Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
The American Rebellion
 
(1776)

I
BEFORE

’TWAS not while England’s sword unsheathed
  Put half a world to flight,
Nor while their new-built cities breathed
  Secure behind her might;
Not while she poured from Pole to Line        5
  Treasure and ships and men—
These worshippers at Freedom’s shrine
  They did not quit her then!
 
Not till their foes were driven forth
  By England o’er the main—        10
Not till the Frenchman from the North
  Had gone with shattered Spain;
Not till the clean-swept oceans showed
  No hostile flag unrolled,
Did they remember what they owed        15
  To Freedom—and were bold!
 
II
AFTER

THE SNOW lies thick on Valley Forge,
  The ice on the Delaware,
But the poor dead soldiers of King George
  They neither know nor care—        20
 
Not though the earliest primrose break
  On the sunny side of the lane,
And scuffling rookeries awake
  Their England’s spring again.
 
They will not stir when the drifts are gone        25
  Or the ice melts out of the bay:
And the men that served with Washington
  Lie all as still as they.
 
They will not stir though the mayflower blows
  In the moist dark woods of pine,        30
And every rock-strewn pasture shows
  Mullein and columbine.
 
Each for his land, in a fair fight,
  Encountered, strove, and died,
And the kindly earth that knows no spite        35
  Covers them side by side.
 
She is too busy to think of war;
  She has all the world to make gay;
And, behold, the yearly flowers are,
  Where they were in our fathers’ day!        40
 
Golden-rod by the pasture-wall
  When the columbine is dead,
And sumach leaves that turn, in fall,
  Bright as the blood they shed.
 
 
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