kipling

30th December – On This Day In History

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Born:

1865 Rudyard Kipling (author – Jungle Book)

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Died:

1970 Sonny Liston (boxer)

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On This Day:

1947 Romania declared a republic

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Have a good Sunday, 30th December

30th December – On This Day In History

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Born:

1865 Rudyard Kipling (author – Jungle Book)

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Died:

2006 Saddam Hussein (dictator of Iraq, executed)

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On This Day:

1922 The Soviet Union becomes a federation of states

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Have a good Friday, 30th December

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The Destroyers

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1898

The strength of twice three thousand horse
That seeks the single goal;
The line that holds the rending course,
The hate that swings the whole;
The stripped hulls, slinking through the gloom,
At gaze and gone again —
The Brides of Death that wait the groom —
The Choosers of the Slain!

Offshore where sea and skyline blend
In rain, the daylight dies;
The sullen, shouldering sweels attend
Night and our sacrifice.
Adown the stricken capes no flare —
No mark on spit or bar, —
Birdled and desperate we dare
The blindfold game of war.

Nearer the up-flung beams that spell
The council of our foes;
Clearer the barking guns that tell
Their scattered flank to close.
Sheer to the trap they crowd their way
From ports for this unbarred.
Quiet, and count our laden prey,
The convoy and her guard!

On shoal with carce a foot below,
Where rock and islet throng,
Hidden and hushed we watch them throw
Their anxious lights along.
Not here, not here your danger lies —
(Stare hard, O hooded eyne!)
Save were the dazed rock-pigeons rise
The lit cliffs give no sign.

Therefore — to break the rest ye seek,
The Narrow Seas to clear —
Hark to the siren’s whimpering shriek —
The driven death is here!
Look to your van a league away, —
What midnight terror stays
The bulk that checks against the spray
Her crackling tops ablaze?

Hit, and hard hit! The blow went home,
The muffled, knocking stroke —
The steam that overruns the foam —
The foam that thins to smoke —
The smoke that clokes the deep aboil —
The deep that chokes her throes
Till, streaked with ash and sleeked with oil,
The lukewarm whirlpools close!

A shadow down the sickened wave
Long since her slayer fled:
But hear their chattering quick-fires rave
Astern, abeam, ahead!
Panic that shells the drifting spar —
Loud waste with none to check —
Mad fear that rakes a scornful star
Or sweeps a consort’s deck.

Now, while their silly smoke hangs thick,
Now ere their wits they find,
Lay in and lance them to the quick —
Our gallied whales are blind!
Good luck to those that see end end,
Good-bye to those that drown —
For each his chance as chance shall send —
And God for all! Shut down!

The strength of twice three thousand horse
That serve the one command;
The hand that heaves the headlong force,
The hate that backs the hand:
The doom-bolt in the darkness freed,
The mine that splits the main;
The white-hot wake, the ‘wildering speed —
The Choosers of the Slain!

 

– Rudyard Kipling

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The Outlaws

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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 meant to break
When the fit hour should strike.

They traded with the careless earth,
And good return it gave:
They plotted by their neighbour’s hearth
The means to make him slave.

When all was ready to their hand
They loosed their hidden sword,
And utterly laid waste a land
Their oath was pledged to guard.

Coldly they went about to raise
To life and make more dread
Abominations of old days,
That men believed were dead.

They paid the price to reach their goal
Across a world in flame;
But their own hate slew their own soul
Before that victory came.

 

– Rudyard Kipling

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The Jacket

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Through the Plagues of Egyp’ we was chasin’ Arabi,
Gettin’ down an’ shovin’ in the sun;
An’ you might ‘ave called us dirty, an’ you might ha’ called us dry,
An’ you might ‘ave ‘eard us talkin’ at the gun.
But the Captain ‘ad ‘is jacket, an’ the jacket it was new —
(‘Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the wettin’ of the jacket is the proper thing to do,
Nor we didn’t keep ‘im waitin’ very long.

One day they gave us orders for to shell a sand redoubt,
Loadin’ down the axle-arms with case;
But the Captain knew ‘is dooty, an’ he took the crackers out
An’ he put some proper liquor in its place.
An’ the Captain saw the shrapnel, which is six-an’-thirty clear.
(‘Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
“Will you draw the weight,” sez ‘e, “or will you draw the beer?”
An’ we didn’t keep ‘im waitin’ very long.
~For the Captain, etc.~

Then we trotted gentle, not to break the bloomin’ glass,
Though the Arabites ‘ad all their ranges marked;
But we dursn’t ‘ardly gallop, for the most was bottled Bass,
An’ we’d dreamed of it since we was disembarked:
So we fired economic with the shells we ‘ad in ‘and,
(‘Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
But the beggars under cover ‘ad the impidence to stand,
An’ we couldn’t keep ’em waitin’ very long.
~And the Captain, etc.~

So we finished ‘arf the liquor (an’ the Captain took champagne),
An’ the Arabites was shootin’ all the while;
An’ we left our wounded ‘appy with the empties on the plain,
An’ we used the bloomin’ guns for pro-jec-tile!
We limbered up an’ galloped — there were nothin’ else to do —
(‘Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Battery came a-boundin’ like a boundin’ kangaroo,
But they didn’t watch us comin’ very long.
~As the Captain, etc.~

We was goin’ most extended — we was drivin’ very fine,
An’ the Arabites were loosin’ ‘igh an’ wide,
Till the Captain took the glassy with a rattlin’ right incline,
An’ we dropped upon their ‘eads the other side.
Then we give ’em quarter — such as ‘adn’t up and cut,
(‘Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Captain stood a limberful of fizzy — somethin’ Brutt,
But we didn’t leave it fizzing very long.
~For the Captain, etc.~

We might ha’ been court-martialled, but it all come out all right
When they signalled us to join the main command.
There was every round expended, there was every gunner tight,
An’ the Captain waved a corkscrew in ‘is ‘and.
~But the Captain ‘ad ‘is jacket, etc.~

 

– Rudyard Kipling

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The Lament Of The Border Cattle Thief

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O woe is me for the merry life
I led beyond the Bar,
And a treble woe for my winsome wife
That weeps at Shalimar.

They have taken away my long jezail,
My shield and sabre fine,
And heaved me into the Central jail
For lifting of the kine.

The steer may low within the byre,
The Jat may tend his grain,
But there’ll be neither loot nor fire
Till I come back again.

And God have mercy on the Jat
When once my fetters fall,
And Heaven defend the farmer’s hut
When I am loosed from thrall.

It’s woe to bend the stubborn back
Above the grinching quern,
It’s woe to hear the leg-bar clack
And jingle when I turn!

But for the sorrow and the shame,
The brand on me and mine,
I’ll pay you back in leaping flame
And loss of the butchered kine.

For every cow I spared before
In charity set free,
If I may reach my hold once more
I’ll reive an honest three.

For every time I raised the low
That scared the dusty plain,
By sword and cord, by torch and tow
I’ll light the land with twain!

Ride hard, ride hard to Abazai,
Young ~Sahib~ with the yellow hair —
Lie close, lie close as khuttucks lie,
Fat herds below Bonair!

The one I’ll shoot at twilight-tide,
At dawn I’ll drive the other;
The black shall mourn for hoof and hide,
The white man for his brother.

‘Tis war, red war, I’ll give you then,
War till my sinews fail;
For the wrong you have done to a chief of men,
And a thief of the Zukka Kheyl.

And if I fall to your hand afresh
I give you leave for the sin,
That you cram my throat with the foul pig’s flesh,
And swing me in the skin!

 

– Rudyard Kipling

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The Mine Sweepers

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Dawn off the Foreland — the young flood making
Jumbled and short and steep —
Black in the hollows and bright where it’s breaking —
Awkward water to sweep.
“Mines reported in the fairway,
Warn all traffic and detain.
Sent up Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain.

Noon off the Foreland — the first ebb making
Lumpy and strong in the bight.
Boom after boom, and the golf-hut shaking
And the jackdaws wild with fright.
“Mines located in the fairway,
Boats now working up the chain,
Sweepers — Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain.”

Dusk off the Foreland — the last light going
And the traffic crowding through,
And five damned trawlers with their syreens blowing
Heading the whole review!
“Sweep completed in the fairway,
No more mines remain.
Sent back Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain.”

– Rudyard Kipling

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