Friday, April 20, 2007

Another Hymn (or is it?)

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Kipling famous memorial poem - imperial dribble or imperial penance. I can't work it out.

4 comments:

cardboardsword said...

Surely imperial dribble wouldn't talk about humility and contriteness... and verses 4 and 5 are very much acknowledging the supremacy of God over all - in fact that theme runs through the whole poem. Kipling even sounds repentant towards the end of the poem. He knows from whence Britain's dominion has come, and he can see, no doubt, to what his contemporaries were contributing her glory - two different entities - and so he writes this poem almost as a plea to remember God and His sovereignty over Britain and the whole world. That's what I reckon anyway.pantha0r

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Yeah, comparing your imperial worth to that of Nineveh or Tyre is fairly contrite.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

There is probably a series in writing about Britian's story and eschatology based on her national songs. Should I do it?

byron said...

Yes - that would be fascinating.

My vote is for dribbling imperial penance.