Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
The Broken Men
 
1902

FOR things we never mention,
  For Art misunderstood—
For excellent intention
  That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales’ renewing,        5
  From clouds we would not clear—
Beyond the Law’s pursuing
  We fled, and settled here.
 
We took no tearful leaving,
  We bade no long good-byes;        10
Men talked of crime and thieving,
  Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
  ’T was time and time to go—
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,        15
  Ahead lay Callao!
 
The widow and the orphan
  That pray for ten per cent,
They clapped their trailers on us
  To spy the road we went.        20
They watched the foreign sailings
  (They scan the shipping still),
And that’s your Christian people
  Returning good for ill!
 
God bless the thoughtful islands        25
  Where never warrants come;
God bless the just Republics
  That give a man a home,
That ask no foolish questions,
  But set him on his feet;        30
And save his wife and daughters
  From the workhouse and the street!
 
On church and square and market
  The noonday silence falls;
You’ll hear the drowsy mutter        35
  Of the fountain in our halls.
Asleep amid the yuccas
  The city takes her ease—
Till twilight brings the land-wind
  To the clicking jalousies.        40
 
Day long the diamond weather,
  The high, unaltered blue—
The smell of goats and incense
  And the mule-bells tinkling through.
Day long the warder ocean        45
  That keeps us from our kin,
And once a month our levee
  When the English mail comes in.
 
You’ll find us up and waiting
  To treat you at the bar;        50
You’ll find us less exclusive
  Than the average English are.
We’ll meet you with a carriage,
  Too glad to show you round,
But—we do not lunch on steamers,        55
  For they are English ground.
 
We sail o’ nights to England
  And join our smiling Boards—
Our wives go in with Viscounts
  And our daughters dance with Lords,        60
But behind our princely doings,
  And behind each coup we make,
We feel there’s Something Waiting,
  And—we meet It when we wake.
 
Ah God! One sniff of England—        65
  To greet our flesh and blood—
To hear the traffic slurring
  Once more through London mud!
Our towns of wasted honour—
  Our streets of lost delight!        70
How stands the old Lord Warden?
  Are Dover’s cliffs still white?
 
 
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