Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
A School Song
 
“LET us now praise famous men”
  Men of little showing
For their work continueth,
And their work continueth,
Broad and deep continueth,        5
  Greater than their knowing!
 
Western wind and open surge
  Took us from our mothers,
Flung us on a naked shore
(Twelve bleak houses by the shore!        10
Seven summers by the shore!)
  ’Mid two hundred brothers.
 
There we met with famous men
  Set in office o’er us;
And they beat on us with rods—        15
Faithfully with many rods—
Daily beat us on with rods,
  For the love they bore us!
 
Out of Egypt unto Troy—
  Over Himalaya—        20
Far and sure our bands have gone—
Hy-Brazil or Babylon,
Islands of the Southern Run,
  And Cities of Cathaia!
 
And we all praise famous men—        25
  Ancients of the College;
For they taught us common sense—
Tried to teach us common sense—
Truth and God’s Own Common Sense
  Which is more than knowledge!        30
 
Each degree of Latitude
  Strung about Creation
Seeth one or more of us
(Of one muster each of us),
Diligent in that he does,        35
  Keen in his vocation.
 
This we learned from famous men,
  Knowing not its uses,
When they showed, in daily work,
Man must finish off his work—        40
Right or wrong, his daily work—
  And without excuses.
 
Servants of the Staff and chain,
  Mine and fuse and grapnel—
Some, before the face of Kings,        45
Stand before the face of Kings;
Bearing gifts to divers Kings—
  Gifts of case and shrapnel.
 
This we learned from famous men
  Teaching in our borders,        50
Who declarèd it was best,
Safest, easiest, and best—
Expeditious, wise, and best—
  To obey your orders.
 
Some beneath the further stars        55
  Bear the greater burden:
Set to serve the lands they rule,
(Save he serve no man may rule),
Serve and love the lands they rule;
  Seeking praise nor guerdon.        60
 
This we learned from famous men,
  Knowing not we learned it.
Only, as the years went by—
Lonely, as the years went by—
Far from help as years went by,        65
  Plainer we discerned it.
 
Wherefore praise we famous men
  From whose bays we borrow—
They that put aside To-day—
All the joys of their To-day—        70
And with toil of their To-day
  Bought for us To-morrow!
 
Bless and praise we famous men
  Men of little showing
For their work continueth,        75
And their work continueth,
Broad and deep continueth,
  Great beyond their knowing!
 
 
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