Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Great-Heart
 
(THEODORE ROOSEVELT IN 1919) 1

 “The Interpreter then called for a man-servant of his, one Great-Heart.”
Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.”    

CONCERNING brave Captains
  Our age hath made known
For all men to honour,
  One standeth alone,
Of whom, o’er both oceans        5
  Both Peoples may say:
“Our realm is diminished
  With Great-Heart away.”
 
In purpose unsparing,
  In action no less,        10
The labours he praised
  He would seek and profess
Through travail and battle,
  At hazard and pain….
And our world is none the braver        15
  Since Great-Heart was ta’en!
 
Plain speech with plain folk,
  And plain words for false things,
Plain faith in plain dealing
  ’Twixt neighbours or kings        20
He used and he followed,
  However it sped….
Oh, our world is none more honest
  Now Great-Heart is dead!
 
The heat of his spirit        25
  Struck warm through all lands;
For he loved such as showed
  ’Emselves men of their hands;
In love, as in hate,
  Paying home to the last….        30
But our world is none the kinder
  Now Great-Heart hath passed!
 
Hard-schooled by long power,
  Yet most humble of mind
Where aught that he was        35
  Might advantage mankind.
Leal servant, loved master,
  Rare comrade, sure guide …
Oh, our world is none the safer
  Now Great-Heart hath died!        40
 
Let those who would handle
  Make sure they can wield
His far-reaching sword
  And his close-guarding shield:
For those who must journey        45
  Henceforward alone
Have need of stout convoy
  Now Great-Heart is gone.
 
Note 1. All the poems in this volume belong to the period of 1885 to 1918 inclusive, with the exception of “Great-Heart,” which was written after Theodore Roosevelt’s death in 1919. [back]
 
 
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