THE SONG OF THE WHITE MEN
by Rudyard Kipling, 1899
Now this is the cup the White Men drink
...When they go to right a wrong,
And that is the cup of the old world's hate -
...Cruel and stained and strong.
We have drunk that cup-and a bitter, bitter cup -
...And tossed the dregs away.
But well for the world when the White Men drink
...To the dawn of the White Man's day!
Now this is the road that the White Men tread
...When they go to clean a land -
Iron underfoot and levin overhead
...And the deep on either hand.
We have trod that road-and a wet and windy road _
...Our chosen star for guide.
Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread
...Their highway side by side!
Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold
...When they build their homes afar -
"Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons
...And, failing freedom, War."
We have proved our faith - bear witness to our faith,
...Dear souls of freemen slain!
Oh, well for the world when the White Men join
...To prove their faith again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865—1936) was a popular and famous British poet and writer of fiction, a Nobel Prize winner (when it still meant something) who also sparked controversy for his prejudices and pro-British bias. Kipling was also a student of what is called “British Identity”, a still-extant and incomplete theology based upon the fact that the Saxon and Keltic peoples indeed descended from the Israelites of the Old Testament. His poem at right, Recessional, reflects those beliefs. This is not only a Victorian ode, but also a prayer, and is one of my favorite poems. Kipling’s ode is so much more compelling in this day and age, since indeed his worst fears came true: England did indeed forget—and where is her glory now? The United States is, of course, no better off under the financial control of God’s enemies.