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Rudyard Kipling
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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Day's Work

   We now, held in captivity,
      Spring to our bondage nor grieve--
   See now, how it is blesseder,
      Brothers, to give than receive!
   Keep trust, wherefore we were made,
      Paying the debt that we owe;
   For a clean thrust, and the shear of the blade,
      Will carry us where would go.
                                           The Ship that Found Herself.

All the world over, nursing their scars,
Sir the old fighting-men broke in the wars--
Sit the old fighting-men, surly and grim
Mocking the lilt of the conquerors' hymn.

Dust of the battle o'erwhelmed them and hid.
Fame never found them for aught that they did.
Wounded and spent to the lazar they drew,
Lining the road where the Legions roll through.

Sons of the Laurel who press to your meed,
Worthy God's pity most--you who succeed!)
Ere you go triumphing, crowned, to the stars,
Pity poor fighting-men, broke in the wars!

  Put forth to watch, unschooled, alone,
    'Twixt hostile earth and sky;
  The mottled lizard 'neath the stone
     Is wiser here than I.

   What stir across the haze of heat?
      What omen down the wind?
   The buck that break before my feet--
      They know, but I am blind!

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