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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

To the Companions

Horace, BK. V. Ode 17.
"The United Idolaters"
How comes it that, at even-tide,
  When level beams should show most truth,
Man, failing, takes unfailing pride
  In memories of his frolic youth?

Venus and Liber fill their hour;
  The games engage, the law-courts prove;
Till hardened life breeds love of power
  Or Avarice, Age's final love.

Yet at the end, these comfort not--
  Nor any triumph Fate decrees--
Compared with glorious, unforgot--
  Ten innocent enormities

Of frontless days before the beard,
  When, instant on the casual jest,
The God Himself of Mirth appeared
  And snatched us to His heaving breast

And we--not caring who He was
  But certain He would come again--
Accepted all He brought to pass
  As Gods accept the lives of men...

Then He withdrew from sight and speech,
  Nor left a shrine. How comes it now,
While Charon's keel grates on the beach,
  He calls so clear: "Rememberest thou?"

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