The Long Trail – Rudyard Kipling 

There’s a whisper down the field where the year has shot her yield,

And the ricks stand grey to the sun,

Singing: “Over then, come over, for the bee has quit the dover,

“And your English summer’s done.”

You have heard the beat of the off-shore wind,

And the thresh of the deep-sea rain;

You have heard the song — how long? how long?

Pull out on the trail again!

Ha’ done with the Tents of Shem, dear lass,

We’ve seen the seasons through,

And it’s time to turn the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

Pull out, pull out, on the Long Trail-the trail that is always new!
It’s North you may run to the rime-ringed sun

Or South to the blind Hom’s hate;

Or East all the way into Mississippi Bay,

Or West to the Golden Gate —

Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,

And the wildest tales are true,

And the men bulk big on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

And life runs large on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
The days are sick and cold, and the skies are grey and old

And the twice-breathed airs blow damp;

And I’d sell my tired soul for the bucking beam-sea roll

Of a black Bilbao tramp,

With her load-line over her hatch, dear lass,

And a drunken Dago crew,

And her nose held down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail

From Cadiz south on the Long Trail-the trail that is always new.
There be triple ways to take, of the eagle or the snake,

Or the way of a man with a maid;

But the sweetest way to me is a ship’s upon the sea

In the heel of the North-East Trade.

Can you hear the crash on her brows, dear lass.

And the drum of the racing screw,

As she ships it green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

As she lifts and ‘scends on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new?
See the shaking funnels roar, with the Peter at the fore,

And the fenders grind and heave,

And the derricks clack and grate, as the tackle hooks the crate,

And the fall-rope whines through the sheave;

It’s “Gang-plank up and in,” dear lass,

It’s “Hawsers warp her through!”

And it’s “All clear aft” on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re backing down on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
O the mutter overside, when the port-fog holds us tied,

And the sirens hoot their dread,

When foot by foot we creep o’er the hueless, viewless deep

To the sob of the questing lead!

It’s down by the Lower Hope, dear lass,

With the Grinfleet Sands in view,

Till the Mouse swings green on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

And the Gull Light lifts on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
O the blazing tropic night, when the wake’s a welt of light

That holds the hot sky tame,

And the steady fore-foot snores through the planet-powdered floors

Where the scared whale flukes in flame!

Her plates are flaked by the sun, dear lass

And her ropes are taut with the dew,

For we’re booming down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re sagging south on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
Then home, get her home, where the drunken rollers comb,

And the shouting seas drive by,

And the engines stamp and ring, and the wet bows reel and swing,

And the Southern Cross rides high!

Yes, the old lost stars wheel back, dear lass,

That blaze in the velvet blue.

They’re all old friends on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

They’re God’s own guides on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
Fly forward, O my heart, from the Foreland to the Start

We’re steaming all too slow,

And it’s twenty thousand mile to our little lazy isle

Where the trumpet-orchids blow!

You have heard the call of the off-shore wind

And the voice of the deep-sea rain;

You have heard the song-how long? how long?

Pull out on the trail again!
The Lord knows what we may find, dear lass,

And The Deuce knows we may do

But we’re back once more on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail,

We’re down, hull-down, on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new! 

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

again,
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-

nent.

From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to

Sutherland,

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

seven,

Which faithfully mirrored its makers’ ideals, equipment, and

mental attitude–

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

gratitude.
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

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

for that knowledge)

Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and

College–

All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie

us–

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

command,

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

mood–

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

excuse.

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

yet! 

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. 

The New Knighthood – Rudyard Kipling

Who gives him the Bath?

“I,” said the wet,

Rank-Jungle-sweat,

“I’ll give him the Bath!” 
Who’ll sing the psalms?

“We,” said the Palms.

“Ere the hot wind becalms,

“We’ll sing the psalms.”
Who lays on the sword ?

“I,” said the Sun,

Before he has done,

“I’ll lay on the sword.”
“Who fastens his belt?

“I,” said Short-Rations,

” I know all the fashions

“Of tightening a belt!”
Who gives him his spur?

“I,” said his Chief,

Exacting and brief,

“I’ll give him the spur.”
Who’ll shake his hand?

“I,” said the Fever,

“And I’m no deceiver,

“I’ll shake his hand.”
Who brings him the wine?

“I,” said Quinine,

“It’s a habit of mine.

“I’11 come with his wine.”
Who’ll put him to proof?

“I,” said All Earth.

“Whatever he’s worth,

“I’ll put to the proof.”
Who’ll choose him for Knight?

“I,” said his Mother,

“Before any other,

“My very own Knight.”
And after this fashion, adventure to seek,

Sir Galahad was made–as it might be last week! 

The Naulakha – Rudyard Kipling

There was a strife ‘twixt man and maid–

 Oh, that was at the birth of time! 

But what befell ‘twixt man and maid, 

Oh, that’s beyond the grip of rhyme. 

‘Twas “Sweet, I must not bide with you,” 

And, “Love, I cannot bide alone”; 

For both were young and both were true. 

And both were hard as the nether stone. 
Beware the man who’s crossed in love; 

For pent-up steam must find its vent. 

Stand back when he is on the move, 

And lend him all the Continent. 
Your patience, Sirs. The Devil took me up 

To the burned mountain over Sicily 

(Fit place for me) and thence I saw my Earth– 

(Not all Earth’s splendour, ’twas beyond my need–) 

And that one spot I love–all Earth to me, 

And her I love, my Heaven. What said I? 

My love was safe from all the powers of Hell- 

For you–e’en you–acquit her of my guilt– 

But Sula, nestling by our sail–specked sea, 

My city, child of mine, my heart, my home– 

Mine and my pride–evil might visit there! 

It was for Sula and her naked port, 

Prey to the galleys of the Algerine, 

Our city Sula, that I drove my price– 

For love of Sula and for love of her. 

The twain were woven–gold on sackcloth–twined 

Past any sundering till God shall judge 

The evil and the good. 

Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan 

brown, 

For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the 

Christian down; 

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of 

the late deceased, 

And the epitaph drear: “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the 

East.” 
There is pleasure in the wet, wet clay 

When the artist’s hand is potting it. 

There is pleasure in the wet, wet lay — 

When the poet’s pad is blotting it. 

There is pleasure in the shine of your picture on the line 

At the Royal Acade-my; 

But the pleasure felt in these is as chalk to Cheddar cheese 

When it comes to a well-made Lie– 
To a quite unwreckable Lie, 

To a most impeccable Lie! 

To a water-right, fire-proof, angle-iron, sunk-hinge, time-lock, 

steel-faced Lie! 

Not a private handsome Lie, 

But a pair-and-brougham Lie, 

Not a little-place-at-Tooting, but a country-house-with-shooting 

And a ring-fence-deer-park Lie. 
When a lover hies abroad 

Looking for his love, 

Azrael smiling sheathes his sword, 

Heaven smiles above. 

Earth and sea 

His servants be, 

And to lesser compass round, 

That his love be sooner found! 
We meet in an evil land 

That is near to the gates of Hell. 

I wait for thy command 

To serve, to speed or withstand. 

And thou sayest I do not well? 
Oh Love, the flowers so red 

Are only tongues of flame, 

The earth is full of the dead, 

The new-killed, restless dead. 

There is danger beneath and o’erhead, 

And I guard thy gates in fear 

Of words thou canst not hear, 

Of peril and jeopardy, 

Of signs thou canst not see– 

. And thou sayest ’tis ill that I came? 
This I saw when the rites were done, 

And the lamps were dead and the Gods alone, 

And the grey snake coiled on the altar stone– 

Ere I fled from a Fear that I could not see, 

And the Gods of the East made mouths at me. 
Beat off in our last fight were we? 

The greater need to seek the sea. 

For Fortune changeth as the moon 

To caravel and picaroon. 

Then Eastward Ho! or Westward Ho! 

Whichever wind may meetest blow. 

Our quarry sails on either sea, 

Fat prey for such bold lads as we, 

And every sun-dried buccaneer 

Must hand and reef and watch and steer, 

And bear great wrath of sea and sky 

Before the plate-ships wallow by. 

Now, as our tall bows take the foam, 

Let no man turn his heart to home, 

Save to desire plunder more 

And larger warehouse for his store, 

When treasure won from Santos Bay 

Shall make our sea-washed village gay. 
Because I sought it far from men, 

In deserts and alone, 

I found it burning overhead, 

The jewel of a Throne. 
Because I sought–I sought it so 

And spent my days to find– 

It blazed one moment ere it left 

The blacker night behind. 
We be the Gods of the East– 

Older than all– 

Masters of Mourning and Feast– 

How shall we fall? 
Will they gape for the husks that ye proffer 

Or yearn to your song 

And we–have we nothing to offer 

Who ruled them so long– 

In the fume of incense, the clash of the cymbals, the blare of 

the conch and the gong? 

Over the strife of the schools 

Low the day burns– 

Back with the kine from the pools 

Each one returns 

To the life that he knows where the altar-flame glows and the 

tulsi is trimmed in the urns.