Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
Jobson’s Amen
“BLESSÈD be the English and all their ways and works.
Cursèd be the Infidels, Hereticks, and Turks!”
“Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
Was neither Candle, Bell nor Book to curse my brethren by:
“But a palm-tree in full bearing, bowing down, bowing down,        5
To a surf that drove unsparing at the brown, walled town—
Conches in a temple, oil-lamps in a dome—
And a low moon out of Africa said: ‘This way home!’”
“Blessèd be the English and all that they profess.
Cursèd be the Savages that prance in nakedness!”        10
“Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
Was neither shirt nor pantaloons to catch my brethren by:
“But a well-wheel slowly creaking, going round, going round,
By a water-channel leaking over drowned, warm ground—
Parrots very busy in the trellised pepper-vine—        15
And a high sun over Asia shouting: ‘Rise and shine!’”
“Blessèd be the English and everything they own.
Cursèd be the Infidels that bow to wood and stone!”
“Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I used to lie
Was neither pew nor Gospelleer to save my brethren by:        20
“But a desert stretched and stricken, left and right, left and right,
Where the piled mirages thicken under white-hot light—
A skull beneath a sand-hill and a viper coiled inside—
And a red wind out of Libya roaring: ‘Run and hide!’”
“Blessèd be the English and all they make or do.        25
Cursèd be the Hereticks who doubt that this is true!”
“Amen,” quo’ Jobson, “but where I mean to die
Is neither rule nor calliper to judge the matter by:
“But Himalaya heavenward-heading, sheer and vast, sheer and vast,
In a million summits bedding on the last world’s past—        30
A certain sacred mountain where the scented cedars climb,
And—the feet of my Beloved hurrying back through Time!”

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