Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Our Lady of the Snows
 
1897

(Canadian Preferential Tariff, 1897)

A NATION spoke to a Nation,
    A Queen sent word to a Throne:
“Daughter am I in my mother’s house,
    But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,        5
  As the gates are mine to close,
And I set my house in order,”
  Said our Lady of the Snows.
 
“Neither with laughter nor weeping,
  Fear or the child’s amaze—        10
Soberly under the White Man’s law
  My white men go their ways.
Not for the Gentiles’ clamour—
  Insult or threat of blows—
Bow we the knee to Baal,”        15
  Said our Lady of the Snows.
 
“My speech is clean and single,
  I talk of common things—
Words of the wharf and the market-place
  And the ware the merchant brings:        20
Favour to those I favour,
  But a stumbling-block to my foes.
Many there be that hate us,”
  Said our Lady of the Snows.
 
“I called my chiefs to council        25
  In the din of a troubled year;
For the sake of a sign ye would not see,
  And a word ye would not hear.
This is our message and answer;
  This is the path we chose:        30
For we be also a people,”
  Said our Lady of the Snows.
 
“Carry the word to my sisters—
  To the Queens of the East and the South.
I have proven faith in the Heritage        35
  By more than the word of the mouth.
They that are wise may follow
  Ere the world’s war-trumpet blows,
But I—I am first in the battle,”
  Said our Lady of the Snows.        40
 
A Nation spoke to a Nation,
  A Throne sent word to a Throne;
“Daughter am I in my mother’s house,
  But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,        45
  As the gates are mine to close,
And I abide by my Mother’s House,”
  Said our Lady of the Snows.
 
 
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