Samuel Pepys

A poem by Rudyard Kipling

Like as the Oak whose roots descend
Through earth and stillness seeking food
Most apt to furnish in the end
That dense, indomitable wood

Which, felled, may arm a seaward flank
Of Ostia’s mole or, bent to frame
The beaked Liburnian’s triple bank,
Carry afar the Roman name;

But which, a tree, the season moves
Through gentler Gods than Wind or Tide,
Delightedly to harbour doves,
Or take some clasping vine for bride;

So this man, prescient to ensure
(Since even now his orders hold)
A little State might ride secure
At sea from foes her sloth made bold,,

Turned in his midmost harried round,
As Venus drove or Liber led,
And snatched from any shrine he found
The Stolen Draught, the Secret Bread.

Nor these alone. His life betrayed
No gust unslaked, no pleasure missed.
He called the obedient Nine to aid
The varied chase. And Clio kissed;

Bidding him write each sordid love,
Shame, panic, stratagem, and lie
In full, that sinners undiscov-
ered, like ourselves, might say:, “’Tis I!”

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