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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The American Rebellion

1776
Before
          Twas not while England's sword unsheathed
          Put half a world to flight,
       Nor while their new-built cities breathed
          Secure behind her might;
       Not while she poured from Pole to Line
          Treasure and ships and men--
       These worshippers at Freedoms shrine
          They did not quit her then!

       Not till their foes were driven forth
          By England o'er the main--
       Not till the Frenchman from the North
         Had gone with shattered Spain;
       Not till the clean-swept oceans showed
          No hostile flag unrolled,
       Did they remember that they owed
          To Freedom--and were bold!


After
The snow lies thick on Valley Forge, The ice on the Delaware, But the poor dead soldiers of King George They neither know nor care. Not though the earliest primrose break On the sunny side of the lane, And scuffling rookeries awake Their England' s spring again. They will not stir when the drifts are gone, Or the ice melts out of the bay: And the men that served with Washington Lie all as still as they. They will not stir though the mayflower blows In the moist dark woods of pine, And every rock-strewn pasture shows Mullein and columbine. Each for his land, in a fair fight, Encountered strove, and died, And the kindly earth that knows no spite Covers them side by side. She is too busy to think of war; She has all the world to make gay; And, behold, the yearly flowers are Where they were in our fathers' day! Golden-rod by the pasture-wall When the columbine is dead, And sumach leaves that turn, in fall, Bright as the blood they shed.

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