Limits and Renewals

The Disciple

Rudyard Kipling

HE that hath a Gospel,
    To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly—
    Body, soul, and mind—
Though he go to Calvary
    Daily for its gain—
It is His Disciple
    Shall make his labour vain.

He that bath a Gospel,
    For all earth to own—
Though he etch it on the steel,
    Or carve it on the stone—
Not to be misdoubted
    Through the after-days—
It is His Disciple
    Shall read it many ways.

It is His Disciple
    (Ere Those Bones are dust)
Who shall change the Charter
    Who shall split the Trust—
Amplify distinctions,
    Rationalise the Claim,
Preaching that the Master
    Would have done the same.

It is His Disciple
    Who shall tell us how
Much the Master would have scrapped
    Had he lived till now—
What he would have modified
    Of what he said before—
It is His Disciple
    Shall do this and more. . . .

He that hath a Gospel
    Whereby Heaven is won
(Carpenter, or Cameleer,
    Or Maya’s dreaming son),
Many swords shall pierce Him,
    Mingling blood with gall;
But His Own Disciple
    Shall wound Him worst of all!

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