Hymn of the Triumphant Airman

(Flying East to West at 1000 M.P.H.)


Rudyard Kipling

OH, LONG had we paltered
        With bridle and girth
Ere those horses were haltered
        That gave us the Earth—

Ere the Flame and the Fountain,
        The Spark and the Wheel,
Sank Ocean and Mountain
        Alike ’neath our keel.

But the Wind in her blowing,
        The bird on the wind,
Made naught of our going,
        And left us behind.

Till the gale was outdriven,
        The gull overflown,
And there matched us in Heaven
        The Sun-God alone.

He only the master
        We leagued to o’erthrow,
He only the faster
        And, therefore, our foe!

.     .     .     .     .

Light steals to uncurtain
        The dim-shaping skies
That arch and make certain
        Where he shall arise.

We lift to the onset.
        We challenge anew.
From sunrise to sunset,
        Apollo, pursue!

.     .     .     .     .

What ails thee, O Golden?
        Thy Chariot is still?
What Power has withholden
        The Way from the Will?

Lo, Hesper hath paled not,
        Nor darkness withdrawn.
The Hours have availed not
        To lead forth the Dawn!

Do they flinch from full trial,
        The Coursers of Day?
The shade on our dial
        Moves swifter than they!

We fleet, but thou stayest
        A God unreleased;
And still thou delayest
        Low down in the East—

A beacon faint-burning,
        A glare that decays
As the blasts of our spurning
        Blow backward its blaze.

The mid-noon grows colder,
        Night rushes to meet,
And the curve of Earth’s shoulder
        Heaves up thy defeat.

Storm on at that portal,
        We have thee in prison!
Apollo, immortal,
        Thou hast not arisen!

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