Prelude To Departmental Ditties And Other Verses

A poem by Rudyard Kipling

I have eaten your bread and salt,
I have drunk your water and wine,
The deaths ye died I have watched be-side,
And the lives that ye led were mine.

Was there aught that I did not share
In vigil or toil or ease,
One joy or woe that I did not know,
Dear hearts across the seas?

I have written the tale of our life
For a sheltered people’s mirth,
In jesting guise, but ye are wise,
And ye know what the jest is worth.

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