hold in trust-pawn our brother’s blood–
Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,

Suffer not the old King under any name!
Here is naught unproven–here is naught to learn.

It is written what shall fall if the King return.
He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,

Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.
He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;

He shall change our gold for arms–arms we may not bear.
He shall break his Judges if they cross his word;

He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.
He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring

Watchers ‘neath our window, lest we mock the King —
Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;

Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.
Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,

These shall deal our Justice: sell-deny-delay.
We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse

For the Land we look to–for the Tongue we use.
We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,

While his hired captains jeer us in the street.
Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,

Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.
Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,

Laying on a new land evil of the old–
Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain–

All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.
Here is nought at venture, random nor untrue

Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.
Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:

Step for step and word for word–so the old Kings did!
Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.

Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed–
All the right they promise–all the wrong they bring.

Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King! 

The Nursing Sister – Rudyard Kipling

Maternity Hospital

Our sister sayeth such and such,

And we must bow to her behests.

Our sister toileth overmuch,

Our little maid that hath no breasts.

A field untilled, a web unwove,

A flower withheld from sun or bee,

An alien in the Courts of Love,

And–teacher unto such as we!

We love her, but we laugh the while,

We laugh, but sobs are mixed with laughter;

Our sister hath no time to smile,

She knows not what must follow after.

Wind of the South, arise and blow,

From beds of spice thy locks shake free;

Breathe on her heart that she may know,

Breathe on her eyes that she may see!

Alas! we vex her with our mirth,

And maze her with most tender scorn,

Who stands beside the Gates of Birth,

Herself a child–a child unborn!

Our sister sayeth such and such,

And we must bow to her behests.

Our sister toileth overmuch,

Our little maid that hath no breasts.