Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
The Burial
 
1902

(C. J. Rhodes, buried in the Matoppos, April 10, 1902)

WHEN that great Kings return to clay,
  Or Emperors in their pride,
Grief of a day shall fill a day,
  Because its creature died.
But we—we reckon not with those        5
  Whom the mere Fates ordain,
This Power that wrought on us and goes
  Back to the Power again.
 
Dreamer devout, by vision led
  Beyond our guess or reach,        10
The travail of his spirit bred
  Cities in place of speech.
So huge the all-mastering thought that drove—
  So brief the term allowed—
Nations, not words, he linked to prove        15
  His faith before the crowd.
 
It is his will that he look forth
  Across the world he won—
The granite of the ancient North—
  Great spaces washed with sun.        20
There shall he patient take his seat
  (As when the Death he dared),
And there await a people’s feet
  In the paths that he prepared.
 
There, till the vision he foresaw        25
  Splendid and whole arise,
And unimagined Empires draw
  To council ’neath his skies,
The immense and brooding Spirit still
  Shall quicken and control.        30
Living he was the land, and dead,
  His soul shall be her soul!
 
 
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