Tag Archives: Literature

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!

What the Bullet Sang

O JOY of creation,
         To be!
O rapture, to fly
         And be free!
Be the battle lost or won,
Though its smoke shall hide the sun,
I shall find my love–the one
         Born for me!

I shall know him where he stands
         All alone,
With the power in his hands
         Not o’erthrown;
I shall know him by his face,
By his godlike front and grace;
I shall hold him for a space
         All my own!

It is he–O my love!
         So bold!
It is I–all thy love
         Foretold!
It is I–O love, what bliss!
Dost thou answer to my kiss?
O sweetheart! what is this
         Lieth there so cold?

Bret Harte

My Rock and My Fortress

Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.

O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.

Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them!
Stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
Rescue me and deliver me
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;
may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

(Psalm 144 ESV)

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!

 

 

 

A Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

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.

If

If—
By Rudyard Kipling

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
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 impostors 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!