The Song Of The Old Guard


Know this, my brethren, Heaven is clear
 And all the clouds are gone,
The Proper Sort shall flourish now,
 Good times are coming on",
The evil that was threatened late
 To all of our degree
Hath passed in discord and debate,
 And,Hey then up go we!

A common people strove in vain
 To shame us unto toil,
But they are spent and we remain,
 And we shall share the spoil
According to our several needs
 As Beauty shall decree,
As Age ordains or Birth concedes,
 And, Hey then up go we!

And they that with accursed zeal
 Our Service would amend,
Shall own the odds and come to heel
 Ere worse befall their end:
For though no naked word be wrote
 Yet plainly shall they see
What pinneth Orders on their coat,
 And, Hey then up go we!

Our doorways that, in time of fear,
 We opened overwide
Shall softly close from year to year
 Till all be purified;
For though no fluttering fan be heard.
 Nor chaff be seen to flee,
The Lord shall winnow the Lord's Preferred,
 And, Hey then up go we!

Our altars which the heathen brake
 Shall rankly smoke anew,
And anise, mint and cummin take
 Their dread and sovereign due,
Whereby the buttons of our trade
 Shall soon restored be
With curious work in gilt and braid,
 And, Hey then up go we!

Then come, my brethren, and prepare
 The candlesticks and bells,
The scarlet, brass, and badger's hair
 Wherein our Honour dwells,
And straitly fence and strictly keep
 The Ark's integrity
Till Armageddon break our sleep . . .
 And, Hey then go we!


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Return to the Rudyard Kipling Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Song Of The Sons

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