An occasional poem, from Kipling. Discussing those who could not become remittance men: those, and the third and fourth sons of the gentry, builded the Antipodean colonies, particularly New Zealand and Canada.

The Broken Men

For things we never mention,

For Art misunderstood —

For excellent intention

That did not turn to good;

From ancient tales’ renewing,

From clouds we would not clear —

Beyond the Law’s pursuing

We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,

We bade no long good-byes.

Men talked of crime and thieving,

Men wrote of fraud and lies.

To save our injured feelings

Twas time and time to go —

Behind was dock and Dartmoor,

Ahead lay Callao!

The widow and the orphan

That pray for ten per cent,

They clapped their trailers on us

To spy the road we went.

They watched the foreign sailings

(They scan the shipping still),

And that’s your Christian people

Returning good for ill!

God bless the thoughtful islands

Where never warrants come;

God bless the just Republics

That give a man a home,

That ask no foolish questions,

But set him on his feet;

And save his wife and daughters

From the workhouse and the street!

On church and square and market

The noonday silence falls;

You’ll hear the drowsy mutter

Of the fountain in our halls.

Asleep amid the yuccas

The city takes her ease —

Till twilight brings the land-wind

To the clicking jalousies.

Day long the diamond weather,

The high, unaltered blue —

The smell of goats and incense

And the mule-bells tinkling through.

Day long the warder ocean

That keeps us from our kin,

And once a month our levee

When the English mail comes in.

You’ll find us up and waiting

To treat you at the bar;

You’ll find us less exclusive

Than the average English are.

We’ll meet you with a carriage,

Too glad to show you round,

But — we do not lunch on steamers,

For they are English ground.

We sail o’ nights to England

And join our smiling Boards —

Our wives go in with Viscounts

And our daughters dance with Lords,

But behind our princely doings,

And behind each coup we make,

We feel there’s Something Waiting,

And — we meet It when we wake.

Ah, God! One sniff of England —

To greet our flesh and blood —

To hear the traffic slurring

Once more through London mud!

Our towns of wasted honour —

Our streets of lost delight!

How stands the old Lord Warden?

Are Dover’s cliffs still white?

Rudyard Kipling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.