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

THROUGH learned and laborious years
  They set themselves to find
Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears
  To heap upon mankind.
All that they drew from Heaven above        5
  Or digged from earth beneath,
They laid into their treasure-trove
  And arsenals of death:
While, for well-weighed advantage sake,
  Ruler and ruled alike        10
Built up the faith they meant to break
  When the fit hour should strike.
They traded with the careless earth,
  And good return it gave:
They plotted by their neighbour’s hearth        15
  The means to make him slave.
When all was ready to their hand
  They loosed their hidden sword,
And utterly laid waste a land
  Their oath was pledged to guard.        20
Coldly they went about to raise
  To life and make more dread
Abominations of old days,
  That men believed were dead.
They paid the price to reach their goal        25
  Across a world in flame;
But their own hate slew their own soul
  Before that victory came.

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