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UK_Widowmaker

OT- Thank you Bullethead!

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Not only do you make me laugh..you quote some wonderful stuff!...and after reading a few lines of an earlier post, I looked up the full version of Kiplings poem! :good: (the contents of which, I am sure you are well aware of!)

 

I am not a massive fan of poetry...but I find myself reading these words, probably slightly more than I should!!..as they seem to mean something different, and I see more to them each time I read them.

 

Here is the full version.... thanks again Bullethead!

 

 

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

 

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

 

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

 

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

 

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;

 

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Edited by UK_Widowmaker

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Wow! Hats off to Rudyard Kipling!

(Didn't know that artillery men read such prose?)

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I am not a massive fan of poetry...but I find myself reading these words, probably slightly more than I should!!..as they seem to mean something different, and I see more to them each time I read them.

 

Glad you liked it--it's my all-time favorite poem. I read next to zero poetry myself, and only like a fraction of that, but I like many of Kipling's. I got into them as a boy and liked them because so many were tales of blood and thunder. And as I've gotten older, I've come to like others of his poems, like this one, that I didn't understand back then, and have come to a greater appreciation of some of my old favorites after having experienced some of the same sorts of things. Kipling had a real gift for saying a lot with a few relatively simple words cleverly arranged.

 

Some of my other favorites:

 

Gunga Din

The Ballad of East and West

The Female of the Species

The Ballad of the King's Mercy

The Truce of the Bear

Tommy

The 'Eathen

The Ballad of Boh Da Thone

 

And, of course, there's a special place in my heart for The Betrothed :biggrin:

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If you're a Kipling fan and haven't yet seen the film "My Boy Jack," go out and rent or buy it immediately. I saw it just a few nights ago.

 

Even if you're not a Kipling fan (and I'm not into all that jingoistic blather justifying sending our best young people to fight totally pointless wars while the pampered children of the privileged stay home), it's well worth seeing.

 

It's brilliantly done, the true story of Kipling and his son, who joined the British Army to please his father (Rudyard managed to pull a few strings because his son was hopelessly near-sighted without his glasses and repeatedly failed his physical exams for both the Navy and Army) and went missing in his first battle (Loos) in WWI.

 

Kipling and his family were devastated as were hundreds of thousands of other families whose names we don't know.

 

And, yes, Daniel Radcliffe can play a character other than Harry Potter. He's excellent, as is the entire cast.

 

ttt

Edited by tttiger

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If you're a Kipling fan and haven't yet seen the film "My Boy Jack," go out and rent or buy it...

Yes! Great film. Made even more poignant by the fact that Rudyard had to stand by all his fine rhetoric, and worse yet, he was on the Propaganda Board and was briefed by the Army liason officer who would explain in stark detail all the cock-ups after each battle. Then the board had to put the best face on it. And Rudyard sent Jack to it.

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Well, if you are going to tout Kipling, and you should cause he rocks, you must read "IF". Its a great yardstick for life.......aaannnnnnd all that other stuff that happens beore you die. :yes:

 

ZZ.

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Some of my other favorites:

 

Gunga Din

The Ballad of East and West

The Female of the Species

The Ballad of the King's Mercy

The Truce of the Bear

Tommy

The 'Eathen

The Ballad of Boh Da Thone

 

And, of course, there's a special place in my heart for The Betrothed :biggrin:

 

 

My favorite is If

 

IF

 

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you

But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,

If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

 

 

--Rudyard Kipling

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Ooh...Sounds like a good movie tttiger!.... I think I will have a look at that!..thanks for the headsup

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Well, if you are going to tout Kipling, and you should cause he rocks, you must read "IF". Its a great yardstick for life.......aaannnnnnd all that other stuff that happens beore you die. :yes:

 

When I was young, I thought the same. But now I'm older, and in my life, 1 by 1 those things have all happened to me, many of them several times over. As these experiences accumulated, at first I'd remember this poem and grin and bear it. After a while I scowled and bore it. Then I cursed and bore it. Now I'm a gimpy, bitter, cynical old fart who drinks, curses, and still bears it because there's no other choice, but who looks back wishing that on those occasions when everybody else was losing their heads, I'd lost mine, too :angry2:

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When I was young, I thought the same. But now I'm older, and in my life, 1 by 1 those things have all happened to me, many of them several times over. As these experiences accumulated, at first I'd remember this poem and grin and bear it. After a while I scowled and bore it. Then I cursed and bore it. Now I'm a gimpy, bitter, cynical old fart who drinks, curses, and still bears it because there's no other choice, but who looks back wishing that on those occasions when everybody else was losing their heads, I'd lost mine, too :angry2:

 

Amen to that! :sad:

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Oft overlooked, 'The Land' is my favourite Kipling poem. For any Brit, it's redolent with the longevity of this great country of ours and through every stanza runs the reassuring theme - that it's the common good with it's own basic sense of moral justice, cocking a sniff at the passing fads, that survives.

 

 

 

The Land

 

When Julius Fabricius, Sub-Prefect of the Weald,

In the days of Diocletian owned our Lower River-field,

He called to him Hobdenius - a Briton of the Clay,

Saying: 'What about that River-piece for layin' in to hay?'

 

And the aged Hobden answered: 'I remember as a lad

My father told your father that she wanted dreenin' bad.

An' the more that you neeglect her the less you'll get her clean.

Have it jest as you've a mind to, but, if I was you, I'd dreen.'

 

So they drained it long and crossways in the lavish Roman style.

Still we find among the river-drift their flakes of ancient tile,

And in drouthy middle August, when the bones of meadows show,

We can trace the lines they followed sixteen hundred years ago.

 

Then Julius Fabricius died as even Prefects do,

And after certain centuries, Imperial Rome died too.

Then did robbers enter Britain from across the Northern main

And our Lower River-field was won by Ogier the Dane.

 

Well could Ogier work his war-boat - well could Ogier wield his brand -

Much he knew of foaming waters - not so much of farming land.

So he called to him a Hobden of the old unaltered blood.

Saying: 'What about that River-bit, she doesn't look no good?'

 

And that aged Hobden answered: ''Tain't for me to interfere,

But I've known that bit o' meadow now for five and fifty year.

Have it jest as you've a mind to, but I've proved it time on time,

If you want to change her nature you have got to give her lime!'

 

Ogier sent his wains to Lewes, twenty hours' solemn walk,

And drew back great abundance of the cool, grey, healing chalk.

And old Hobden spread it broadcast, never heeding what was in't;

Which is why in cleaning ditches, now and then we find a flint.

 

Ogier died. His sons grew English. Anglo-Saxon was their name,

Till out of blossomed Normandy another pirate came;

For Duke William conquered England and divided with his men,

And our Lower River-field he gave to William of Warenne.

 

But the Brook (you know her habit) rose one rainy Autumn night

And tore down sodden flitches of the bank to left and right.

So, said William to his Bailiff as they rode their dripping rounds:

'Hob, what about that River-bit - the Brook's got up no bounds?'

 

And that aged Hobden answered: ''Tain't my business to advise,

But ye might ha' known 'twould happen from the way the valley lies.

When ye can't hold back the water you must try and save the sile.

Hev it jest as you've a mind to, but, if I was you, I'd spile!'

 

They spiled along the water-course with trunks of willow-trees

And planks of elms behind 'em and immortal oaken knees.

And when the spates of Autumn whirl the gravel-beds away

You can see their faithful fragments iron-hard in iron clay.

 

* * * * *

 

Georgii Quinti Anno Sexto, I, who own the River-field,

Am fortified with title-deeds, attested, signed and sealed,

Guaranteeing me, my assigns, my executors and heirs

All sorts of powers and profits which - are neither mine nor theirs.

 

I have rights of chase and warren, as my dignity requires.

I can fish - but Hobden tickles. I can shoot - but Hobden wires.

I repair, but he reopens, certain gaps which, men allege,

Have been used by every Hobden since a Hobden swapped a hedge.

 

Shall I dog his morning progress o'er the track-betraying dew?

Demand his dinner-basket into which my pheasant flew?

Confiscate his evening faggot into which the conies ran,

And summons him to judgment? I would sooner summons Pan.

 

His dead are in the churchyard - thirty generations laid.

Their names went down in Domesday Book when Domesday Book was made.

And the passion and the piety and prowess of his line

Have seeded, rooted, fruited in some land the Law calls mine.

 

Not for any beast that burrows, not for any bird that flies,

Would I lose his large sound council, miss his keen amending eyes.

He is bailiff, woodman, wheelwright, field-surveyor, engineer,

And if flagrantly a poacher - 'tain't for me to interfere.

 

'Hob, what about that River-bit?' I turn to him again

With Fabricius and Ogier and William of Warenne.

'Hev it jest as you've a mind to, but' - and so he takes command.

For whoever pays the taxes old Mus' Hobden owns the land.

 

 

 

'Georgii Quinti Anno Sexto' - Seventh year of George V

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I had a Sergeant-Major who changed the poem to read if an officer! He's the same Sergeant-Major who also told me to treat all officers as the enemy!

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Here you can learn some English poetry and wisdom.

I must try to translate some of that.

What does the "copybook heading" mean ?

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Here you can learn some English poetry and wisdom.

I must try to translate some of that.

What does the "copybook heading" mean ?

 

A copybook is an exercise book used to practice one's handwriting in. The pages are blank except for horizontal rulings and a printed specimen of 'perfect' handwriting at the top. You were supposed to copy this specimen all down the page. The specimens were typically proverbs or quotations, or little commonplace encouraging or admonishing sayings—the ones in the poem illustrate the kind of thing. These were the copybook headings.

 

You could almost substitute 'Tabloid Headlines' these days, especially when the Daily Hypocrite... Ahem! I mean Daily Mail, or The Sun are staking a moral high ground.

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You could almost substitute 'Tabloid Headlines'

 

Spoken like a true follower of the Gods of the Marketplace....

 

The "copybook headings" were almost all long-established truisms, derived from pure common sense as filtered through the bloody empirical experience of the ages. IOW, they were (mostly) the closest things to "universal truths" ever established by humanity. Sure, there were a few jingoistic things mixed in, but that was the culture of the times. Most of them were straight-out facts of life.

 

Of course, such things are anathema in a politically correct climate of moral reletavism and left-wing politics. People can always be talked into "robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul", aka socialism and the welfare state, etc. But the poem's point (at least as I interpret it) is that humanity is always drawn to such climates, and never learns that they're not sustainable despite all the lessons of history. They always lead to a disastrous collapse, when the "Gods of the Copybook Headings limp up to explain it once more".

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Spoken like a true follower of the Gods of the Marketplace....

 

I'd hope NOT, BH. I read more embittered, misanthropic irony in it, perhaps. Or maybe I'm reading irony INTO it when it isn't there. It was published in 1919... so I'm expecting a perception that it was in part the jingoistic slogans on both sides of the conflict that had helped turn the Western Front into the charnel house of Europe - 'Dulce et decorum est...' etc.

 

But that's poetry for you, hardly the World's most objective art form, is it? :grin:

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