Monday, March 31, 2008

Mr. Kipling makes exceedingly good predictions...

It's very fashionable these days to trash Kipling, and some of his work does clunk and creak to be true. However, a few days ago something triggered a memory of reading a poem of his one baking hot afternoon in 1973. This was back in the day when the education system still tried to impart knowledge.




A Servant when He Reigneth

Three things make earth unquiet
And four she cannot brook
The godly Agur counted them
And put them in a book –
Those Four Tremendous Curses
With which mankind is cursed;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Old Agur entered first.

An Handmaid that is Mistress
We need not call upon.
A Fool when he is full of Meat
Will fall asleep anon.
An Odious Woman Married
May bear a babe and mend;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Is Confusion to the end.

His feet are swift to tumult,
His hands are slow to toil,
His ears are deaf to reason,
His lips are loud in broil.
He knows no use for power
Except to show his might.
He gives no heed to judgment
Unless it prove him right.

Because he served a master
Before his Kingship came,
And hid in all disaster
Behind his master’s name,
So, when his Folly opens
The unnecessary hells,
A Servant when He Reigneth
Throws the blame on someone else.

His vows are lightly spoken,
His faith is hard to bind,
His trust is easy broken,
He fears his fellow-kind.
The nearest mob will move him
To break the pledge he gave –
Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
Is more than ever slave!

Ring any bells?

Scathing, and chillingly prescient.

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