Natural Theology

Rudyard Kipling


I ATE my fill of a whale that died
    And stranded after a month at sea.  .  .  .
There is a pain in my inside.
      Why have the Gods afflicted me?
Ow! I am purged till I am a wraith!
    Wow! I am sick till I cannot see!
What is the sense of Religion and Faith?
    Look how the Gods have afflicted me!



How can the skin of rat or mouse hold
    Anything more than a harmless flea?  .  .  .
The burning plague has taken my household.
    Why have my Gods afflicted me?
All my kith and kin are deceased,
    Though they were as good as good could be,
I will out and batter the family priest,
    Because my Gods have afflicted me!



My privy and well drain into each other
    After the custom of Christendie.  .  .  .
Fevers and fluxes are wasting my mother.
    Why has the Lord afflicted me?
The Saints are helpless for all I offer—
    So are the clergy I used to fee.
Henceforward I keep my cash in my coffer,
    Because the Lord has afflicted me.



I run eight hundred hens to the acre
    They die by dozens mysteriously.
I am more than doubtful concerning my Maker.
    Why has the Lord afflicted me?
What a return for all my endeavour
    Not to mention the L.S.D!
I am an atheist now and for ever,
    Because this God has afflicted me!



Money spent on an Army or Fleet
    Is homicidal lunacy.  .  .  .
My son has been killed in the Mons retreat,
    Why is the Lord aficting me?
Why are murder, pillage and arson
    And rape allowed by the Deity?
I will write to the Times, deriding our parson
    Because my God has afflicted me.



We had a kettle: we let it leak:
    Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week.  .  .  .
    The bottom is out of the Universe!



This was none of the good Lord’s pleasure,
    For the Spirit He breathed in Man is free;
But what comes after is measure for measure,
    And not a God that afflicteth thee.

As was the sowing so the reaping
    Is now and evermore shall be.
Thou art delivered to thine own keeping
    Only Thyself hath afflicted thee!

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