A Pilgrim's Way

A poem by Rudyard Kipling

I do not look for holy saints to guide me on my way
Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray.
If these are added I rejoice, if not, I shall not mind
So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind.
For as we come and as we go (and deadly soon go we!)
The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

Thus I will honour pious men whose virtue shines so bright
(Though none are more amazed than I when I by chance do right)
And I will pity foolish men for woe their sins have bred
(Though ninety-nine percent of mine I brought on my own head)
And Amorite or Eremite or General Averagee
The people, Lord, Thy people are good enough for me

And when the bore me overmuch, I will not shake mine ears
Recalling many thousand such whom I have bored to tears
And when they labour to impress I will not doubt nor scoff
Since I myself have done no less and sometimes pulled it off
Yea as we are and we are not and we pretend to be
The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

And when they work me random wrong as oftentimes hath been
I will not cherish hate too long (my hands are none too clean)
And when they do me random good I will not feign surprise
No more than those whom I have cheered with wayside courtesies
But as we give and as we take, whate'er our takings be)
The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

But when I meet with frantic folk who sinfully declare
There is no pardon for their sin, the same I will not spare
Till I have proved that Heaven and Hell which in our hearts we have
Show nothing irredeemable on either side the grave
For as we live and as we die, if utter Death there be
The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

Deliver me from every pride, the Middle, High and Low
That bars me from a brother's side, whatever pride he show
And purge me from all heresies of thought and speech and pen
That bid me judge him otherwise than I am judged. Amen
That I might sing of Crowd or King or road-borne company
That I may labour in my day, vocation and degree
To provr the same by deed and name, and hold unshakenly
(Where'er I go, whate'er I know, whoe'er my neighbour be)
This single faith in Life and Death and to Eternity
"The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me."

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