Justice

Justice

by Rudyard Kipling

October, 1918

Across a world where all men grieve

   And grieving strive the more,

The great days range like tides and leave

    Our dead on every shore.

Heavy the load we undergo,

    And our own hands prepare,

If we have parley with the foe,

    The load our sons must bear.

 

Before we loose the word

That bids new worlds to birth,

Needs must we loosen first the sword

Of Justice upon earth;

Or else all else is vain

Since life on earth began,

And the spent world sinks back again

Hopeless of God and Man.

 

A People and their King

Through ancient sin grown strong,

Because they feared no reckoning

Would set no bound to wrong;

But now their hour is past,

And we who bore it find

Evil Incarnate held at last

To answer to mankind.

 

For agony and spoil

Of nations beat to dust,

For poisoned air and tortured soil

And cold, commanded lust,

And every secret woe

The shuddering waters saw—

Willed and fulfilled by high and low—

Let them relearn the Law:

 

That when the dooms are read,

Not high nor low shall say:—

“My haughty or my humble head

Has saved me in this day.”

That, till the end of time,

Their remnant shall recall

Their fathers’ old, confederate crime

Availed them not at all:

 

That neither schools nor priests,

Nor Kings may build again

A people with the heart of beasts

Made wise concerning men.

Whereby our dead shall sleep

In honour, unbetrayed,

And we in faith and honour keep

That peace for which they paid.


About the author

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 1865  – January 1936) was an English writer who was born in India. He is one of the best-known of the late Victorian poets and story-tellers. Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, but his political views, which grew more polarizing as he got older, have long made him critically unpopular. Kipling’s works for children, especially his novel The Jungle Book, which was first published in 1894, remain part of popular cultural. There have been multiple movie versions of the book made and remade since the 1960s.

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