The Ballad of East and West

 

By Rudyard Kipling

 

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

 

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,

And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride.

He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,

And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.

Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:

"Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?"

Then up and spoke Mohammed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar:

"If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.

At dusk he harries the Abazai -- at dawn he is into Bonair,

But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,

So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,

By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.

But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,

For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.

There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,

And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen."

The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,

With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell

  and the head of the gallows-tree.

The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat --

Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.

He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly,

Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai,

Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back,

And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.

He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.

"Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said.  "Show now if ye can ride!"

It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dustdevils go,

The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.

The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above,

But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.

There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,

And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.

They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn,

The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.

The dun he fell at a water-course -- in a woeful heap fell he,

And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.

He has knocked the pistol out of his hand -- small room was there to strive,

"'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive:

There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,

But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.

If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,

The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:

If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,

The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly."

Lightly answered the Colonel's son:  "Do good to bird and beast,

But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.

If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away,

Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.

They will feed their horse on the standing crop,

  their men on the garnered grain,

The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.

But if thou thinkest the price be fair, -- thy brethren wait to sup,

The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, -- howl, dog, and call them up!

And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,

Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!"

Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.

"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet.

May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;

What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?"

Lightly answered the Colonel's son:  "I hold by the blood of my clan:

Take up the mare for my father's gift -- by God, she has carried a man!"

The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast;

"We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best.

So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,

My 'broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain."

The Colonel's son a pistol drew, and held it muzzle-end,

"Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he;

  "will ye take the mate from a friend?"

"A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb.

Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!"

With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest --

He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest.

"Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides,

And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides.

Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,

Thy life is his -- thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.

So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,

And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line,

And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power --

Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur!"

 

They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault,

They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:

They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod,

On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.

The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun,

And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.

And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear --

There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.

"Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son.

  "Put up the steel at your sides!

Last night ye had struck at a Border thief --

  to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!"

 

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

 

 

Buddha at Kamakura


"And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura"

O ye who tread the Narrow Way

By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,

Be gentle when "the heathen" pray

  To Buddha at Kamakura!

 

To him the Way, the Law, apart,

Whom Maya held beneath her heart,

Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat,

  The Buddha of Kamakura.

 

For though he neither burns nor sees,

Nor hears ye thank your Deities,

Ye have not sinned with such as these,

  His children at Kamakura,

 

Yet spare us still the Western joke

When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke

The little sins of little folk

  That worship at Kamakura --

 

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies

That flit beneath the Master's eyes.

He is beyond the Mysteries

  But loves them at Kamakura.

 

And whoso will, from Pride released,

Contemning neither creed nor priest,

May feel the Soul of all the East

  About him at Kamakura.

 

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,

Of birth as fish or beast or bird,

While yet in lives the Master stirred,

  The warm wind brings Kamakura.

 

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see

A-flower 'neath her golden htee

The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly

  From Burmah to Kamakura,

 

And down the loaded air there comes

The thunder of Thibetan drums,

And droned -- "Om mane padme hums" --

  A world's-width from Kamakura.

 

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,

Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill,

And beef-fed zealots threaten ill

  To Buddha and Kamakura.

 

A tourist-show, a legend told,

A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,

So much, and scarce so much, ye hold

  The meaning of Kamakura?

 

But when the morning prayer is prayed,

Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,

Is God in human image made

  No nearer than Kamakura?

 

 

 

Danny Deever

 

"What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade.

"To turn you out, to turn you out", the Colour-Sergeant said.

"What makes you look so white, so white?" said Files-on-Parade.

"I'm dreadin' what I've got to watch", the Colour-Sergeant said.

    For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,

    The Regiment's in 'ollow square -- they're hangin' him to-day;

    They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away,

    An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

 

"What makes the rear-rank breathe so 'ard?" said Files-on-Parade.

"It's bitter cold, it's bitter cold", the Colour-Sergeant said.

"What makes that front-rank man fall down?" said Files-on-Parade.

"A touch o' sun, a touch o' sun", the Colour-Sergeant said.

    They are hangin' Danny Deever, they are marchin' of 'im round,

    They 'ave 'alted Danny Deever by 'is coffin on the ground;

    An' 'e'll swing in 'arf a minute for a sneakin' shootin' hound --

    O they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'!

 

  "'Is cot was right-'and cot to mine", said Files-on-Parade.

"'E's sleepin' out an' far to-night", the Colour-Sergeant said.   

"I've drunk 'is beer a score o' times", said Files-on-Parade.

"'E's drinkin' bitter beer alone", the Colour-Sergeant said.

    They are hangin' Danny Deever, you must mark 'im to 'is place,

    For 'e shot a comrade sleepin' -- you must look 'im in the face;

    Nine 'undred of 'is county an' the Regiment's disgrace,

    While they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

 

"What's that so black agin' the sun?" said Files-on-Parade.

"It's Danny fightin' 'ard for life", the Colour-Sergeant said.

"What's that that whimpers over'ead?" said Files-on-Parade.

"It's Danny's soul that's passin' now", the Colour-Sergeant said.

    For they're done with Danny Deever, you can 'ear the quickstep play,

    The Regiment's in column, an' they're marchin' us away;

    Ho! the young recruits are shakin', an' they'll want their beer to-day,

    After hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

 

                                                                     “Fuzzy Wuzzy”

         

   (Soudan Expeditionary Force)

 

We've fought with many men acrost the seas,

  An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:

The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;

  But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.

We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:

  'E squatted in the scrub an' 'ocked our 'orses,

'E cut our sentries up at Suakim,

  An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.

    So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;

    You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;

    We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed

    We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.

 

We took our chanst among the Khyber 'ills,

  The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,

The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,

  An' a Zulu impi dished us up in style:

But all we ever got from such as they

  Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;

We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say,

  But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.

    Then 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid;

    Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.

    We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;

    But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

 

'E 'asn't got no papers of 'is own,

  'E 'asn't got no medals nor rewards,

So we must certify the skill 'e's shown

  In usin' of 'is long two-'anded swords:

When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the bush

  With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel-spear,

An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush

  Will last an 'ealthy Tommy for a year.

    So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' your friends which are no more,

    If we 'adn't lost some messmates we would 'elp you to deplore.

    But give an' take's the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,

    For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

 

'E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,

  An', before we know, 'e's 'ackin' at our 'ead;

'E's all 'ot sand an' ginger when alive,

  An' 'e's generally shammin' when 'e's dead.

'E's a daisy, 'e's a ducky, 'e's a lamb!

  'E's a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,

'E's the on'y thing that doesn't give a damn

  For a Regiment o' British Infantree!

    So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;

    You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;

    An' 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air --

    You big black boundin' beggar -- for you broke a British square!

 

 

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 imposters 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 on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe 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!

 

 

                                                        Mandalay

 

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,

There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:

"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"

    Come you back to Mandalay,

    Where the old Flotilla lay:

    Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?

    On the road to Mandalay,

    Where the flyin'-fishes play,

    An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

 

'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,

An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat -- jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,

An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,

An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:

    Bloomin' idol made o'mud --

    Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd --

    Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!

    On the road to Mandalay . . .

 

When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,

She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "Kulla-lo-lo!"

With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek agin' my cheek

We useter watch the steamers an' the hathis pilin' teak.

    Elephints a-pilin' teak

    In the sludgy, squdgy creek,

    Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!

    On the road to Mandalay . . .

 

But that's all shove be'ind me -- long ago an' fur away,

An' there ain't no 'busses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;

An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:

"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."

    No! you won't 'eed nothin' else

    But them spicy garlic smells,

    An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;

    On the road to Mandalay . . .

 

I am sick o' wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,

An' the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;

Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,

An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?

    Beefy face an' grubby 'and --

    Law! wot do they understand?

    I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!

    On the road to Mandalay . . .

 

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,

Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;

For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be --

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;

    On the road to Mandalay,

    Where the old Flotilla lay,

    With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!

    On the road to Mandalay,

    Where the flyin'-fishes play,

    An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

 

Home