Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Ballad of East and West

This one's for LL. The Ballad of East and West, by Kipling.

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride:
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
``Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?''
Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar,
``If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai---at dawn he is into Borair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tonuge of Jagai,
But if he be passed the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen.''

Read the whole thing here, if you like.

It ends like this:

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

Chesterton hated Kipling and I like Chesterton lot. I also like Kipling.

Rumours that I charge about on a horse around the Compound with a saber may or may not be true.



LL said...

The Guides Rgmt. has always been one that inspired novels because of their work as a less than conventional "red coat" regiment (they were the first to adopt khaki).

"The Far Pavillions" is one of those romantic, but historically interesting books that takes the issue through the Mutiny and beyond.

I'd be mightily disappointed if you didn't ride through the parsonage waving a saber. Mad dogs and Englishmen, dinna ye ken?

LSP said...

As I understand it, the Guides still exist today in Pakistan, interestingly enough.

And I have to admit -- no shortage of noonday sun...