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Rudyard Kipling

The Fabulists

WHEN all the world would keep a matter hid,
    Since Truth is seldom friend to any crowd,
Men write in fable, as old Æsop did,
    Jesting at that which none will name aloud.
And this they needs must do, or it will fall
Unless they please they are not heard at all

When desperate Folly daily laboureth
    To work confusion upon all we have,
When diligent Sloth demandeth Freedom’s death,
    And banded Fear commandeth Honour’s grave—
Even in that certain hour before the fall
Unless men please they are not heard at all.

Needs must all please, yet some not all for need,
    Needs must all toil, yet some not all for gain,
But that men taking pleasure may take heed,
    Whom present toil shall snatch from later pain.
Thus some have toiled but their reward was small
Since, though they pleased, they were not heard at all.

This was the lock that lay upon our lips,
    This was the yoke that we have undergone,
Denying us all pleasant fellowships
    As in our time and generation.
Our pleasures unpursued age past recall.
And for our pains—we are not heard at all.

What man hears aught except the groaning guns?
    What man heeds aught save what each instant brings?
When each man’s life all imaged life outruns,
    What man shall pleasure in imaginings?
So it hath fallen, as it was bound to fall,
We are not, nor we were not, heard at all.

About the poet
Rudyard Kipling
 
By the same poet
If—
The Ballad of East and West
The Ballad of Fisher’s Boarding-House
Gunga Din
Mandalay
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
The Glory of the Garden
My Boy Jack
Gethsemane
The Thousandth Man
The White Man’s Burden
Recessional
Gertrude’s Prayer
Harp Song of the Dane Women
Dane-Geld
 
Related books
Rudyard Kipling at amazon.co.uk


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