Tag Archives: Kipling

Song of the White Men

The well’s been dry this week, so here’s some Kipling:

Now, this is the cup the White Men drink
When they go to right a wrong,
And that is the cup of the old world’s hate–
Cruel and strained and strong.
We have drunk that cup–and a bitter, bitter cup–
And tossed the dregs away.
But well for the world when the White Men drink
To the dawn of the White Man’s day!

Now, this is the road that the White Men tread
When they go to clean a land–
Iron underfoot and levin overhead
And the deep on either hand.
We have trod that road–and a wet and windy road–
Our chosen star for guide.
Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread
Their highway side by side!

Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold–
When they build their homes afar–
“Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons
And, failing freedom, War.”
We have proved our faith–bear witness to our faith,
Dear souls of freemen slain!
Oh, well for the world when the White Men join
To prove their faith again!

The Vampire

A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the years we waste and the tears we waste
And the work of our head and hand,
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
And did not understand.

A fool there was and his goods he spent
(Even as you and I!)
Honor and faith and a sure intent
But a fool must follow his natural bent
(And it wasn’t the least what the lady meant),
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
And the excellent things we planned,
Belong to the woman who didn’t know why
(And now we know she never knew why)
And did not understand.

The fool we stripped to his foolish hide
(Even as you and I!)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside —
(But it isn’t on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died —
(Even as you and I!)

And it isn’t the shame and it isn’t the blame
That stings like a white hot brand.
It’s coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing at last she could never know why)
And never could understand.

The Vampire by Philip Burne-Jones

 

Cold Iron

Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid —
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.”
“Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
“But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of them all.”

So he made rebellion ‘gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
“Nay!” said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
“But Iron — Cold Iron — shall be master of you all!”

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid ’em all along;
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron — Cold Iron — was master of it all!

Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)
“What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?”
“Nay!” said the Baron, “mock not at my fall,
For Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all.”

“Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown —
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.”
“As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For Iron — Cold Iron — must be master of men all!”

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
“Here is Bread and here is Wine — sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary’s Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron — Cold Iron — can be master of men all!”

He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread.
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
“See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,
Show Iron — Cold Iron — to be master of men all.”

“Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason — I redeem thy fall —
For Iron — Cold Iron — must be master of men all!”

“Crowns are for the valiant — sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!”
“Nay!” said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
“But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!”

Rudyard Kipling

Public Waste

Walpole talks of “a man and his price.”
List to a ditty queer —
The sale of a Deputy-Acting-Vice-
Resident-Engineer,
Bought like a bullock, hoof and hide,
By the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side.

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great.

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed — important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still —
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge —
Never clanked sword by his side — Vauban he knew not nor drill —
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.”

Wherefore the Little Tin Gods harried their little tin souls,
Seeing he came not from Chatham, jingled no spurs at his heels,
Knowing that, nevertheless, was he first on the Government rolls
For the billet of “Railway Instructor to Little Tin Gods on Wheels.”

Letters not seldom they wrote him, “having the honour to state,”
It would be better for all men if he were laid on the shelf.
Much would accrue to his bank-book, an he consented to wait
Until the Little Tin Gods built him a berth for himself,

“Special, well paid, and exempt from the Law of the Fifty and Five,
Even to Ninety and Nine” — these were the terms of the pact:
Thus did the Little Tin Gods (lon may Their Highnesses thrive!)
Silence his mouth with rupees, keeping their Circle intact;

Appointing a Colonel from Chatham who managed the Bhamo State Line
(The wich was on mile and one furlong — a guaranteed twenty-inch gauge),
So Exeter Battleby Tring consented his claims to resign,
And died, on four thousand a month, in the ninetieth year of his age!

Kipling

Hymn Before Action

No Lightning Round today, so a bigger one next week. In the meantime, here’s some more Kipling:

Hymn Before Action

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions —
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow —
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee —
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone.
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror,
Revenge that knows no rein,
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again.
Cloak Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death!

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need —
True comrade and true foeman —
Madonna, intercede!

E’en now their vanguard gathers,
E’en now we face the fray —
As Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host to-day!
Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear —
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear!

 

 

 

The Stranger

The next couple weeks are going to be light on content here, so here’s Kipling’s The Stranger:

 The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control–
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.

This was my father’s belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf–
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

Gnon and Elua

Edit 2014/08/04: A number of Christian men whose thoughts I have come to respect have made objections to this post. I have concluded that whatever my original intentions were, they do not matter at this point as, at best, the execution was flawed and deeply confused. I no longer stand behind or support what was written in this post. I’ll leave this here to read for those that may be interested, but if you decide to read it please use discernment as this post was in error. May God forgive me if this led anyone to wrong thinking. For less confused writing by on the issue at hand, see here.

Scott writes of Moloch, the demon god who traps men into sacrificing what they value most for power, and argues:

When the veil is lifted, Gnon-aka-the-GotCHa-aka-the-Gods-of-Earth turn out to be Moloch-aka-the-Outer-Gods. Submitting to them doesn’t make you “free”, there is no spontaneous order, any gifts they have given you are an unlikely and contingent output of a blind idiot process whose next iteration will just as happily destroy you.

Instead of obeying Gnon, obeying reality, we should summon forth, Elua:

He is the god of flowers and free love and all soft and fragile things. Of art and science and philosophy and love. Of niceness, community, and civilization. He is a god of humans.

Elua is just like “Love as thou wilt” and “All knowlege is worth having”. He is the patron deity of exactly the kind of sickeningly sweet namby-pamby charitable liberalism that Arthur is complaining about.”

Elua, the god of unreality, the god of progressive liberalism, who will usher forth the utopia of free love and endless pleasure. Kipling called Elua by another name:

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshiped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

Scott wishes to create the Gods of the Market, to uplift man with hopes for Elua will make wishes of horses. He hopes that perhaps this time we can have perpetual peace, the Fuller Life, and abundance for all, that this time, prostration before Elua, unlike all prostrations to prior Gods of the Marketplace, will not result in damnation and the return of the terror and slaughter.

This time we can escape to unreality!

What Scott misses is that we are the of Gnon. We were born, evolved, and raised under the rule of Gnon; there is no escape to Elua, for we are not born of Elua, we are born of Gnon. We can not escape Gnon, because we are Gnon and Gnon is us. The only escape is total self-annihilation. He calls Elua a god of humans, but he is not, he is a god of what progressives wish humans were. He is the most inhuman and alien of gods.

Gnon is captured in verse by Kipling, Elua is captured in doggerel by Lennon:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

This is the promised utopia of Elua: a life of peace, a life of hedonism, a terrifying hell devoid of meaning. Elua offers perpetual peace if you only value nothing, he offers eternal life if only you reject the bonds of kinship, he offers limitless pleasure if only you sacrifice your future for the hedonism of today, he offers untold joy if only you renounce meaning itself.

When the veil is lifted, Elua turns out to be Nihil, the limitless void. You can only embrace Elua by giving yourself to nothingness. You offer up not just your child, not just your body, but your very soul on the altar of hedonism. You achieve what you love most, pleasure, by sacrificing yourself, your hope, your purpose, your very being.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

If offered, would Scott attach himself to a device that injected dopamine directly into his brain, eternal bliss if only he does not move or think?

For this is what Elua offers: eternal heroin. The god of the poppy.

Even if Scott accepts Elua’s desolate hell of eternal bliss, others wouldn’t. If it meant escape from Elua, I would help Land free Cthulu. Being eaten first would be infinitely preferable to eternal self-nullifcation. I would plunge the world into holy war if Elua were to incarnate, even the most brutal savagery of Gnon is but a tender ministration compared to the blissful void.

If Nihil is, brutal savagery is the only response. If the god of civilization is also the god of the eternal nothing, I will commit human sacrifice on the altar of the gods of savagery. If the god of bliss is the god of emptiness, I will gladly embrace pain to work to his destruction. Death, war, destruction, genocide, violence, blood, savagery, fire, all are superior to the void.

I am sure I am not alone. We men were born of Gnon, it is what were evolved for, it is what we know, it is what we are. Civilization may hold back Gnon, but if embracing Gnon is the only escape from Elua, we will burn it to the ground. Man was made for struggle, man was not made for the void. Struggle may kill the body, perpetual peace devours the soul. Gnon may be a monstrous horror, but he is our monstrous horror, Elua is a greater terror far more alien.

Do not fear those who can kill only the body; fear him who can destroy the soul.

If Scott and others try to bring forth their progressive god of the blissful void, we will work to bring their dreams to ruin. We will burn civilization to the ground and salt the ruins, for savagery is preferable to the void. We will free Gnon to from his chains if only to escape; we will unleash Cthulu and be devoured first if only he will devour Elua after. We will plunge the universe into eternal war between two superintelligences if only to stop Elua from being the only one. Better a god of infinite paper-clips than Elua. We will destroy the universe itself if only to escape into death. Better the grave than eternal self-annihilation.

Gnon may be a terrible elder god from the outer void but Elua is the void itself.