Lord Roberts


Rudyard Kipling

HE passed in the very battle-smoke
    Of the war that he had descried.
Three hundred mile of cannon spoke
    When the Master-Gunner died.

He passed to the very sound of the guns;
    But, before his eye grew dim,
He had seen the faces of the sons
    Whose sires had served with him.

He had touched their sword-hilts and greeted each
    With the old sure word of praise;
And there was virtue in touch and speech
    As it had been in old days.

So he dismissed them and took his rest,
    And the steadfast spirit went forth
Between the adoring East and West
    And the tireless guns of the North.

Clean, simple, valiant, well-beloved,
    Flawless in faith and fame,
Whom neither ease nor honours moved
    An hair's-breadth from his aim.

Never again the war-wise face,
    The weighed and urgent word
That pleaded in the market-place—
    Pleaded and was not heard!

Yet from his life a new life springs
    Through all the hosts to come,
And Glory is the least of things
    That follow this man home.

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