Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
A Song in Storm
 
1914–18

BE well assured that on our side
  The abiding oceans fight,
Though headlong wind and heaping tide
  Make us their sport to-night.
By force of weather not of war        5
  In jeopardy we steer:
Then welcome Fate’s discourtesy
  Whereby it shall appear,
    How in all time of our distress,
    And our deliverance too,        10
    The game is more than the player of the game,
    And the ship is more than the crew!
 
Out of the mist into the mirk
  The glimmering combers roll.
Almost these mindless waters work        15
  As though they had a soul—
Almost as though they leagued to whelm
  Our flag beneath their green:
Then welcome Fate’s discourtesy
  Whereby it shall be seen, etc.        20
 
Be well assured, though wave and wind
  Have mightier blows in store,
That we who keep the watch assigned
  Must stand to it the more;
And as our streaming bows rebuke        25
  Each billow’s baulked career,
Sing, welcome Fate’s discourtesy
  Whereby it is made clear, etc.
 
No matter though our decks be swept
  And mast and timber crack—        30
We can make good all loss except
  The loss of turning back.
So, ’twixt these Devils and our deep
  Let courteous trumpets sound,
To welcome Fate’s discourtesy        35
  Whereby it will be found, etc.
 
Be well assured, though in our power
  Is nothing left to give
But chance and place to meet the hour,
  And leave to strive to live,        40
Till these dissolve our Order holds,
  Our Service binds us here.
Then welcome Fate’s discourtesy
  Whereby it is made clear,
    How in all time of our distress,        45
    As in our triumph too,
    The game is more than the player of the game,
    And the ship is more than the crew!
 
 
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