ACW

ACW

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The tumult and the shouting dies




I am writing this before the election, but you will be reading it afterwards. If the pundits are right you may be no nearer knowing the final outcome than I am now; some are predicting that it may take even longer than the five days it took to cobble together the coalition last time around.

As I was thinking about this, a poem by Rudyard Kipling came to mind. I looked it up and read it and it seemed rather pertinent, even though Britain no longer holds the dominion to which he refers and the mention of "lesser breeds" betrays an unconscious racism that is abhorrent today. The reference to Nineveh is particularly poignant, as, for the first time in almost two millennia, there may be no Christians left in Nineveh, or Mosul as we know it today. So here is Kipling’s poem, with no further comment from me:


Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

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