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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Song of the Men's Side

Neolithic

"The Knife and the Naked Chalk"
-- Rewards and Fairies
    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 him for the life with the Knife--
       And this is the Buyer of the Blade!

         Room for  his shadow on the grass--let it pass!
            To left and right-stand clear!
         This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
           This is the great god Tyr!

    Tyr thought hard till he hammered our a plan,
      For he knew it was not right
    (And it is not right) that The Beast should master Man;
      So he went to the Children of the Night.
    He begged a Magic Knife of their make for our sake.
      When he begged for the Knife they said:
    "The price of the Knife you would buy is an eye!"
      And that was the price he paid.

         Tell it to the Barrows of the Dead--run ahead!
            Shout it so the Women's Side can hear!
          This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
            This is the great god Tyr!

    Our women and our little ones may walk on the Chalk,
      As  far as we can see them and beyond, 
    We shall not be anxious for our sheep when we keep
      Tally at the shearing-pond.
    We can eat with both our elbows on our knees, if we please,
      We can sleep after meals in the sun,
    For Shepherd-of-the-Twilight is dismayed at the Blade,
      Feet-in-the-Night  have  run!
    Dog-without-a-Master goes away (Hai, Tyr, aie!),
      Devil-in-the-Dusk has run!

    Then:
         Room for his shadow on the grass-let it pass!
            To left and to right--stand clear!
         This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
            This is the great god Tyr!

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