Traffics and Discoveries

Song of the Old Guard

Army Reform— After the Boer War

Rudyard Kipling

‘And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same . . . .

‘And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six ranches that proceed out of the candlestick . . . . Their knops and their branches shall be of the same.’—Exodus.


‘KNOW this, my brethren, Heaven! clear
    And all the clouds are gone—
The Proper Sort shall flourish now,
    Good times are coming on’—
The evil that was threatened late
    To all of our degree,
Hath passed in discord and debate,
    And, Hey then up go we!

A common people strove in vain
    To shame us unto toil,
But they are spent and we remain,
    And we shall share the spoil
According to our several needs
    As Beauty shall decree,
As Age ordains or Birth concedes,
And, Hey then up go we!

And they that with accursèd zeal
    Our Service would amend,
Shall own the odds and come to heel
    Ere worse befall their end:
For though no naked word be wrote
    Yet plainly shall they see
What pinneth Orders to their coat,
    And, Hey then up go we!

Our doorways that, in time of fear,
    We opened overwide
Shall softly close from year to year
    Till all be purified;
For though no fluttering fan be heard
    Nor chaff be seen to flee—
The Lord shall winnow the Lord’s Preferred—
    And, Hey then up go we!

Our altars which the heathen brake
    Shall rankly smoke anew,
And anise mint, and cummin take
    Their dread and sovereign due,
Whereby the buttons of our trade
    Shall all restorèd be
With curious work in gilt and braid,
    And, Hey then up go we!

Then come, my brethren, and prepare
    The candlesticks and bells,
The scarlet, brass, and badger’s hair
    Wherein our Honour dwells,
And straitly fence and strictly keep
    The Ark’s integrity
Till Armageddon break our sleep . . .
    And, Hey then up go we!

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