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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Prodigal Son

(Western version) from Kim
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 rest for me, 
I think my pigs will be best for me, 
So I'm off to the Yards afresh.

I never was very refined, you see, 
(And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see)
But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see, 
For being a bit of a swine.
So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat 
The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat, 
But glory be! - there's a laugh to it, 
Which isn't the case when we dine.

My father glooms and advises me, 
My brother sulks and despises me, 
And Mother catechises me 
Till I want to go out and swear. 
And, in spite of the butler's gravity, 
I know that the servants have it I 
Am a monster of moral depravity, 
And I'm damned if I think it's fair!

I wasted my substance, I know I did, 
On riotous living, so I did, 
But there's nothing on record to show I did 
Worse than my betters have done. 
They talk of the money I spent out there -
They hint at the pace that I went out there -
But they all forget I was sent out there 
Alone as a rich man's son.

So I was a mark for plunder at once, 
And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once, 
But I didn't give up and knock under at once, 
I worked in the Yards, for a spell, 
Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs. 
And shared their milk and maize with hogs, 
Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs 
And - I have that knowledge to sell!

So back I go to my job again, 
Not so easy to rob again, 
Or quite so ready to sob again 
On any neck that's around.
I'm leaving, Pater.  Good-bye to you!
God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you! 
I wouldn't be impolite to you,
But, Brother, you are a hound!

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