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1908

A SERVANT WHEN HE REIGNETH

by Rudyard Kipling


For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear. For a servant when he reigneth, and a fool when he is filled with meat; for an odious woman when she is married, and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
(Proverbs 30,21-23)



Three things make earth unquiet

And four she cannot brook

The godly Agur counted them

And put them in a book

Those Four Tremendous Curses

With which mankind is cursed;

But a Servant when He Reigneth

Old Agur entered first.


An Handmaid that is Mistress

We need not call upon.

A Fool when he is full of Meat

Will fall asleep anon.

An Odious Woman Married

May bear a babe and mend;

But a Servant when He Reigneth

Is Confusion to the end.


His feet are swift to tumult,

His hands are slow to toil,

His ears are deaf to reason,

His lips are loud in broil.

He knows no use for power

Except to show his might.

He gives no heed to judgment

Unless it prove him right.


Because he served a master

Before his Kingship came,

And hid in all disaster

Behind his masters name,

So, when his Folly opens

The unnecessary hells,

A Servant when He Reigneth

Throws the blame on some one else.


His vows are lightly spoken,

His faith is hard to bind,

His trust is easy broken,

He fears his fellow-kind.

The nearest mob will move him

To break the pledge he gave

Oh, a Servant when He Reigneth

Is more than ever slave!


1908






(http://litopys.kiev.ua/), 26 2019 .






ʳ (1865-1936)







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