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305 Works of Rudyard Kipling

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Before my Spring I garnered Autumn’s gain,Out of her time my field was white with grain,The year gave up her secrets to my woe. Forced and deflowered each sick season lay,In mystery of increase and decay;I saw the sunset ere men saw the day,Who am too wise in that I should not know. —Bitter Waters. […]

Alive or dead—there is no other way. —Native Proverb. THERE is, as the conjurers say, no deception about this tale. Jukes by accident stumbled upon a village that is well known to exist, though he is the only Englishman who has been there. A somewhat similar institution used to flourish on the outskirts of Calcutta, […]

Brother to a Prince and fellow to a beggar if he be found worthy THE LAW, as quoted, lays down a fair conduct of life, and one not easy to follow. I have been fellow to a beggar again and again under circumstances which prevented either of us finding out whether the other was worthy. […]

The Phantom ‘Rickshaw

Story type: Literature

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May no ill dreams disturb my rest,Nor Powers of Darkness me molest. -Evening Hymn. ONE of the few advantages that India has over England is a great Knowability. After five years’ service a man is directly or indirectly acquainted with the two or three hundred Civilians in his Province, all the Messes of ten or […]

‘They’

Story type: Literature

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ONE view called me to another; one hill top to its fellow, half across the county, and since I could answer at no more trouble than the snapping forward of a lever, I let the county flow under my wheels. The orchid-studded flats of the East gave way to the thyme, ilex, and grey grass […]

The Mark of the Beast

Story type: Literature

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Your Gods and my Gods?—do you or I know which are the stronger? —Native Proverb. EAST of Suez, some hold, the direct control of Providence ceases; Man being there handed over to the power of the Gods and Devils of Asia, and the Church of England Providence only exercising an occasional and modified supervision in […]

Speakin’ in general, I ‘ave tried ’em all, The ‘appy roads that take you o’er the world. Speakin’ in general, I ‘ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get ‘ence, the same as I ‘ave done, An’ go observin’ matters till they die. What do it matter […]

I’ve paid for your sickest fancies; I’ve humoured your crackedest whim — Dick, it’s your daddy, dying; you’ve got to listen to him! Good for a fortnight, am I? The doctor told you? He lied. I shall go under by morning, and — Put that nurse outside. ‘Never seen death yet, Dickie? Well, now is […]

An American

Story type: Poetry

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The American Spirit speaks: “If the Led Striker call it a strike, Or the papers call it a war, They know not much what I am like, Nor what he is, my Avatar.” Through many roads, by me possessed, He shambles forth in cosmic guise; He is the Jester and the Jest, And he the […]

The Three-Decker

Story type: Poetry

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“The three-volume novel is extinct.” Full thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail. It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail; But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best — The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest. Fair held the breeze behind us […]

The Story Of Ung

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

In the Neolithic Age savage warfare did I wage For food and fame and woolly horses’ pelt; I was singer to my clan in that dim, red Dawn of Man, And I sang of all we fought and feared and felt. Yea, I sang as now I sing, when the Prehistoric spring Made the piled […]

The King has called for priest and cup, The King has taken spur and blade To dub True Thomas a belted knight, And all for the sake o’ the songs he made. They have sought him high, they have sought him low, They have sought him over down and lea; They have found him by […]

Thy face is far from this our war, Our call and counter-cry, I shall not find Thee quick and kind, Nor know Thee till I die, Enough for me in dreams to see And touch Thy garments’ hem: Thy feet have trod so near to God I may not follow them. Through wantonness if men […]

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 […]

The Sea-Wife

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Anchor Song

Story type: Poetry

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Heh! Walk her round. Heave, ah heave her short again! Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on the pawl. Loose all sail, and brace your yards back and full — Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all! Well, ah fare you well; we can stay no more with you, my […]

The Lost Legion

Story type: Poetry

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There’s a Legion that never was ‘listed, That carries no colours or crest, But, split in a thousand detachments, Is breaking the road for the rest. Our fathers they left us their blessing — They taught us, and groomed us, and crammed; But we’ve shaken the Clubs and the Messes To go and find out […]

The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the sea, An’ the pens broke up on the lower deck an’ let the creatures free — An’ the lights went out on the lower deck, an’ no one near but me. I had been singin’ to them to keep ’em quiet there, For […]

You couldn’t pack a Broadwood half a mile — You mustn’t leave a fiddle in the damp — You couldn’t raft an organ up the Nile, And play it in an Equatorial swamp. I travel with the cooking-pots and pails — I’m sandwiched ‘tween the coffee and the pork — And when the dusty column […]

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, […]

The Derelict

Story type: Poetry

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And reports the derelict Mary Pollock still at sea SHIPPING NEWS. I was the staunchest of our fleet Till the sea rose beneath our feet Unheralded, in hatred past all measure. Into his pits he stamped my crew, Buffeted, blinded, bound and threw, Bidding me eyeless wait upon his pleasure. Man made me, and my […]

The Answer

Story type: Poetry

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A Rose, in tatters on the garden path, Cried out to God and murmured ‘gainst His Wrath, Because a sudden wind at twilight’s hush Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush. And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun, Had pity, whispering to that luckless one, “Sister, in that thou sayest We […]

Away by the lands of the Japanee Where the paper lanterns glow And the crews of all the shipping drink In the house of Blood Street Joe, At twilight, when the landward breeze Brings up the harbour noise, And ebb of Yokohama Bay Swigs chattering through the buoys, In Cisco’s Dewdrop Dining-Rooms They tell the […]

The King

Story type: Poetry

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“Farewell, Romance!” the Cave-men said; “With bone well carved he went away, Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead, And jasper tips the spear to-day. Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance, And he with these. Farewell, Romance!” “Farewell, Romance!” the Lake-folk sighed; “We lift the weight of flatling years; The caverns of the mountain-side Hold […]

The Native-born

Story type: Poetry

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We’ve drunk to the Queen — God bless her! — We’ve drunk to our mothers’ land; We’ve drunk to our English brother (But he does not understand); We’ve drunk to the wide creation, And the Cross swings low for the morn; Last toast, and of obligation, A health to the Native-born! They change their skies […]

The Miracles

Story type: Poetry

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I sent a message to my dear — A thousand leagues and more to Her — The dumb sea-levels thrilled to hear, And Lost Atlantis bore to Her. Behind my message hard I came, And nigh had found a grave for me; But that I launched of steel and flame Did war against the wave […]

Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream, An’, taught by time, I tak’ it so — exceptin’ always Steam. From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see Thy Hand, O God — Predestination in the stride o’ yon connectin’-rod. John Calvin might ha’ forged the same — enorrmous, certain, slow — Ay, […]

The Last Chantey

Story type: Poetry

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“And there was no more sea.” Thus said The Lord in the Vault above the Cherubim Calling to the Angels and the Souls in their degree: “Lo! Earth has passed away On the smoke of Judgment Day. That Our word may be established shall We gather up the sea?” Loud sang the souls of the […]

The Merchantmen

Story type: Poetry

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King Solomon drew merchantmen, Because of his desire For peacocks, apes, and ivory, From Tarshish unto Tyre: With cedars out of Lebanon Which Hiram rafted down, But we be only sailormen That use in London Town. Coastwise — cross-seas — round the world and back again — Where the flaw shall head us or the […]

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 First Chantey

Story type: Poetry

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Mine was the woman to me, darkling I found her; Haling her dumb from the camp, took her and bound her. Hot rose her tribe on our track ere I had proved her; Hearing her laugh in the gloom, greatly I loved her. Swift through the forest we ran; none stood to guard us, Few […]

The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar — Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are. There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep, Or the great gray level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep. Here in […]

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 […]

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 sear […]

Fair is our lot — O goodly is our heritage! (Humble ye, my people, and be fearful in your mirth!) For the Lord our God Most High He hath made the deep as dry, He hath smote for us a pathway to the ends of all the Earth! Yea, though we sinned — and our […]

Gemini

Story type: Literature

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Great is the justice of the White Man–greater the power of a lie. —Native Proverb. This is your English Justice, Protector of the Poor. Look at my back and loins which are beaten with sticks–heavy sticks! I am a poor man, and there is no justice in Courts. There were two of us, and we […]

At Howli Thana

Story type: Literature

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His own shoe, his own head.–Native Proverb. As a messenger, if the heart of the Presence be moved to so great favour. And on six rupees. Yes, Sahib, for I have three little children whose stomachs are always empty, and corn is now but forty pounds to the rupee. I will make so clever a […]

See the pale martyr with his shirt on fire. PRINTER’S ERROR. THEY tell the tale even now among the groves of the Berbulda Hill, and for corroboration point to the roofless and windowless Mission-house. The great God Dungara, the God of Things as They Are, Most Terrible, One-eyed, Bearing the Red Elephant Tusk, did it […]

Dray Wara Yow Dee

Story type: Literature

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For jealousy is the rage of a man: Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. — Prov. vi. 34. Almonds and raisins, Sahib? Grapes from Kabul? Or a pony of the rarest if the Sahib will only come with me. He is thirteen three, Sahib, plays polo, goes in a cart, carries […]

The Swelling of Jordan

Story type: Literature

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If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? SCENE.–The GADSEYS’ bungalow in the Plains, on a January morning. MRS. G. arguing […]

Fatima

Story type: Literature

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And you may go into every room of the house and see everything that is there, but into the Blue Room you must not go. — The Story of Blue Beard. SCENE.–The GADSBYS’ bungalow in the Plains. Time, 11 A. M. on a Sunday morning. CAPTAIN GADSBY, in his shirt-sleeves, is bending over a complete […]

Knowing Good and Evil. SCENE.–The GADSBYS’ bungalow in the Plains, in June. Punkah-coolies asleep in veranda where CAPTAIN GADSBY is walking up and down. DOCTOR’S trap in porch. JUNIOR CHAPLAIN drifting generally and uneasily through the house. Time, 3.40 A. M. Heat 94 degrees in veranda. DOCTOR. (Coming into veranda and touching G. on the […]

The Garden of Eden

Story type: Literature

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And ye shall be as–Gods! SCENE.–Thymy grass-plot at back of the Mahasu dak-bungalow, overlooking little wooded valley. On the left, glimpse of the Dead Forest of Fagoo; on the right, Simla Hills. In background, line of the Snows. CAPTAIN GADSBY, now three weeks a husband, is smoking the pipe of peace on a rug in […]

The Tents Of Kedar

Story type: Literature

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Only why should it be with pain at all, Why must I ‘twixt the leaves of coronal Put any kiss of pardon on thy brow? Why should the other women know so much, And talk together:–Such the look and such The smile he used to love with, then as now. Any Wife to any Husband. […]

With any Amazement

Story type: Literature

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And are not afraid with any amazement. —Marriage service. SCENE.-A bachelor’s bedroom–toilet-table arranged with unnatural neatness. CAPTAIN GADSBY asleep and snoring heavily. Time, 10.30 A. M.–a glorious autumn day at Simla. Enter delicately CAPTAIN MAFFLIM of GADSBY’S regiment. Looks at sleeper, and shakes his head murmuring ‘Poor Gaddy.’ Performs violent fantasia with hair-brushes on chair-back. […]

The World Without

Story type: Literature

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Certain people of importance. SCENE.–Smoking-room of the Deychi Club. Time, 10.30 P. M. of a stuffy night in the Rains. Four men dispersed in picturesque attitudes and easy-chairs. To these enter BLAYNE of the Irregular Moguls, in evening dress. BLAYNE. Phew! The Judge ought to be hanged in his own store-godown. Hi, khitmatgar! Poora whiskey-peg, […]

Poor Dear Mamma

Story type: Literature

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The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky, The deer to the wholesome wold, And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid, As it was in the days of old. Gypsy Song. SCENE.–Interior of MISS MINNIE THREEGAN’S bedroom at Simla. MISS THREEGAN, in window-seat, turning over a drawerful of things. MISS EMMA […]

‘Eternal Father, strong to save, Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who bidst the mighty ocean keep Its own appointed limits deep.’ The lady passengers were trying the wheezy old harmonium in front of the cuddy, because it was Sunday night. In the patch of darkness near the wheel-grating sat the Captain, and the […]

Of Those Called

Story type: Literature

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[Footnote: 1895] We were wallowing through the China Seas in a dense fog, the horn blowing every two minutes for the benefit of the fishery craft that crowded the waterways. From the bridge the fo’c’sle was invisible; from the hand-wheel at the stern the captain’s cabin. The fog held possession of everything–the pearly white fog. […]

Darzee’s Chaunt

Story type: Poetry

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(Sung in honour of Rikki-tikki-tavi) Singer and tailor am I– Doubled the joys that I know– Proud of my lilt to the sky, Proud of the house that I sew– Over and under, so weave I my music–so weave I the house that I sew. Sing to your fledglings again, Mother, O lift up your […]

(Neolithic) Once we feared The Beast–when he followed us we ran, Ran very fast though we knew It was not right that The Beast should master Man; But what could we Flint-workers do? The Beast only grinned at our spears round his ears– Grinned at the hammers that we made; But now we will hunt […]

The Prayer

Story type: Poetry

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My Brother kneels, so saith Kabir, To stone and brass in heathen-wise, But in my brother’s voice I hear My own unanswered agonies. His God is as his fates assign, His prayer is all the world’s–and mine.

As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled– Once, twice and again! And a doe leaped up, and a doe leaped up From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup. This I, scouting alone, beheld, Once, twice and again! As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled– Once, twice and again! And […]

Thorkild’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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There’s no wind along these seas. Out oars for Stavanger! Forward all for Stavanger! So we must wake the white-ash breeze, Let fall for Stavanger! A long pull for Stavanger! Oh, hear the benches creak and strain! (A long pull for Stavanger!) She thinks she smells the Northland rain! (A long pull for Stavanger!) She […]

Song of the Returning Hunter (Esquimaux). Our gloves are stiff with the frozen blood, Our furs with the drifted snow, As we come in with the seal–the seal! In from the edge of the floe. An jana! Aua! Oha! Haq! And the yelping dog-teams go, And the long whips crack, and the men come back, […]

When the drums begin to beat Down the street, When the poles are fetched and guyed, When the tight-rope’s stretched and tied, When the dance-girls make salaam, When the snake-bag wakes alarm, When the pipes set up their drone, When the sharp-edged knives are thrown, When the red-hot coals are shown, To be swallowed by […]

Frankie’s Trade

Story type: Poetry

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Old Horn to All Atlantic said: (A-hay O! To me O!’) ‘Now where did Frankie learn his trade? For he ran me down with a three-reef mains’le.’ (All round the Horn!) Atlantic answered:–‘Not from me! You’d better ask the cold North Sea, For he ran me down under all plain canvas.’ (All round the Horn!) […]

Heriot’s Ford

Story type: Poetry

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‘What’s that that hirples at my side?’ The foe that you must fight, my lord. ‘That rides as fast as I can ride?’ The shadow of your might, my lord. ‘Then wheel my horse against the foe!’ He’s down and overpast, my lord. You war against the sunset glow, The judgment follows fast, my lord. […]

About the time that taverns shut And men can buy no beer, Two lads went up to the keepers’ hut To steal Lord Pelham’s deer. Night and the liquor was in their heads– They laughed and talked no bounds, Till they waked the keepers on their beds, And the keepers loosed the hounds. They had […]

(A.D. 1487) Harry, our King in England, from London town is gone, And comen to Hamull on the Hoke in the countie of Suthampton. For there lay The Mary of the Tower, his ship of war so strong, And he would discover, certaynely, if his shipwrights did him wrong. He told not none of his […]

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet, Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street. Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie, Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by! Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark– Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for the […]

A Truthful Song

Story type: Poetry

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The Bricklayer: I tell this tale, which is strictly true, Just by way of convincing you How very little, since things mere made, Things have altered in the building trade. A year ago, come the middle of March, We was building flats near the Marble Arch, When a thin young man with coal-black hair Came […]

The Egg-Shell

Story type: Poetry

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The wind took off with the sunset– The fog came up with the tide, When the Witch of the North took an Egg-shell With a little Blue Devil inside. ‘Sink,’ she said, ‘or swim,’ she said, ‘It’s all you will get from me. And that is the finish of him!’ she said. And the Egg-shell […]

Now Chil the Kite brings home the night That Mang the Bat sets free– The herds are shut in byre and hut For loosed till dawn are we. This is the hour of pride and power, Talon and tush and claw. Oh hear the call!–Good hunting all That keep the Jungle Law! Mowgli’s Brothers. * […]

Romulus And Remus

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, little did the Wolf-Child care, When first he planned his home, What City should arise and bear The weight and state of Rome! A shiftless, westward-wandering tramp, Checked by the Tiber flood, He reared a wall around his camp Of uninspired mud. But when his brother leaped the Wall And mocked its height and […]

I will let loose against you the fleet-footed vines– I will call in the Jungle to stamp out your lines! The roofs shall fade before it, The house-beams shall fall, And the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall cover it all! In the gates of these your councils my people shall sing, In the doors of […]

The Only Son

Story type: Poetry

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She dropped the bar, she shot the bolt, she fed the fire anew, For she heard a whimper under the sill and a great grey paw came through. The fresh flame comforted the hut and shone on the roof-beam, And the Only Son lay down again and dreamed that he dreamed a dream. The last […]

Mother O’ Mine

Story type: Poetry

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If I were hanged on the highest hill, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! I know whose love would follow me still, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! If I were drowned in the deepest sea, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! I know whose tears would come down to me, Mother […]

A Dedication

Story type: Poetry

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And they were stronger hands than mine That digged the Ruby from the earth– More cunning brains that made it worth The large desire of a king, And stouter hearts that through the brine Went down the perfect Pearl to bring. Lo, I have wrought in common clay Rude figures of a rough-hewn race, Since […]

Alone upon the housetops to the North I turn and watch the lightning in the sky– The glamour of thy footsteps in the North. Come back to me, Beloved, or I die. Below my feet the still bazar is laid– Far, far below the weary camels lie– The camels and the captives of thy raid. […]

(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 […]

Butterflies

Story type: Poetry

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Eyes aloft, over dangerous places, The children follow the butterflies, And, in the sweat of their upturned faces, Slash with a net at the empty skies. So it goes they fall amid brambles, And sting their toes on the nettle-tops, Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles, They wipe their brows and the hunting stops. […]

My Lady’s Law

Story type: Poetry

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The Law whereby my lady moves Was never Law to me, But ’tis enough that she approves Whatever Law it be. For in that Law, and by that Law, My constant course I’ll steer; Not that I heed or deem it dread, But that she holds it dear. Tho’ Asia sent for my content Her […]

A Ripple Song

Story type: Poetry

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Once a ripple came to land In the golden sunset burning– Lapped against a maiden’s hand, By the ford returning. Dainty foot and gentle breast– Here, across, be glad and rest. ‘Maiden, wait,’ the ripple saith; ‘Wait awhile, for I am Death!’ ‘Where my lover calls I go– Shame it were to treat him coldly– […]

Blue Roses

Story type: Poetry

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Roses red and roses white Plucked I for my love’s delight. She would none of all my posies– Bade me gather her blue roses. Half the world I wandered through, Seeking where such flowers grew; Half the world unto my quest Answered me with laugh and jest. Home I came at wintertide, But my silly […]

One moment past our bodies cast No shadow on the plain; Now clear and black they stride our track, And we run home again. In morning hush, each rock and bush Stands hard, and high, and raw: Then give the Call: ‘Good rest to all That keep the Jungle Law!’ Now horn and pelt our […]

(A.D. 683) Shove off from the wharf-edge! Steady! Watch for a smooth! Give way! If she feels the lop already She’ll stand on her head in the bay. It’s ebb–it’s dusk–it’s blowing. The shoals are a mile of white. But (snatch her along!) we’re going To find our master to-night. For we hold that in […]

The Wishing Caps

Story type: Poetry

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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, […]

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 […]

By the Hoof of the Wild Goat uptossed From the cliff where she lay in the Sun Fell the Stone To the Tarn where the daylight is lost, So she fell from the light of the Sun And alone! Now the fall was ordained from the first With the Goat and the Cliff and the […]

The Question

Story type: Poetry

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Brethren, how shall it fare with me When the war is laid aside, If it be proven that I am he For whom a world has died? If it be proven that all my good, And the greater good I will make, Were purchased me by a multitude Who suffered for my sake? That I […]

Truly ye come of The Blood; slower to bless than to ban; Little used to lie down at the bidding of any man. Flesh of the flesh that I bred, bone of the bone that I bare; Stark as your sons shall be–stern as your fathers were. Deeper than speech our love, stronger than life […]

In Springtime

Story type: Poetry

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My garden blazes brightly with the rose-bush and the peach, And the koeil sings above it, in the siris by the well, From the creeper-covered trellis comes the squirrel’s chattering speech, And the blue jay screams and flutters where the cheery satbhai dwell. But the rose has lost its fragrance, and the koeil’s note is […]

Our brows are bound with spindrift and the weed is on our knees; Our loins are battered ‘neath us by the swinging, smoking seas. From reef and rock and skerry–over headland, ness, and voe– The Coastwise Lights of England watch the ships of England go! Through the endless summer evenings, on the lineless, level floors; […]

The Flowers

Story type: Poetry

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To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic, almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress, are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us liketranslations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote; the dog’s-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose, […]

Epitaphs

Story type: Poetry

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‘EQUALITY OF SACRIFICE’ A. ‘I was a “have.”‘ B. ‘I was a “have-not.”‘ (Together) ‘What hast thou given which I gave not?’ A SERVANT We were together since the War began He was my servant–and the better man. A SON My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew What it […]

1909 Here was a people whom after their works thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion: and in this palace is the last information respecting lords collected in the dust. The Arabian Nights In a land that the sand overlays–the ways to her gates are untrod– A multitude ended their days whose fates […]

Justice

Story type: Poetry

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OCTOBER 1918 Across a world where all men grieve And grieving strive the more, The great days range like tides and leave Our dead on every shore. Heavy the load we undergo, And our own hands prepare, If we have parley with the foe, The load our sons must bear. Before we loose the word […]

‘Ille autem iterum negavit.‘ The first time that Peter denied his Lord He shrank from the cudgel, the scourge and the cord, But followed far off to see what they would do, Till the cock crew–till the cock crew– After Gethsemane, till the cock crew! The first time that Peter denied his Lord ‘Twas only […]

1911 When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride, He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside. But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail For the female of the species is more deadly than the male. When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of […]

Natural Theology

Story type: Poetry

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PRIMITIVE I ate my fill of a whale that died, And stranded after a month at sea…. There is a pain in my inside. Why have the Gods afflicted me? Ow! I am purged till I am a wraith! Wow! I am sick till I cannot see! What is the sense of Religion and Faith? […]

The Oldest Song

Story type: Poetry

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For before Eve was Lilith–Old Tale. These were never your true love’s eyes. Why do you feign that you love them? You that broke from their constancies, And the wide calm brows above them! This was never your true love’s speech. Why do you thrill when you hear it? You that have ridden out of […]

The Virginity

Story type: Poetry

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Try as he will, no man breaks wholly loose From his first love, no matter who she be. Oh, was there ever sailor free to choose, That didn’t settle somewhere near the sea? Myself, it don’t excite me nor amuse To watch a pack o’ shipping on the sea, But I can understand my neighbour’s […]

A Pilgrim’s Way

Story type: Poetry

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I do not look for holy saints to guide me on my way, Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray. If these are added, I rejoice–if not, I shall not mind, So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind. For as we come and as we go (and […]

A Death-Bed

Story type: Poetry

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‘This is the State above the Law. The State exists for the State alone.’ [This is a gland at the back of the jaw, And an answering lump by the collar-bone.] Some die shouting in gas or fire; Some die silent, by shell and shot. Some die desperate, caught on the wire; Some die suddenly. […]

Gehazi

Story type: Poetry

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‘Whence comest thou, Gehazi, So reverend to behold, In scarlet and in ermines And chain of England’s gold?’ ‘From following after Naaman To tell him all is well, Whereby my zeal hath made me A Judge in Israel.’ Well done, well done, Gehazi, Stretch forth thy ready hand, Thou barely ‘scaped from judgment, Take oath […]

The Dead King

Story type: Poetry

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(EDWARD VII.) 1910 Who in the Realm to-day lays down dear life for the sake of a land more dear? And, unconcerned for his own estate, toils till the last grudged sands have run? Let him approach. It is proven here Our King asks nothing of any man more than Our King himself has done. […]

The Craftsman

Story type: Poetry

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Once, after long-drawn revel at The Mermaid, He to the overbearing Boanerges Jonson, uttered (If half of it were liquor, Blessed be the vintage!) Saying how, at an alehouse under Cotswold, He had made sure of his very Cleopatra, Drunk with enormous, salvation-contemning Love for a tinker. How, while he hid from Sir Thomas’s keepers, […]

(IN MEMORIAM, JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN) 1904 ‘And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren; and they hated him yet the more.’–Genesis XXXVII. 5. Oh ye who hold the written clue To all save all unwritten things, And, half a league behind, pursue The accomplished Fact with flouts and flings, Look! To your knee […]

The Pro-Consuls

Story type: Poetry

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The overfaithful sword returns the user His heart’s desire at price of his heart’s blood. The clamour of the arrogant accuser Wastes that one hour we needed to make good. This was foretold of old at our outgoing; This we accepted who have squandered, knowing, The strength and glory of our reputations, At the day’s […]

Gethsemane

Story type: Poetry

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The Garden called Gethsemane In Picardy it was, And there the people came to see The English soldiers pass. We used to pass–we used to pass Or halt, as it might be, And ship our masks in case of gas Beyond Gethsemane. The Garden called Gethsemane, It held a pretty lass, But all the time […]

1918 (Being 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 […]

Mary’s Son

Story type: Poetry

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If you stop to find out what your wages will be And how they will clothe and feed you, Willie, my son, don’t you go on the Sea, For the Sea will never need you. If you ask for the reason of every command, And argue with people about you, Willie, my son, don’t you […]

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 […]

(BEFORE THE WAR) (‘The outbreak is in full swing and our death-rate would sicken Napoleon…. Dr M—- died last week, and C—- on Monday, but some more medicines are coming…. We don’t seem to be able to check it at all…. Villages panicking badly…. In some places not a living soul…. But at any rate […]

The Hyaenas

Story type: Poetry

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After the burial-parties leave And the baffled kites have fled, The wise hyaenas come out at eve To take account of our dead. How he died and why he died Troubles them not a whit. They snout the bushes and stones aside And dig till they come to it. They are only resolute they shall […]

The Mesopotamia

Story type: Poetry

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1917 They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young, The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave: But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung, Shall they come with years and honour to the grave? They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain In sight of […]

The Verdicts

Story type: Poetry

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(JUTLAND) Not in the thick of the fight, Not in the press of the odds, Do the heroes come to their height, Or we know the demi-gods. That stands over till peace. We can only perceive Men returned from the seas, Very grateful for leave. They grant us sudden days Snatched from their business of […]

My Boy Jack

Story type: Poetry

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‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’ Not this tide. ‘When d’you think that he’ll come back?’ Not with this wind blowing, and this tide. ‘Has any one else had word of him?’ Not this tide. For what is sunk will hardly swim, Not with this wind blowing, and this tide. ‘Oh, dear, what comfort […]

A Recantation

Story type: Poetry

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(TO LYDE OF THE MUSIC HALLS) What boots it on the Gods to call? Since, answered or unheard, We perish with the Gods and all Things made–except the Word. Ere certain Fate had touched a heart By fifty years made cold, I judged thee, Lyde, and thy art O’erblown and over-bold. But he–but he, of […]

En-Dor

Story type: Poetry

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‘Behold there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor’ 1 Samuel XXVIII 7 The road to En-dor is easy to tread For Mother or yearning Wife. There, it is sure, we shall meet our Dead As they were even in life. Earth has not dreamed of the blessing in store For desolate […]

A Nativity

Story type: Poetry

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1916 The Babe was laid in the Manger Between the gentle kine– All safe from cold and danger– ‘But it was not so with mine. (With mine! With mine!) ‘Is it well with the child, is it well?’ The waiting mother prayed. ‘For I know not how he fell, And I know not where he […]

The Irish Guards

Story type: Poetry

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1918 We’re not so old in the Army List, But we’re not so young at our trade, For we had the honour at Fontenoy Of meeting the Guards’ Brigade. ‘Twas Lally, Dillon, Bulkeley, Clare, And Lee that led us then, And after a hundred and seventy years We’re fighting for France again! Old Days! The […]

God rest you, peaceful gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, But–leave your sports a little while–the dead are borne this way! Armies dead and Cities dead, past all count or care. God rest you, merry gentlemen, what portent see you there? Singing.–Break ground for a wearied host That have no ground to keep. Give them the […]

The Houses

Story type: Poetry

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(A SONG OF THE DOMINIONS) 1898 ‘Twixt my house and thy house the pathway is broad, In thy house or my house is half the world’s hoard; By my house and thy house hangs all the world’s fate, On thy house and my house lies half the world’s hate. For my house and thy house […]

The Holy War

Story type: Poetry

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1917 (‘For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that built Mansoul that the walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse potentate unless the townsmen gave consent thereto’–BUNYAN’S Holy War) A tinker out of Bedford, A vagrant oft in quod, A private under Fairfax, A minister of God– Two […]

The Choice

Story type: Poetry

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1917 (THE AMERICAN SPIRIT SPEAKS) To the Judge of Right and Wrong With Whom fulfilment lies Our purpose and our power belong, Our faith and sacrifice. Let Freedom’s Land rejoice! Our ancient bonds are riven; Once more to us the eternal choice Of Good or Ill is given. Not at a little cost, Hardly by […]

Lord Roberts

Story type: Poetry

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1914 He passed in the very battle-smoke Of the war that he had descried. Three hundred mile of cannon spoke When the Master-Gunner died. He passed to the very sound of the guns; But, before his eye grew dim, He had seen the faces of the sons Whose sires had served with him. He had […]

Zion

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

The Outlaws

Story type: Poetry

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1914 Through learned and laborious years They set themselves to find Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears To heap upon mankind. All that they drew from Heaven above Or digged from earth beneath, They laid into their treasure-trove And arsenals of death: While, for well-weighed advantage sake, Ruler and ruled alike Built up the faith they […]

A Song In Storm

Story type: Poetry

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Be well assured that on our side The abiding oceans fight, Though headlong wind and heaping tide Make us their sport to-night. By force of weather not of war In jeopardy we steer, Then welcome Fate’s discourtesy Whereby it shall appear, How in all time of our distress, And our deliverance too, The game is […]

1914. For all we have and are, For all our children’s fate, Stand up and take the war, The Hun is at the gate! Our world has passed away, In wantonness o’erthrown. There is nothing left to-day But steel and fire and stone! Though all we knew depart, The old Commandments stand:– ‘In courage keep […]

France

Story type: Poetry

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1913 Broke to every known mischance, lifted over all By the light sane joy of life, the buckler of the Gaul; Furious in luxury, merciless in toil, Terrible with strength that draws from her tireless soil; Strictest judge of her own worth, gentlest of man’s mind, First to follow Truth and last to leave old […]

The Covenant

Story type: Poetry

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1914 We thought we ranked above the chance of ill. Others might fall, not we, for we were wise– Merchants in freedom. So, of our free-will We let our servants drug our strength with lies. The pleasure and the poison had its way On us as on the meanest, till we learned That he who […]

Ulster

Story type: Poetry

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1912 (‘Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.’–Isaiah lix 6) The dark eleventh hour Draws on and sees us sold To every evil power We fought against of old. Rebellion, rapine, hate, Oppression, […]

JUNE 29, 1911 (‘On the re-assembling of Parliament after the Coronation, the Government have no intention of allowing their followers to vote according to their convictions on the Declaration of London, but insist on a strictly party vote’–Daily Papers.) We were all one heart and one race When the Abbey trumpets blew. For a moment’s […]

The Veterans

Story type: Poetry

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[Written for the gathering of survivors of the Indian Mutiny, Albert Hall, 1907.] To-day, across our fathers’ graves, The astonished years reveal The remnant of that desperate host Which cleansed our East with steel. Hail and farewell! We greet you here, With tears that none will scorn– O Keepers of the House of old, Or […]

The Rowers

Story type: Poetry

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1902 (When Germany proposed that England should help her in a naval demonstration to collect debts from Venezuela.) The banked oars fell an hundred strong, And backed and threshed and ground, But bitter was the rowers’ song As they brought the war-boat round. They had no heart for the rally and roar That makes the […]

Seven Watchmen sitting in a tower, Watching what had come upon mankind, Showed the Man the Glory and the Power, And bade him shape the Kingdom to his mind. ‘All things on Earth your will shall win you’ (‘Twas so their counsel ran) ‘But the Kingdom?the Kingdom is within you,’ Said the Man’s own mind […]

A Matter of Fact

Story type: Literature

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And if ye doubt the tale I tell, Steer through the South Pacific swell; Go where the branching coral hives Unending strife of endless lives, Where, leagued about the ‘wildered boat, The rainbow jellies fill and float; And, lilting where the laver lingers, The starfish trips on all her fingers; Where, ‘neath his myriad spines […]

The Beginnings

Story type: Poetry

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It was not part of their blood, It came to them very late With long arrears to make good, When the English began to hate. They were not easily moved, They were icy willing to wait Till every count should be proved, Ere the English began to hate. Their voices were even and low, Their […]

I was Lord of Cities very sumptuously builded. Seven roaring Cities paid me tribute from afar. 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 Fabulists

Story type: Poetry

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When all the world would have a matter hid, Since Truth is seldom friend to any crowd, Men write in fable, as old AEsop did, Jesting at that which none will name aloud. And this they needs must do, or it will fall Unless they please they are not heard at all. When desperate Folly […]

The Floods

Story type: Poetry

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The rain it rains without a stay In the hills above us, in the hills; And presently the floods break way Whose strength is in the hills. The trees they suck from every cloud, The valley brooks they roar aloud– Bank-high for the lowlands, lowlands, Lowlands under the hills! The first wood down is sere […]

A Translation

Story type: Poetry

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HORACE, Bk. V. Ode 3 There are whose study is of smells, And to attentive schools rehearse How something mixed with something else Makes something worse. Some cultivate in broths impure The clients of our body–these, Increasing without Venus, cure, Or cause, disease. Others the heated wheel extol, And all its offspring, whose concern Is […]

Rebirth

Story type: Poetry

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If any God should say “I will restore The world her yesterday Whole as before My Judgment blasted it”–who would not lift Heart, eye, and hand in passion o’er the gift? If any God should will To wipe from mind The memory of this ill Which is mankind In soul and substance now–who would not […]

The Four Archangels, so the legends tell, Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, Azrael, Being first of those to whom the Power was shown, Stood first of all the Host before The Throne, And when the Charges were allotted burst Tumultuous-winged from out the assembly first. Zeal was their spur that bade them strictly heed Their own high […]

Jobson’s Amen

Story type: Poetry

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‘Blessed be the English and all their ways and works. Cursed be the Infidels, Hereticks, and Turks!’ ‘Amen,’ quo’ Jobson, ‘but where I used to lie Was neither Candle, Bell nor Book to curse my brethren by: ‘But a palm-tree in full bearing, bowing down, bowing down, To a surf that drove unsparing at the […]

The Comforters

Story type: Poetry

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Until thy feet have trod the Road Advise not wayside folk, Nor till thy back has borne the Load Break in upon the Broke. Chase not with undesired largesse Of sympathy the heart Which, knowing her own bitterness, Presumes to dwell apart. Employ not that glad hand to raise The God-forgotten head To Heaven, and […]

The Press

Story type: Poetry

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The Soldier may forget his sword The Sailorman the sea, The Mason may forget the Word And the Priest his litany: The maid may forget both jewel and gem, And the bride her wedding-dress– But the Jew shall forget Jerusalem Ere we forget the Press! Who once hath stood through the loaded hour Ere, roaring […]

"Helen All Alone"

Story type: Poetry

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There was darkness under Heaven For an hour’s space– Darkness that we knew was given Us for special grace. Sun and moon and stars were hid, God had left His Throne, When Helen came to me, she did, Helen all alone! Side by side (because our fate Damned us ere our birth) We stole out […]

The Children

Story type: Poetry

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These were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight. We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter. The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another’s hereafter. Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it. That is our right. But […]

The Land

Story type: Poetry

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When Julius Fabricius, Sub-Prefect of the Weald, In the days of Diocletian owned our Lower River-field, He called to him Hobdenius–a Briton of the Clay, Saying: ‘What about that River-piece for layin’ in to hay?’ And the aged Hobden answered: ‘I remember as a lad My father told your father that she wanted dreenin’ bad. […]

Whether the State can loose and bind In Heaven as well as on Earth: If it be wiser to kill mankind Before or after the birth– These are matters of high concern Where State-kept schoolmen are; But Holy State (we have lived to learn) Endeth in Holy War. Whether The People be led by the […]

Mary Postgate

Story type: Literature

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(1915) Of Miss Mary Postgate, Lady McCausland wrote that she was ‘thoroughly conscientious, tidy, companionable, and ladylike. I am very sorry to part with her, and shall always be interested in her welfare.’ Miss Fowler engaged her on this recommendation, and to her surprise, for she had had experience of companions, found that it was […]

"Swept And Garnished"

Story type: Literature

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(January 1915) When the first waves of feverish cold stole over Frau Ebermann she very wisely telephoned for the doctor and went to bed. He diagnosed the attack as mild influenza, prescribed the appropriate remedies, and left her to the care of her one servant in her comfortable Berlin flat. Frau Ebermann, beneath the thick […]

The Vortex

Story type: Literature

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(August 1914) ‘Thy Lord spoke by inspiration to the Bee.’ AL KORAN. I have, to my grief and loss, suppressed several notable stories of my friend, the Hon. A.M. Penfentenyou[8], once Minister of Woods and Waysides in De Thouar’s first administration; later, Premier in all but name of one of Our great and growing Dominions; […]

"My Son’s Wife"

Story type: Literature

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(1913) He had suffered from the disease of the century since his early youth, and before he was thirty he was heavily marked with it. He and a few friends had rearranged Heaven very comfortably, but the reorganisation of Earth, which they called Society, was even greater fun. It demanded Work in the shape of […]

The Horse Marines

Story type: Literature

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(1911) The Rt. Hon. R.B. Haldane, Secretary of State for War[6], was questioned in the House of Commons on April 8th about the rocking-horses which the War Office is using for the purpose of teaching recruits to ride. Lord Ronaldshay asked the War Secretary if rocking-horses were to be supplied to all the cavalry regiments […]

The Edge Of The Evening

Story type: Literature

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(1913) Ah! What avails the classic bent, And what the chosen word, Against the undoctored incident That actually occurred? And what is Art whereto we press Through paint and prose and rhyme– When Nature in her nakedness Defeats us every time? ‘Hi! Hi! Hold your horses! Stop!… Well! Well!’ A lean man in a sable-lined […]

Regulus

Story type: Literature

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(1917) Regulus, a Roman general, defeated the Carthaginians 256 B.C., but was next year defeated and taken prisoner by the Carthaginians, who sent him to Rome with an embassy to ask for peace or an exchange of prisoners. Regulus strongly advised the Roman Senate to make no terms with the enemy. He then returned to […]

In The Presence

Story type: Literature

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(1912) ‘So the matter,’ the Regimental Chaplain concluded, ‘was correct; in every way correct. I am well pleased with Rutton Singh and Attar Singh. They have gathered the fruit of their lives.’ He folded his arms and sat down on the verandah. The hot day had ended, and there was a pleasant smell of cooking […]

(1913) Our drive till then had been quite a success. The other men in the car were my friend Woodhouse, young Ollyett, a distant connection of his, and Pallant, the M.P. Woodhouse’s business was the treatment and cure of sick journals. He knew by instinct the precise moment in a newspaper’s life when the impetus […]

The Dog Hervey

Story type: Literature

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(April 1914) My friend Attley, who would give away his own head if you told him you had lost yours, was giving away a six-months-old litter of Bettina’s pups, and half-a-dozen women were in raptures at the show on Mittleham lawn. We picked by lot. Mrs. Godfrey drew first choice; her married daughter, second. I […]

The Honours Of War

Story type: Literature

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(1911) A hooded motor had followed mine from the Guildford Road up the drive to The Infant’s ancestral hall, and had turned off to the stables. ‘We’re having a quiet evening together. Stalky’s upstairs changing. Dinner’s at 7.15 sharp, because we’re hungry. His room’s next to yours,’ said The Infant, nursing a cobwebbed bottle of […]

In The Same Boat

Story type: Literature

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(1911) ‘A throbbing vein,’ said Dr. Gilbert soothingly, ‘is the mother of delusion.’ ‘Then how do you account for my knowing when the thing is due?’ Conroy’s voice rose almost to a break. ‘Of course, but you should have consulted a doctor before using–palliatives.’ ‘It was driving me mad. And now I can’t give them […]

Friendly Brook

Story type: Literature

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(March 1914) The valley was so choked with fog that one could scarcely see a cow’s length across a field. Every blade, twig, bracken-frond, and hoof-print carried water, and the air was filled with the noise of rushing ditches and field-drains, all delivering to the brook below. A week’s November rain on water-logged land had […]

As Easy As A.B.C.

Story type: Literature

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(1912) The A.B.C., that semi-elected, semi-nominated body of a few score persons, controls the Planet. Transportation is Civilisation, our motto runs. Theoretically we do what we please, so long as we do not interfere with the traffic and all it implies. Practically, the A.B.C. confirms or annuls all international arrangements, and, to judge from its […]

Oh! Where would I be when my froat was dry? Oh! Where would I be when the bullets fly? Oh! Where would I be when I come to die? Why, Somewheres anigh my chum. If ‘e’s liquor ‘e’ll give me some, If I’m dyin’ ‘e’ll ‘old my ‘ead, An’ ‘e’ll write ’em ‘Ome when I’m […]

Jain ‘Ardin’ was a Sarjint’s wife, A Sarjint’s wife wus she, She married of ‘im in Orldershort An’ comed across the sea. (Chorus) ‘Ave you never ‘eard tell o’ Jain ‘Ardin’? Jain ‘Ardin’? Jain ‘Ardin’? ‘Ave you never ‘eard tell o’ Jain ‘Ardin’? The pride o’ the Companee? Old Barrack Room Ballad. “A gentleman who […]

Hit a man an’ help a woman, an’ ye can’t be far wrong anyways.–Maxims of Private Mulvaney. The Inexpressibles gave a ball. They borrowed a seven-pounder from the Gunners, and wreathed it with laurels, and made the dancing-floor plate-glass and provided a supper, the like of which had never been eaten before, and set two […]

The Three Musketeers

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An’ when the war began, we chased the bold Afghan, An’ we made the bloomin’ Ghazi for to flee, boys O! An’ we marched into Kabul, an’ we tuk the Balar ‘Issar An’ we taught ’em to respec’ the British Soldier. Barrack Room Ballad. Mulvaney, Ortheris and Learoyd are Privates in B Company of a […]

The Solid Muldoon

Story type: Literature

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Did ye see John Malone, wid his shinin’, brand-new hat? Did ye see how he walked like a grand aristocrat? There was flags an’ banners wavin’ high, an’ dhress and shtyle were shown, But the best av all the company was Misther John Malone. John Malone. There had been a royal dog-fight in the ravine […]

And he told a tale.–Chronicles of Gautama Buddha. Far from the haunts of Company Officers who insist upon kit-inspections, far from keen-nosed Sergeants who sniff the pipe stuffed into the bedding-roll, two miles from the tumult of the barracks, lies the Trap. It is an old dry well, shadowed by a twisted pipal tree and […]

So we loosed a bloomin’ volley, An’ we made the beggars cut, An’ when our pouch was emptied out. We used the bloomin’ butt, Ho! My! Don’t yer come anigh, When Tommy is a playin’ with the baynit an’ the butt. –Barrack Room Ballad. My friend Private Mulvaney told me this, sitting on the parapet […]

Black Jack

Story type: Literature

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To the wake av Tim O’Hara Came company, All St. Patrick’s Alley Was there to see. Robert Buchanan. As the Three Musketeers share their silver, tobacco, and liquor together, as they protect each other in barracks or camp, and as they rejoice together over the joy of one, so do they divide their sorrows. When […]

His Majesty The King

Story type: Literature

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“Where the word of a King is, there is power: And who may say unto him–What doest thou?” “Yeth! And Chimo to sleep at ve foot of ve bed, and ve pink pikky-book, and ve bwead–’cause I will be hungwy in ve night–and vat’s all, Miss Biddums. And now give me one kiss and I’ll […]

By the hoof of the Wild Goat up-tossed From the Cliff where She lay in the Sun, Fell the Stone To the Tarn where the daylight is lost; So She fell from the light of the Sun, And alone. Now the fall was ordained from the first, With the Goat and the Cliff and the […]

On The City Wall

Story type: Literature

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Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was upon the town-wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.–Joshua ii. 15. Lalun is a member of the most ancient profession in the world. Lilith was her very-great-grandmamma, and that was before the days of Eve as every one knows. In […]

In Flood Time

Story type: Literature

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Tweed said tae Till: “What gars ye rin sae Still?” Till said tae Tweed: “Though ye rin wi’ speed An’ I rin slaw– Yet where ye droon ae man I droon twa.” There is no getting over the river to-night, Sahib. They say that a bullock-cart has been washed down already, and the ekka that […]

At Twenty-two

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Narrow as the womb, deep as the Pit, and dark as the heart of a man.–Sonthal Miner’s Proverb. “A weaver went out to reap but stayed to unravel the corn-stalks. Ha! Ha! Ha! Is there any sense in a weaver?” Janki Meah glared at Kundoo, but, as Janki Meah was blind, Kundoo was not impressed. […]

Wee Willie Winkie

Story type: Literature

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“An officer and a gentleman.” His full name was Percival William Williams, but he picked up the other name in a nursery-book, and that was the end of the christened titles. His mother’s ayah called him Willie-Baba, but as he never paid the faintest attention to anything that the ayah said, her wisdom did not […]

With The Main Guard

Story type: Literature

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Der jungere Uhlanen Sit round mit open mouth While Breitmann tell dem stories Of fightin’ in the South; Und gif dem moral lessons, How before der battle pops, Take a little prayer to Himmel Und a goot long drink of Schnapps. Hans Breitmann’s Ballads. “Mary, Mother av Mercy, fwhat the divil possist us to take […]

The Stranger

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

From the wheel and the drift of Things Deliver us, Good Lord, And we will face the wrath of Kings, The faggot and the sword! Lay not Thy Works before our eyes, Nor vex us with Thy Wars, Lest we should feel the straining skies O’ertrod by trampling stars. Hold us secure behind the gates […]

The Widower

Story type: Poetry

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For a season there must be pain– For a little, little space I shall lose the sight of her face, Take back the old life again While She is at rest in her place. For a season this pain must endure– For a little, little while I shall sigh more often than smile, Till Time […]

The City Of Sleep

Story type: Poetry

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Over the edge of the purple down, Where the single lamplight gleams. Know ye the road to the Merciful Town That is hard by the Sea of Dreams– Where the poor may lay their wrongs away, And the sick may forget to-weep? But we–pity us! Oh, pity us! We wakeful; ah, pity us!– We must […]

The Queen’s Men

Story type: Poetry

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Valour and Innocence Have latterly gone hence To certain death by certain shame attended. Envy–ah! even to tears!– The fortune of their years Which, though so few, yet so divinely ended. Scarce had they lifted up Life’s full and fiery cup, Than they had set it down untouched before them. Before their day arose They […]

The Looking-Glass

Story type: Poetry

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(A Country Dance) Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter. Stand forward partners all! She danced King Philip down-a down, And left her shoe to show ’twas true– (The very tune I’m playing you) In Norgem at Brickwall! The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old, Her petticoat was satin, and her stomacher was […]

‘Old Mother Laidinwool had nigh twelve months been dead. She heard the hops was doing well, an’ so popped up her head,’ For said she: ‘The lads I’ve picked with when I was young and fair, They’re bound to be at hopping and I’m bound to meet ’em there!’ Let me up and go Back […]

Merrow Down

Story type: Poetry

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I There runs a road by Merrow Down– A grassy track to-day it is– An hour out of Guildford town, Above the river Wey it is. Here, when they heard the horse-bells ring, The ancient Britons dressed and rode To watch the dark Phoenicians bring Their goods along the Western Road. Yes, here, or hereabouts, […]

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! ‘Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell!’ A maiden in her glory, Upon her wedding-day, Must tell her Bees the story, Or else they’ll fly away. Fly […]

To the Heavens above us O look and behold The Planets that love us All harnessed in gold! What chariots, what horses, Against us shall bide While the Stars in their courses Do fight on our side? All thought, all desires, That are under the sun, Are one with their fires, As we also are […]

"Lukannon"

Story type: Poetry

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(Song of the breeding Seal. Aleutian Islands) I met my mates in the morning (and oh, but I am old!) Where roaring on the ledges the summer ground-swell rolled. I heard them lift the chorus that drowned the breakers’ song– The Beaches of Lukannon–two million voices strong! The song of pleasant stations beside the salt […]

The Two-Sided Man

Story type: Poetry

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Much I owe to the Land that grew– More to the Life that fed– But most to Allah Who gave me two Separate sides to my head. Much I reflect on the Good and the True In the Faiths beneath the sun, But most upon Allah Who gave me two Sides to my head, not […]

A Song Of Travel

Story type: Poetry

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Where’s the lamp that Hero lit Once to call Leander home? Equal Time hath shovelled it ‘Neath the wrack of Greece and Rome. Neither wait we any more That worn sail which Argo bore. Dust and dust of ashes close All the Vestal Virgins’ care; And the oldest altar shows But an older darkness there. […]

The Jester

Story type: Poetry

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There are three degrees of bliss At the foot of Allah’s Throne, And the highest place is his Who saves a brother’s soul At peril of his own. There is the Power made known! There are three degrees of bliss In the Gardens of Paradise, And the second place is his Who saves his brother’s […]

The Prodigal Son

Story type: Poetry

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(Western Version) Here come I to my own again, Fed, forgiven and known again, Claimed by bone of my bone again And cheered by flesh of my flesh. The fatted calf is dressed for me, But the husks have greater zest for me, I think my pigs will be best for me, So I’m off […]

If–

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

ELEPHANTS OF THE GUN-TEAMS We lent to Alexander the strength of Hercules, The wisdom of our foreheads, the cunning of our knees. We bowed our necks to service; they ne’er were loosed again,– Make way there, way for the ten-foot teams Of the Forty-Pounder train! GUN-BULLOCKS Those heroes in their harnesses avoid a cannon-ball, And […]

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee Our love and toil in the years to be; When we are grown and take our place, As men and women with our race. Father in Heaven who lovest all, Oh help Thy children when they call; That they may build from age to age, An undefiled […]

When first by Eden Tree, The Four Great Rivers ran, To each was appointed a Man Her Prince and Ruler to be. But after this was ordained, (The ancient legends tell), There came dark Israel, For whom no River remained. Then He Whom the Rivers obey Said to him: ‘Fling on the ground A handful […]

Many Inventions

Story type: Poetry

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And if ye doubt the tale I tell, Steer through the South Pacific swell; Go where the branching coral hives Unending strife of endless lives, Where, leagued about the ‘wildered boat, The rainbow jellies fill and float; And, lilting where the laver lingers, The starfish trips on all her fingers; Where, ‘neath his myriad spines […]

The Heritage

Story type: Poetry

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Our Fathers in a wondrous age, Ere yet the earth was small, Ensured to us an heritage, And doubted not at all That we, the children of their heart, Which then did beat so high, In later time should play like part For our posterity. A thousand years they steadfast built, To ‘vantage us and […]

Excellent herbs had our fathers of old– Excellent herbs to ease their pain– Alexanders and Marigold, Eyebright, Orris, and Elecampane. Basil, Rocket, Valerian, Rue, (Almost singing themselves they run) Vervain, Dittany, Call-me-to-you– Cowslip, Melilot, Rose of the Sun. Anything green that grew out of the mould Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old. […]

Now this is the Law of the Jungle–as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back– For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, […]

The Voortrekker

Story type: Poetry

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The gull shall whistle in his wake, the blind wave break in fire. He shall fulfil God’s utmost will, unknowing his desire. And he shall see old planets change and alien stars arise, And give the gale his seaworn sail in shadow of new skies. Strong lust of gear shall drive him forth and hunger […]

Jubal sang of the Wrath of God And the curse of thistle and thorn– But Tubal got him a pointed rod, And scrabbled the earth for corn. Old–old as that early mould, Young as the sprouting grain– Yearly green is the strife between Jubal and Tubal Cain! Jubal sang of the new-found sea, And the […]

Prophets At Home

Story type: Poetry

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Prophets have honour all over the Earth, Except in the village where they were born. Where such as knew them boys from birth, Nature-ally hold ’em in scorn. When Prophets are naughty and young and vain, They make a won’erful grievance of it; (You can see by their writings how they complain), But O, ’tis […]

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 […]

"Poor Honest Men"

Story type: Poetry

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(A.D. 1800) Your jar of Virginny Will cost you a guinea Which you reckon too much by five shillings or ten; But light your churchwarden And judge it according, When I’ve told you the troubles of poor honest men! From the Capes of the Delaware, As you are well aware, We sail with tobacco for […]

"Rimini"

Story type: Poetry

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(Marching Song of a Roman Legion of the Later Empire) When I left home for Lalage’s sake By the Legions’ road to Rimini, She vowed her heart was mine to take With me and my shield to Rimini– (Till the Eagles flew from Rimini!) And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul, And the Pontic […]

A Pict Song

Story type: Poetry

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Rome never looks where she treads. Always her heavy hooves fall, On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads; And Rome never heeds when we bawl. Her sentries pass on–that is all, And we gather behind them in hordes, And plot to reconquer the Wall, With only our tongues for our swords. We are the […]

(A.D. 406) My father’s father saw it not, And I, belike, shall never come, To look on that so-holy spot– The very Rome– Crowned by all Time, all Art, all Might, The equal work of Gods and Man, City beneath whose oldest height– The Race began! Soon to send forth again a brood, Unshakeable, we […]

Here we go in a flung festoon, Half-way up to the jealous moon! Don’t you envy our pranceful bands? Don’t you wish you had extra hands? Wouldn’t you like if your tails were–so— Curved in the shape of a Cupid’s bow? Now you’re angry, but–never mind, Brother, thy tail hangs down behind! Here we sit […]

Hadramauti

Story type: Poetry

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Who knows the heart of the Christian? How does he reason? What are his measures and balances? Which is his season For laughter, forbearance or bloodshed, and what devils move him When he arises to smite us? I do not love him. He invites the derision of strangers–he enters all places. Booted, bareheaded he enters. […]

Chil’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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These were my companions going forth by night– (For Chil! Look you, for Chil!) Now come I to whistle them the ending of the fight. (Chil! Vanguards of Chil!) Word they gave me overhead of quarry newly slain, Word I gave them underfoot of buck upon the plain. Here’s an end of every trail–they shall […]

‘How far is St. Helena from a little child at play?’ What makes you want to wander there with all the world between? Oh, Mother, call your son again or else he’ll run away. (No one thinks of winter when the grass is green!) ‘How far is St. Helena from a fight in Paris street?’ […]

The Winners

Story type: Poetry

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What is 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 […]

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 hundred and ninety-nine depend On what the world sees in you, But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend With the whole round world […]

What is a woman that you forsake her, And the hearth-fire and the home-acre, To go with the old grey Widow-maker? She has no house to lay a guest in– But one chill bed for all to rest in, That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in. She has no strong white arms […]

The Three

Story type: Poetry

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On the trail that thou must tread To the thresholds of our dread, Where the Flower blossoms red; Through the nights when thou shalt lie Prisoned from our Mother-sky, Hearing us, thy loves, go by; In the dawns when thou shalt wake To the toil thou canst not break, Heartsick for the Jungle’s sake: Wood […]

Bagheera

Story type: Poetry

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In the cage my life began; Well I know the worth of Man. By the Broken Lock that freed– Man-cub, ‘ware the Man-cub’s breed! Scenting-dew or starlight pale, Choose no tangled tree-cat trail. Pack or council, hunt or den, Cry no truce with Jackal-Men. Feed them silence when they say: ‘Come with us an easy […]

Kaa

Story type: Poetry

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Anger is the egg of Fear– Only lidless eyes are clear. Cobra-poison none may leech, Even so with Cobra-speech. Open talk shall call to thee Strength, whose mate is Courtesy. Send no lunge beyond thy length; Lend no rotten bough thy strength. Gauge thy gape with buck or goat, Lest thine eye should choke thy […]

The Baloo

Story type: Poetry

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FOR the sake of him who showed One wise Frog the Jungle-Road, Keep the Law the Man-Pack make For thy blind old Baloo’s sake! Clean or tainted, hot or stale, Hold it as it were the Trail, Through the day and through the night, Questing neither left nor right. For the sake of him who […]

A Song To Mithras

Story type: Poetry

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(Hymn of the 30th Legion: circa A.D. 350.) Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall! ‘Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!’ Now as the names are answered and the guards are marched away, Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day! Mithras, God of the Noontide, […]

I have been given my charge to keep– Well have I kept the same! Playing with strife for the most of my life, But this is a different game. I‘ll not fight against swords unseen, Or spears that I cannot view– Hand him the keys of the place on your knees– ‘Tis the Dreamer whose […]

Shiv, who poured the harvest and made the winds to blow, Sitting at the doorways of a day of long ago, Gave to each his portion, food and toil and fate, From the King upon the guddee to the Beggar at the gate. All things made he–Shiva the Preserver. Mahadeo! Mahadeo! He made all,– Thorn […]

Eddi’s Service

Story type: Poetry

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(A.D. 687) Eddi, priest of St. Wilfrid In the chapel at Manhood End, Ordered a midnight service For such as cared to attend. But the Saxons were keeping Christmas, And the night was stormy as well. Nobody came to service Though Eddi rang the bell. ‘Wicked weather for walking,’ Said Eddi of Manhood End. ‘But […]

My new-cut ashlar takes the light Where crimson-blank the windows flare. By my own work before the night, Great Overseer, I make my prayer. If there be good in that I wrought, Thy Hand compelled it, Master, Thine– Where I have failed to meet Thy Thought I know, through Thee, the blame was mine. One […]

A Carol

Story type: Poetry

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Our Lord Who did the Ox command To kneel to Judah’s King, He binds His frost upon the land To ripen it for Spring– To ripen it for Spring, good sirs, According to His Word; Which well must be as ye can see– And who shall judge the Lord? When we poor fenmen skate the […]

A Song Of Kabir

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, light was the world that he weighed in his hands! Oh, heavy the tale of his fiefs and his lands! He has gone from the guddee and put on the shroud, And departed in guise of bairagi avowed! Now the white road to Delhi is mat for his feet. The sal and the kikar […]

Cold Iron

Story type: Poetry

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‘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 […]

The Prairie

Story type: Poetry

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‘I see the grass shake in the sun for leagues on either hand, I see a river loop and run about a treeless land– An empty plain, a steely pond, a distance diamond-clear, And low blue naked hills beyond. And what is that to fear?’ ‘Go softly by that river-side or, when you would depart, […]

A Charm

Story type: Poetry

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Take of English earth as much As either hand may rightly clutch. In the taking of it breathe Prayer for all who lie beneath. Not the great nor well-bespoke, But the mere uncounted folk Of whose life and death is none Report or lamentation. Lay that earth upon thy heart, And thy sickness shall depart! […]

Cuckoo Song

Story type: Poetry

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Spring begins in Southern England on the 14th April, on which date the Old Woman lets the Cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair–locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair. Tell it to the locked-up trees, Cuckoo, bring your song here! Warrant, Act and Summons, please. For Spring to pass along here! Tell old Winter, […]

A Tree Song

Story type: Poetry

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(A.D. 1200) Of all the trees that grow so fair, Old England to adorn, Greater are none beneath the Sun, Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn. Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs (All of a Midsummer morn)! Surely we sing no little thing, In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Oak of the Clay […]

(A.D. 1066) I followed my Duke ere I was a lover, To take from England fief and fee; But now this game is the other way over– But now England hath taken me! I had my horse, my shield and banner, And a boy’s heart, so whole and free; But now I sing in another […]

Tarrant Moss

Story type: Poetry

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I closed and drew for my love’s sake That now is false to me, And I slew the Reiver of Tarrant Moss And set Dumeny free. They have gone down, they have gone down, They are standing all arow– Twenty knights in the peat-water, That never struck a blow! Their armour shall not dull nor […]

The Kingdom

Story type: Poetry

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Now we are come to our Kingdom, And the State is thus and thus; Our legions wait at the Palace gate— Little it profits us, Now we are come to our Kingdom! Now we are come to our Kingdom, And the Crown is ours to take– With a naked sword at the Council board, And […]

Strangers drawn from the ends of the earth, jewelled and plumed were we. I was Lord of the Inca race, and she was Queen of the Sea. Under the stars beyond our stars where the new-forged meteors glow Hotly we stormed Valhalla, a million years ago. Ever ‘neath high Valhalla Hall the well-tuned horns begin […]

Brookland Road

Story type: Poetry

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I was very well pleased with what I knowed, I reckoned myself no fool– Till I met with a maid on the Brookland Road, That turned me back to school. Low down–low down! Where the liddle green lanterns shine– O maids, I’ve done with ‘ee all but one, And she can never be mine! ‘Twas […]

The Weald is good, the Downs are best— I’ll give you the run of ’em, East to West. Beachy Head and Winddoor Hill, They were once and they are still, Firle, Mount Caburn and Mount Harry Go back as far as sums’ll carry. Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring, They have looked on many a thing, […]

A Three-Part Song

Story type: Poetry

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I’m just in love with all these three, The Weald and the Marsh and the Down countrie; Nor I don’t know which I love the most, The Weald or the Marsh or the white chalk coast! I’ve buried my heart in a ferny hill, Twix’ a liddle low shaw an’ a great high gill. Oh […]

They shut the road through the woods Seventy years ago. Weather and rain have undone it again, And now you would never know There was once a road through the woods Before they planted the trees. It is underneath the coppice and heath, And the thin anemones. Only the keeper sees That, where the ring-dove […]

Puck’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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See you the ferny ride that steals Into the oak-woods far? O that was whence they hewed the keels That rolled to Trafalgar. And mark you where the ivy clings To Bayham’s mouldering walls? O there we cast the stout railings That stand around St. Paul’s. See you the dimpled track that runs All hollow […]

A School Song

Story type: Poetry

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“Let us now praise famous men”– Men of little showing– For their work continueth, And their work continueth, Greater than their knowing. Western wind and open surge Tore us from our mothers; Flung us on a naked shore (Twelve bleak houses by the shore! Seven summers by the shore!) ‘Mid two hundred brothers. There we […]

Below The Mill Dam

Story type: Literature

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“Book–Book–Domesday Book!” They were letting in the water for the evening stint at Robert’s Mill, and the wooden Wheel where lived the Spirit of the Mill settled to its nine hundred year old song: “Here Azor, a freeman, held one rod, but it never paid geld. Nun-nun-nunquam geldavit. Here Reinbert has one villein and four […]

Mrs. Bathurst

Story type: Literature

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The day that I chose to visit H.M.S. Peridot in Simon’s Bay was the day that the Admiral had chosen to send her up the coast. She was just steaming out to sea as my train came in, and since the rest of the Fleet were either coaling or busy at the rifle-ranges a thousand […]

The Army Of A Dream

Story type: Literature

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PART I I sat down in the club smoking-room to fill a pipe. * * * * * It was entirely natural that I should be talking to “Boy” Bayley. We had met first, twenty odd years ago, at the Indian mess of the Tyneside Tail-twisters. Our last meeting, I remembered, had been at the […]

"Wireless"

Story type: Literature

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“It’s a funny thing, this Marconi business, isn’t it?” said Mr. Shaynor, coughing heavily. “Nothing seems to make any difference, by what they tell me–storms, hills, or anything; but if that’s true we shall know before morning.” “Of course it’s true,” I answered, stepping behind the counter. “Where’s old Mr. Cashell?” “He’s had to go […]

Steam Tactics

Story type: Literature

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I caught sight of their faces as we came up behind the cart in the narrow Sussex lane; but though it was not eleven o’clock, they were both asleep. That the carrier was on the wrong side of the road made no difference to his language when I rang my bell. He said aloud of […]

Private Copper’s father was a Southdown shepherd; in early youth Copper had studied under him. Five years’ army service had somewhat blunted Private Copper’s pastoral instincts, but it occurred to him as a memory of the Chalk that sheep, or in this case buck, do not move towards one across turf, or in this case, […]

PART I … “And a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions.”–Navy Prayer. Disregarding the inventions of the Marine Captain, whose other name is Gubbins, let a plain statement suffice. H.M.S. Caryatid went to Portland to join Blue Fleet for manoeuvres. I travelled overland from London by way of Portsmouth, […]

A Sahibs’ War

Story type: Literature

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Pass? Pass? Pass? I have one pass already, allowing me to go by the rel from Kroonstadt to Eshtellenbosch, where the horses are, where I am to be paid off, and whence I return to India. I am a–trooper of the Gurgaon Rissala (cavalry regiment), the One Hundred and Forty-first Punjab Cavalry, Do not herd […]

The Bonds Of Discipline

Story type: Literature

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As literature, it is beneath contempt. It concerns the endurance, armament, turning-circle, and inner gear of every ship in the British Navy–the whole embellished with profile plates. The Teuton approaches the matter with pagan thoroughness; the Muscovite runs him close; but the Gaul, ever an artist, breaks enclosure to study the morale, at the present […]

By–they are by with mirth and tears, Wit or the works of Desire– Cushioned about on the kindly years Between the wall and the fire. The grapes are pressed, the corn is shocked– Standeth no more to glean; For the Gates of Love and Learning locked When they went out between. All lore our Lady […]

Neither the harps nor the crowns amused, nor the cherubs’ dove-winged races– Holding hands forlornly the Children wandered beneath the Dome; Plucking the radiant robes of the passers by, and with pitiful faces Begging what Princes and Powers refused:–“Ah, please will you let us go home?” Over the jewelled floor, nigh weeping, ran to them […]

“And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft and its branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be the same. “And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and […]

(From the Swedish of Stagnelius.) Eyes aloft, over dangerous places, The children follow where Psyche flies, And, in the sweat of their upturned faces, Slash with a net at the empty skies. So it goes they fall amid brambles, And sting their toes on the nettle-tops, Till after a thousand scratches and scrambles They wipe […]

The Necessitarian

Story type: Poetry

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I know not in whose hands are laid To empty upon earth From unsuspected ambuscade The very Urns of Mirth: Who bids the Heavenly Lark arise And cheer our solemn round– The Jest beheld with streaming eyes And grovellings on the ground; Who joins the flats of Time and Chance Behind the prey preferred, And […]

The King’s Task

Story type: Poetry

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After the sack of the City, when Rome was sunk to a name, In the years when the Lights were darkened, or ever Saint Wilfrid came. Low on the borders of Britain, the ancient poets sing, Between the cliff and the forest there ruled a Saxon king. Stubborn all were his people, a stark and […]

The Wet Litany

Story type: Poetry

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When the water’s countenance Blurrs ‘twixt glance and second glance; When the tattered smokes forerun Ashen ‘neath a silvered sun; When the curtain of the haze Shuts upon our helpless ways– Hear the Channel Fleet at sea; Libera nos domine! When the engines’ bated pulse Scarcely thrills the nosing hulls; When the wash along the […]

The Runners

Story type: Poetry

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News! What is the word that they tell now–now–now! The little drums beating in the bazaars? They beat (among the buyers and sellers) “Nimrud–ah Nimrud! God sends a gnat against Nimrud!” Watchers, O Watchers a thousand! News! At the edge of the crops–now–now–where the well-wheels are halted, One prepares to loose the bullocks and one […]

Poseidon’s Law

Story type: Poetry

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When the robust and brass-bound man commissioned first for sea His fragile raft, Poseidon laughed, and, “Mariner,” said he, “Behold, a Law immutable I lay on thee and thine, That never shall ye act or tell a falsehood at my shrine. “Let Zeus adjudge your landward kin, whose votive meal and salt At easy-cheated altars […]

The Captive

Story type: Poetry

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FROM THE MASJID-AL-AQSA OF SAYYID AHMED (WAHABI) Not with an outcry to Allah nor any complaining He answered his name at the muster and stood to the chaining. When the twin anklets were nipped on the leg-bars that held them, He brotherly greeted the armourers stooping to weld them. Ere the sad dust of the […]

THIS, O my Best Beloved, is a story–a new and a wonderful story–a story quite different from the other stories–a story about The Most Wise Sovereign Suleiman-bin-Daoud–Solomon the Son of David. There are three hundred and fifty-five stories about Suleiman- bin-Daoud; but this is not one of them. It is not the story of the […]

HEAR and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was, O my Best Beloved, when the Tame animals were wild. The Dog was wild, and the Horse was wild, and the Cow was wild, and the Sheep was wild, and the Pig was wild–as wild as wild could be–and they walked […]

BEFORE the High and Far-Off Times, O my Best Beloved, came the Time of the Very Beginnings; and that was in the days when the Eldest Magician was getting Things ready. First he got the Earth ready; then he got the Sea ready; and then he told all the Animals that they could come out […]

THE week after Taffimai Metallumai (we will still call her Taffy, Best Beloved) made that little mistake about her Daddy’s spear and the Stranger-man and the picture-letter and all, she went carp-fishing again with her Daddy. Her Mummy wanted her to stay at home and help hang up hides to dry on the big drying-poles […]

ONCE upon a most early time was a Neolithic man. He was not a Jute or an Angle, or even a Dravidian, which he might well have been, Best Beloved, but never mind why. He was a Primitive, and he lived cavily in a Cave, and he wore very few clothes, and he couldn’t read […]

THIS, O Best Beloved, is another story of the High and Far-Off Times. In the very middle of those times was a Stickly- Prickly Hedgehog, and he lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon, eating shelly snails and things. And he had a friend, a Slow- Solid Tortoise, who lived on the banks of […]

NOT always was the Kangaroo as now we do behold him, but a Different Animal with four short legs. He was grey and he was woolly, and his pride was inordinate: he danced on an outcrop in the middle of Australia, and he went to the Little God Nqa. He went to Nqa at six […]

The Elephant’s Child

Story type: Literature

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IN the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn’t pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of […]

IN the days when everybody started fair, Best Beloved, the Leopard lived in a place called the High Veldt. ‘Member it wasn’t the Low Veldt, or the Bush Veldt, or the Sour Veldt, but the ‘sclusively bare, hot, shiny High Veldt, where there was sand and sandy-coloured rock and ‘sclusively tufts of sandy- yellowish grass. […]

ONCE upon a time, on an uninhabited island on the shores of the Red Sea, there lived a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the Parsee lived by the Red Sea with nothing but his hat and his knife and a cooking-stove of the kind that […]

In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and all, and the Animals were just beginning to work for Man, there was a Camel, and he lived in the middle of a Howling Desert because he did not want to work; and besides, he was a Howler himself. So he ate sticks […]

IN the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly […]

IF THOUGHT can reach to Heaven, On Heaven let it dwell, For fear that Thought be given Like power to reach to Hell. For fear the desolation And darkness of thy mind, Perplex an habitation Which thou hast left behind. Let nothing linger after– No whispering ghost remain, In wall, or beam, or rafter, Of […]

Love-o’-Women

Story type: Literature

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A lamentable tale of thingsDone long ago, and ill done. The horror, the confusion, and the separation of the murderer from his comrades were all over before I came. There remained only on the barrack-square the blood of man calling from the ground. The hot sun had dried it to a dusky gold-beater- skin film, […]

The Big Drunk Draf’

Story type: Literature

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We’re goin’ ‘ome, we’re goin’ ‘ome –Our ship is at the shore,An’ you mus’ pack your ‘aversack,For we won’t come back no more.Ho, don’t you grieve for me,My lovely Mary Ann,For I’ll marry you yet on a fourp’ny bit,As a time-expired ma-a-an Barrack Room Ballad. AN awful thing has happened! My friend, Private Mulvaney, who […]

Sec. 7 (1) – Causing or Conspiring with other persons to cause a mutiny or sedition in forces belonging to Her Majesty’s Regular forces, Reserve forces, Auxiliary forces, or Navy. When three obscure gentlemen in San Francisco argued on insufficient premises they condemned a fellow-creature to a most unpleasant death in a far country which […]

Only A Subaltern

Story type: Literature

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Not only to enforce by command but to encourage by example the energetic discharge of duty and the steady endurance of the difficulties and privations inseparable from Military Service. – Bengal Army Regulations. They made Bobby Wick pass an examination at Sandhurst. He was a gentleman before he was gazetted, so, when the Empress announced […]

The Man Who Was

Story type: Literature

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The Earth gave up her dead that tide,Into our camp he came,And said his say, and went his way,And left our hearts aflame. Keep tally – on the gun-butt scoreThe vengeance we must take,When God shall bring full reckoning,For our dead comrade’s sake. Ballad. Let it be clearly understood that the Russian is a delightful […]

Hurrah! hurrah! a soldier’s life for me!Shout, boys, shout! for it makes you jolly and free. The Ramrod Corps. People who have seen say that one of the quaintest spectacles of human frailty is an outbreak of hysterics in a girls’ school. It starts without warning, generally on a hot afternoon, among the elder pupils. […]

In the Army List they still stand as “The Fore and Fit Princess Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen-Anspach’s Merther-Tydfilshire Own Royal Loyal Light Infantry, Regimental District 329A,” but the Army through all its barracks and canteens knows them now as the “Fore and Aft.” They may in time do something that shall make their new title honourable, but at […]

Judson And The Empire

Story type: Literature

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Gloriana! The Don may attack usWhenever his stomach be fain;He must reach us before he can rack us . . .And where are the galleons of Spain? Dobson. One of the many beauties of a democracy is its almost superhuman skill in developing troubles with other countries and finding its honour abraded in the process. […]

Life liveth but in life, and doth not roamTo other lands if all be well at home:“Solid as ocean foam,” quoth ocean foam. The room was blue with the smoke of three pipes and a cigar. The leave-season had opened in India, and the first-fruits on this side of the water were “Tick” Boileau, of […]

“O’ ever the knightly years were goneWith the old world to the grave,I was a king in BabylonAnd you were a Christian slave.”-W. E. Henley. His name was Charlie Mears; he was the only son of his mother who was a widow, and he lived in the north of London, coming into the City every […]

An Habitation Enforced

Story type: Literature

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My friend, if cause doth wrest thee,Ere folly hath much oppressed thee,Far from acquaintance kest theeWhere country may digest thee . . .Thank God that so hath blessed thee,And sit down, Robin, and rest thee.THOMAS TUSSER. It came without warning, at the very hour his hand was outstretched to crumple the Holz and Gunsberg Combine. […]

The Recall

Story type: Poetry

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I am the land of their fathers,In me the virtue stays;I will bring back my children,After certain days.Under their feet in the grassesMy clinging magic runs.They shall return as strangers,They shall remain as sons.Over their heads in the branchesOf their new-bought, ancient trees,I weave an incantation,And draw them to my knees.Scent of smoke in the […]

Garm – A Hostage

Story type: Literature

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0ne night, a very long time ago, I drove to an Indian military cantonment called Mian Mir to see amateur theatricals. At the back of the Infantry barracks a soldier, his cap over one eye, rushed in front of the horses and shouted that he was a dangerous highway robber. As a matter of fact, […]

There is sorrow enough in the natural wayFrom men and women to fill our day;But when we are certain of sorrow in store,Why do we always arrange for more?Brothers and sisters, I bid you bewareOf giving your heart to a dog to tear. Buy a pup and your money will buyLove unflinching that cannot lie–Perfect […]

The Mother Hive

Story type: Literature

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If the stock had not been old and overcrowded, the Wax-moth would never have entered; but where bees are too thick on the comb there must be sickness or parasites. The heat of the hive had risen with the June honey-flow, and though the farmers worked, until their wings ached, to keep people cool, everybody […]

A FARMER of the Augustan agePerused in Virgil’s golden page,The story of the secret wonFrom Proteus by Cyrene’s sonHow the dank sea-god sowed the swainMeans to restore his hives againMore briefly, how a slaughtered bullBreeds honey by the bellyful. The egregious rustic put to deathA bull by stopping of its breath:Disposed the carcass in a […]

A Story Of 2000 A. D. (Together with extracts from the magazine in which it appeared) At nine o’clock of a gusty winter night I stood on the lower stages of one of the G. P. O. outward mail towers. My purpose was a run to Quebec in “Postal Packet 162 or such other as […]

The Four Angels

Story type: Poetry

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As ADAM lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree,The Angel of the Earth came down, and offered Earth in fee.But Adam did not need it,Nor the plough he would not speed it,Singing:–“Earth and Water, Air and Fire,What more can mortal man desire?”(The Apple Tree’s in bud.) As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree,The Angel of […]

A Deal in Cotton

Story type: Literature

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Long and long ago, when Devadatta was King of Benares, I wrote some tales concerning Strickland of the Punjab Police (who married Miss Youghal), and Adam, his son. Strickland has finished his Indian Service, and lives now at a place in England called Weston-super-Mare, where his wife plays the organ in one of the churches. […]

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 fashionsOf tightening a belt!” […]

Puzzler

Story type: Literature

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I had not seen Penfentenyou since the Middle Nineties, when he was Minister of Ways and Woodsides in De Thouar’s first Administration. Last summer, though he nominally held the same portfolio, he was his Colony’s Premier in all but name, and the idol of his own province, which is two and a half times the […]

The Puzzler

Story type: Poetry

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The Celt in all his variants from Builth to Ballyhoo,His mental processes are plain–one knows what he will do,And can logically predicate his finish by his start:But the English–ah, the English!–they are quite a race apart. Their psychology is bovine, their outlook crude and rare;They abandon vital matters to be tickled with a straw;But the […]

Little Foxes

Story type: Literature

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A Tale Of The Gihon Hunt A fox came out of his earth on the banks of the Great River Gihon, which waters Ethiopia. He saw a white man riding through the dry dhurra-stalks, and, that his destiny might be fulfilled, barked at him. The rider drew rein among the villagers round his stirrup. “What,” […]

Gallio’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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All day long to the judgment-seatThe crazed Provincials drew–All day long at their ruler’s feetHowled for the blood of the Jew.Insurrection with one accordBanded itself and woke:And Paul was about to open his mouthWhen Achaia’s Deputy spoke “Whether the God descend from aboveOr the man ascend upon high,Whether this maker of tents be JoveOr a […]

The House Surgeon

Story type: Literature

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On an evening after Easter Day, I sat at a table in a homeward bound steamer’s smoking-room, where half a dozen of us told ghost stories. As our party broke up a man, playing Patience in the next alcove, said to me: “I didn’t quite catch the end of that last story about the Curse […]

Lispeth

Story type: Literature

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Look, you have cast out Love! What Gods are theseYou bid me please?The Three in One, the One in Three? Not so!To my own Gods I go.It may be they shall give me greater easeThan your cold Christ and tangled Trinities. The Convert. She was the daughter of Sonoo, a Hill-man, and Jadeh his wife. […]

Three And An Extra

Story type: Literature

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“When halter and heel ropes are slipped,do not give chase with sticks but with gram.” Punjabi Proverb. After marriage arrives a reaction, sometimes a big, sometimes a little one; but it comes sooner or later, and must be tided over by both parties if they desire the rest of their lives to go with the […]

Thrown Away

Story type: Literature

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“And some are sulky, while some will plunge[So ho! Steady! Stand still, you!]Some you must gentle, and some you must lunge.[There! There! Who wants to kill you?]Some–there are losses in every trade–Will break their hearts ere bitted and made,Will fight like fiends as the rope cuts hard,And die dumb-mad in the breaking-yard.” Toolungala Stockyard Chorus. […]

Miss Youghal’s Sais

Story type: Literature

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When Man and Woman are agreed, what can the Kazi do? Mahomedan Proverb. Some people say that there is no romance in India. Those people are wrong. Our lives hold quite as much romance as is good for us. Sometimes more. Strickland was in the Police, and people did not understand him; so they said […]

I In the pleasant orchard-closes‘God bless all our gains,’ say we;But ‘May God bless all our losses,’Better suits with our degree.The Lost Bower. This is the history of a failure; but the woman who failed said that it might be an instructive tale to put into print for the benefit of the younger generation. The […]

At the Pit’s Mouth

Story type: Literature

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Men say it was a stolen tideThe Lord that sent it He knows all,But in mine ear will aye abideThe message that the bells let fall-And awesome bells they were to me,That in the dark rang, ‘Enderby.’–Jean Ingelow Once upon a time there was a Man and his Wife and a Tertium Quid. All three […]

A Wayside Comedy

Story type: Literature

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Because to every purpose there is time and judgment,therefore the misery of man is great upon him.–Eccles. viii. 6. Fate and the Government of India have turned the Station of Kashima into a prison; and, because there is no help for the poor souls who are now lying there in torment, I write this story, […]

The Hill of Illusion

Story type: Literature

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What rendered vain their deep desire?A God, a God their severance ruled,And bade between their shores to beThe unplumbed, salt, estranging sea.–Matthew Arnold. He. Tell your jhampanies not to hurry so, dear. They forget I’m fresh from the Plains. She. Sure proof that I have not been going out with any one. Yes, they are […]

A Second-Rate Woman

Story type: Literature

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Est fuga, volvitur rota,On we drift: where looms the dim port?One Two Three Four Five contribute their quota:Something is gained if one caught but the import,Show it us, Hugues of Saxe-Gotha.–Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha. ‘Dressed! Don’t tell me that woman ever dressed in her life. She stood in the middle of the room while her […]

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink while thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field-that, of course, they […]