Tag Archives: Rudyard Kipling

“What stands if Freedom fall? Who dies if England live?”

“For All We Have And Are,” by Rudyard Kipling

For all we have and are,
For all our children’s fate,
Stand up and take the war.
The Hun is at the gate!
Our world has passed away,
In wantonness o’erthrown.
There is nothing left to-day
But steel and fire and stone!
Though all we knew depart,
The old Commandments stand:—
“In courage keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand.”

Once more we hear the word
That sickened earth of old:—
“No law except the Sword
Unsheathed and uncontrolled.”
Once more it knits mankind,
Once more the nations go
To meet and break and bind
A crazed and driven foe.

Comfort, content, delight,
The ages’ slow-bought gain,
They shrivelled in a night.
Only ourselves remain
To face the naked days
In silent fortitude,
Through perils and dismays
Renewed and re-renewed.
Though all we made depart,
The old Commandments stand:—
“In patience keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand.”

No easy hope or lies
Shall bring us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all—
One life for each to give.
What stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?

— 1914

 

page396-1024px-Rudyard_Kipling's_verse_-_Inclusive_Edition_1885-1918.djvu

“No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

— Rudyard Kipling

This quote is often mistakenly attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche.  Kipling said it in a 1935 interview with Reader’s Digest.

 

Rudyard_Kipling_(portrait)

Throwback Thursday: “Just So Stories,” by Rudyard Kipling, 1902

Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” was one of my favorite childhood books — a gem I found in my elementary school library.  (I seem to remember the nuns just sort of setting us loose there during reading class with the instructions to find something we liked.  It was the kind of unstructured activity that I don’t often remember from Catholic School.)

It’s basically a short collection of fables that Kipling concocted for his daughter about how certain animals got their key traits (“How the Elephant Got His Trunk,” “How the Leopard Got His Spots,” etc.).  This was one of two favorite books that were consistently a magnet for me in the tiny, tidy library beside the principal’s office.  The other was the collection of Arabian folktales, “One Thousand and One Nights.”

Growing up, I never realized that Kipling was the same author who wrote “Gunga Din” — both the 1890 poem and the eponymous 1939 war film with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  (That movie was beloved by my father and brother, and later by me.)  I just never made the connection.

 

Just_So_Stories_Kipling_1902

Justso_rhino

Illustration_at_p._73_in_Just_So_Stories_(c1912)

“Run and find out!”

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!!  He’s the mascot for empiricism, people.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Shermer had a pet mongoose.)  And then the little fella just kicks the crap out of poisonous snakes.

“It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mongoose family is “Run and find out,” and Rikki-Tikki was a true mongoose.”

— Rudyard Kipling, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

“Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”
At the hole where he went in
Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin.
Hear what little Red-Eye saith:
“Nag, come up and dance with death!”
Eye to eye and head to head,
(Keep the measure, Nag.)
This shall end when one is dead;
(At thy pleasure, Nag.)
Turn for turn and twist for twist–
(Run and hide thee, Nag.)
Hah! The hooded Death has missed!
(Woe betide thee, Nag!)”

— from Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi_cover

“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”

Celebrate National Poetry Month — here is Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din.”

And if your childhood was anything like mine, you have seen the 1939 film adaptation with Carey Grant more than a few times.

A fictionalized version of Kipling himself is actually a minor character in the film.

(Thanks to Bartelby.com for the text.)

 

Image

Gunga Din

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

You may talk o’ gin and beer   
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,   
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter   
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.   
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,   
Where I used to spend my time   
A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,   
Of all them blackfaced crew   
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din,   
      He was ‘Din! Din! Din!
   ‘You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
      ‘Hi! Slippy hitherao
      ‘Water, get it! Panee lao,
   ‘You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.’

The uniform ’e wore
Was nothin’ much before,
An’ rather less than ’arf o’ that be’ind,
For a piece o’ twisty rag   
An’ a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment ’e could find.
When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
In a sidin’ through the day,
Where the ’eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
We shouted ‘Harry By!’
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped ’im ’cause ’e couldn’t serve us all.
      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!
   ‘You ’eathen, where the mischief ’ave you been?   
      ‘You put some juldee in it
      ‘Or I’ll marrow you this minute
   ‘If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!’

’E would dot an’ carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An’ ’e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
’E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.   
With ’is mussick a on ’is back,
’E would skip with our attack,
An’ watch us till the bugles made ‘Retire,’   
An’ for all ’is dirty ’ide
’E was white, clear white, inside
When ’e went to tend the wounded under fire!   
      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!’
   With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.   
      When the cartridges ran out,
      You could hear the front-ranks shout,   
   ‘Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!’

I shan’t forgit the night
When I dropped be’ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should ’a’ been.   
I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
An’ the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.   
’E lifted up my ’ead,
An’ he plugged me where I bled,
An’ ’e guv me ’arf-a-pint o’ water green.
It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!
   ‘’Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ’is spleen;   
   ‘’E’s chawin’ up the ground,
      ‘An’ ’e’s kickin’ all around:
   ‘For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!’

’E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.   
’E put me safe inside,
An’ just before ’e died,
‘I ’ope you liked your drink,’ sez Gunga Din.   
So I’ll meet ’im later on
At the place where ’e is gone—
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.   
’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!   
      Yes, Din! Din! Din!
   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!   
   Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,   
      By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!