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Poem by Rudyard Kipling


WHY gird at Lollius if he care 
   To purchase in the city's sight, 
With nard and roses for his hair, 
   The name of Knight?

Son of unmitigated 'sires
   Enriched by trade in Afric corn, 
His wealth allows, his wife requires, 
   Him to be born.

Him slaves shall serve with zeal renewed 
   At lesser wage for longer whiles,
And school- and station-masters rude 
   Receive with smiles.

His bowels shall be sought in charge 
   By learned doctors; all his sons 
And nubile daughters shall enlarge 
   Their horizons.

For fierce she-Britons, apt to smite 
   Their upward-climbing sisters down, 
Shall smooth their plumes and oft invite 
   The brood to town.

For these delights will he disgorge 
   The State enormous benefice, 
But-by the head of either George-
   He pays not twice!

Whom neither lust for public pelf, 
   Nor itch to make orations, vex-
Content to honour his own self 
   With his own cheques-

That man is clean. At least, his house 
   Springs cleanly from untainted gold-
Not from a conscience or a spouse 
   Sold and resold.

Time was, you say, before men knew 
   Such arts, and rose by Virtue guided? 
The tables rock with laughter-you 
   Not least derided.

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling's other poems:
  1. The Last of the Light Brigade
  2. Verses on Games. To An Almanack of Twelve Sports by W. Nicholson, 1898
  3. Limits and Renewals. 1932. 15. The Curé
  4. Barrack-Room Ballads. 36. The Jacket. Royal Horse Artillery
  5. The Front Door

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