Now praise the Gods of Time and Chance That bring a hearts desire, And lay the joyous roads of France Once more beneath the tyre, So numbered by Napoleon, The veriest ass can spy How Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame And Ten is for Hendaye. Sixteen hath fed our fighting-line From Dunkirk to Péronne, And Thirty-nine and Twenty-nine Can show where it has gone, Which slant through Arras and Bapaume, And join outside Cambrai, While Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, And Ten is for Hendaye. The crops and houses spring once more Where Thirty-seven ran, And even ghostly Forty-four Is all restored to man. Oh, swift as shell-hole poppies pass The blurring years go by, And Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, And Ten is for Hendaye! And you desire that sheeted snow Where chill Mont Louis stands? And we the rounder gales that blow Full-lunged across the Landes, So you will use the Orleans Gate, While we slip through Versailles; Since Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, And Ten is for Hendaye. Sou-West by South, and South by West, On every vine appear Those four first cautious leaves that test The temper of the year; The dust is white at Angoulême, The sun is warm at Blaye; And Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, And Ten is for Hendaye. Broad and unbridled, mile on mile, The highway drops her line Past Langon down that grey-walled aisle Of resin-scented pine; And ninety to the lawless hour The kilometres fly, What was your pace to Bourg-Madame? We sauntered to Hendaye. Now Fontarabia marks our goal, And Bidassoa shows, At issue with each whispering shoal In violet, pearl and rose, Ere crimson over oceans edge The sunset banners die . . . Yes, Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, But Ten is for Hendaye! Oh, praise the Gods of Time and Chance That ease the long control, And bring the glorious soul of France Once more to cheer our soul With beauty, change and valiancy Of sun and soil and sky, Where Twenty takes to Bourg-Madame, And Ten is for Hendaye!
Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; A Song Of Kabir