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Rudyard Kipling (Редьярд Киплинг)


Things and the Man


    (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 your baby brings
    The oldest tale since Earth began --
  The answer to your worryings:
    "Once on a time there was a Man."

He, single-handed, met and slew
  Magicians, Armies, Ogres, Kings.
He lonely 'mid his doubting crew --
  "In all the loneliness of wings " --
  He fed the flame, he filled the springs,
    He locked the ranks, he launched the van
  Straight at the grinning Teeth of Things.
    "Once on a time there was a Man."

The peace of shocked Foundations flew
  Before his ribald questionings.
He broke the Oracles in two,
  And bared the paltry wires and strings.
  He headed desert wanderings;
    He led his soul, his cause, his clan
  A little from the ruck of Things.
    "Once on a time there was a Man."

Thrones, Powers, Dominions block the view
   With episodes and underlings --
The meek historian deems them true
  Nor heeds the song that Clio sings --
  The simple central truth that stings
    The mob to boo, the priest to ban;
   Things never yet created things --
     "Once on a time there was a Man."

A bolt is fallen from the blue.
  A wakened realm full circle swings
Where Dothan's dreamer dreams anew
  Of vast and farborne harvestings;
  And unto him an Empire clings
    That grips the purpose of his plan.
  My Lords, how think you of these things?
    Once -- in our time -- is there a Man?



Rudyard Kipling's other poems:
  1. The Ballad of Ahmed Shah
  2. «Limits and Renewals». 1932. 16. Song of Seventy Horses
  3. «Barrack-Room Ballads». 12. Snarleyow
  4. «Barrack-Room Ballads». 52. Stellenbosch. Composite Columns
  5. «Barrack-Room Ballads». 32. Bill ’Awkins


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