Chapter Headings - Life’s Handicap

A poem by Rudyard Kipling

The doors were wide, the story saith,
Out of the night came the patient wraith.
He might not speak, and he could not stir
A hair of the Baron’s minniver.
Speechless and strengthless, a shadow thin,
He roved the castle to find his kin.
And oh! ’twas a piteous sight to see
The dumb ghost follow his enemy!
The Return of Imray.

Before my Spring I garnered Autumn's gain,
Out of her time my field was white with grain,
The year gave up her secrets, to my woe.
Forced and deflowered each sick season lay
In mystery of increase and decay;
I saw the sunset ere men see the day,
Who am too wise in all I should not know.
Without Benefit of Clergy.

There’s a convict more in the Central Jail,
Behind the old mud wall;
There’s a lifter less on the Border trail,
And the Queen's Peace over all,
Dear boys,
The Queen’s Peace over all!

For we must bear our leader’s blame,
On us the shame will fall,
If we lift our hand from a fettered land
And the Queer’s Peace over all,
Dear boys,
The Queen’s Peace over all!
The Head of the District.

The Earth gave up her dead that tide,
Into our camp he came,
And said his say and went his way,
And left our hearts aflame.

Keep tally, on the gun-butt score
The vengeance we must take
When God shall bring full reckoning
For our dead comrade’s sake!
The Man Who Was.

The sky is lead, and our faces are red,
And the Gates of Hell are opened and riven,
And the winds of Hell are loosened and driven,
And the dust flies up in the face of Heaven,
And the clouds come down in a fiery sheet,
Heavy to raise and hard to be borne.
And the soul of man is turned from his meat,
Turned from the trifles for which he has striven,
Sick in his body and heavy-hearted,
And his soul flies up like the dust in the street
Breaks from his flesh and is gone and departed
Like the blasts that they blow on the cholera-horn.
At the End of the Passage.

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