Jobson’s Amen


    “Blessed be the English and all their ways and works.
    Cursed be the Infidels, Hereticks, and Turks!”
    “Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
    Was neither Candle, Bell nor Book to curse my brethren by,

    “But a palm-tree in full bearing, bowing down, bowing down,
    To a surf that drove unsparing at the brown, walled town,
    Conches in a temple, oil-lamps in a dome,
    And a low moon out of Africa said: ‘This way home!’”

    “Blessed be the English and all that they profess.
    Cursed be the Savages that prance in nakedness!”
    “Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
    Was neither shirt nor pantaloons to catch my brethren by:

    “But a well-wheel slowly creaking, going round, going round,
    By a water-channel leaking over drowned, warm ground,
    Parrots very busy in the trellised pepper-vine,
    And a high sun over Asia shouting: ‘Rise and shine!’”

    “Blessèd be the English and everything they own.
    Cursed be the Infidels that bow to wood and stone!”
    “Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
    Was neither pew nor Gospelleer to save my brethren by:

    “But a desert stretched and stricken, left and right, left and right,
    Where the piled mirages thicken under white-hot light,
    A skull beneath a sand-hill and a viper coiled inside,
    And a red wind out of Libya roaring: ‘Run and hide!’”

    “Blessèd be the English and all they make or do.
    Cursèd be the Hereticks who doubt that this is true!”
    “Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I mean to die
    Is neither rule nor calliper to judge the matter by:

    “But Himalaya heavenward-heading, sheer and vast, sheer and vast,
    In a million summits bedding on the last world’s past,
    A certain sacred mountain where the scented cedars climb,
    And, the feet of my Beloved hurrying back through Time!”


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