Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest We Forget - and Kipling's Recessional


ANZAC dawn bleeding
Australians remembered
today and every day
 Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Three words forged into the mind when we consider war. Perhaps originating in use from Kipling's poem - Recessional (= text for use at the end of a service as clergy retire) ... written in 1897 to mark the 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign ... a prayer to be humble before the Lord ...


God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of the far flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord god of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Ninevah and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law-
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling (b Bombay India in 1865 ... died London 1936)

Two contrasting quotes on Kipling ...

His popularity was due to political reasons, and ... he retains his authority over the hordes because he is the bard of their prejudices and their clayey ideals. (Arnold Bennet 1909)

Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known' ... Henry James

Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 (the first and youngest ever English writer).

He declined the Poet Laureate and a Knighthood.

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