The American Rebellion


Rudyard Kipling



’TWAS not while England’s sword unsheathed
    Put half a world to flight,
Nor while their new-built cities breathed
    Secure behind her might;
Not while she poured from Pole to Line
    Treasure and ships and men—
These worshippers at Freedom’s shrine
    They did not quit her then!

Not till their foes were driven forth
    By England o’er the main—
Not till the Frenchman from the North
    Had gone with shattered Spain;
Not till the clean-swept oceans showed
    No hostile flag unrolled,
Did they remember what they owed
    To Freedom—and were bold!



THE snow lies thick on Valley Forge,
    The ice on the Delaware,
But the poor dead soldiers of King George
    They neither know nor care—

Not though the earliest primrose break
    On the sunny side of the lane,
And scuffling rookeries awake
    Their England’s spring again.

They will not stir when the drifts are gone
    Or the ice melts out of the bay:
And the men that served with Washington
    Lie all as still as they.

They will not stir though the mayflower blows
    In the moist dark woods of pine,
And every rock-strewn pasture shows
    Mullein and columbine.

Each for his land, in a fair fight,
    Encountered, strove, and died,
And the kindly earth that knows no spite
    Covers them side by side.

She is too busy to think of war;
    She has all the world to make gay;
And, behold, the yearly flowers are,
    Where they were in our fathers’ day!

Golden-rod by the pasture-wall
    When the columbine is dead,
And sumach leaves that turn, in fall,
    Bright as the blood they shed.

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