The Story Of Rud.

A poem by John Kendall

Once for a tight little Island, fonder of ha'pence than kicks,
Rud., a maker of verses, sang of an Empire of Bricks,
Sang of the Sons of that Empire - told them they came of the Blood -
Rubbing it under their noses. Read ye the Story of Rud!

Pleased was the Public to hear it - rose in their hundreds to sing -
Swallowed it, chewed it, and gurgled: 'Verily, this is the thing!
Thus do we wallop our foemen - roll 'em away in the mud -
This is the People that we are. Glory and laurels for Rud.!'

Later he pictured a Panic - later he pictured a Scare,
Pictured the burning of coast towns - skies in a reddening glare -
Pictured the Mafficking Million - collared, abortive, alone -
Out of the duty he owed them, pictured them down to the bone.

Sick was the Public to read it - passed it along to 'the Sports' -
'Fools in the full-flannelled breeches, oafs in the muddy-patched shorts' -
Loafers and talkers and writers, furtively whispering low -
'Say that it's like 'em - it may be - nobody ever need know.

'Rud., - would he drive us to Barracks - make of us militant hordes -
Broke to the spit of the pom-pom - trained to the flashing of swords? -
Pooh! It is these that he goes for - Sport is the bubble he pricks -
Doubt not but we are The People - Bricks of an Empire of Bricks!'

What of that maker of verses? Did he not answer the call:
'Loafers and talkers and writers, children or knaves are ye all;
Look at the lines ere ye quote them: read, ere ye cackle as geese!'?
Nay. But he passed from The People - left them to stew in their grease.

But a hyphen-ish growl makes answer: 'Ye that would take from the whole
The one line robbed of the context, nor win to the straight-set Goal,
Is it thus ye will fend the warning - thus ye will move the shame
From the Mob that watch by the thousand, to the dozens that play the game?
Still will ye pay at the turnstile - thronging the rope-ringed Match,
Where the half-back fumbles the leather, or the deep-field butters the catch?
Will ye thank your gods (being 'umble) that the fool and the oaf are found
In the field, at the goal or the wicket, and not in the seats around?
Not in the Saturday Squallers - men of a higher grade -
That lay down a law they know not, of a game that they have not played?
Holding the folly of flannel, still will ye teach the Schools
That Wisdom is dressed in shoddy, and how should the Wise be fools?
Not doubting but ye are The People - ye are the Sons of The Blood?
Loafers and talkers and writers, - Read ye the Verses of Rud.!'

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