Rudyard Kipling

Here you will find the Poem Things and the Man of poet Rudyard Kipling

Things and the Man

(In Memoriam, Joseph Chamberlain)


"And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren and they hated him yet the more." -- Genesis xxxvii. 5.

Oh ye who hold the written clue
 To all save all unwritten things,
And, half a league behind, pursue
 The accomplished Fact with flouts and flings,
 Look! To your knee your baby brings
 The oldest tale since Earth began --
 The answer to your worryings:
 "Once on a time there was a Man."

He, single-handed, met and slew
 Magicians, Armies, Ogres, Kings.
He lonely 'mid his doubting crew --
 "In all the loneliness of wings " --
 He fed the flame, he filled the springs,
 He locked the ranks, he launched the van
 Straight at the grinning Teeth of Things.
 "Once on a time there was a Man."

The peace of shocked Foundations flew
 Before his ribald questionings.
He broke the Oracles in two,
 And bared the paltry wires and strings.
 He headed desert wanderings;
 He led his soul, his cause, his clan
 A little from the ruck of Things.
 "Once on a time there was a Man."

Thrones, Powers, Dominions block the view
 With episodes and underlings --
The meek historian deems them true
 Nor heeds the song that Clio sings --
 The simple central truth that stings
 The mob to boo, the priest to ban;
 Things never yet created things --
 "Once on a time there was a Man."

A bolt is fallen from the blue.
 A wakened realm full circle swings
Where Dothan's dreamer dreams anew
 Of vast and farborne harvestings;
 And unto him an Empire clings
 That grips the purpose of his plan.
 My Lords, how think you of these things?
 Once -- in our time -- is there a Man?