Not in the thick of the fight, Not in the press of the odds, Do the heroes come to their height, Or we know the demi-gods. That stands over till peace. We can only perceive Men returned from the seas, Very grateful for leave. They grant us sudden days Snatched from their business of war; But we are too close to appraise What manner of men they are. And, whether their names go down With age-kept victories, Or whether they battle and drown Unreckoned, is hid from our eyes. They are too near to be great, But our children shall understand When and how our fate Was changed, and by whose hand. Our children shall measure their worth. We are content to be blind... But we know that we walk on a new-born earth With the saviours of mankind.
Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Veterans