A Pict Song

By Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936 Rudyard Kipling

(‘The Winged Hats’ —Puck of Pook’s Hill)

Rome never looks where she treads.   
   Always her heavy hooves fall   
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;   
   And Rome never heeds when we bawl.   
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
   And we gather behind them in hordes,   
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
   With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk—we!
   Too little to love or to hate.   
Leave us alone and you’ll see
   How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
   We are the rot at the root!   
We are the taint in the blood!
   We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak—
   Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
   How they must love what they do!   
Yes—and we Little Folk too,
   We are busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
   Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
   But we know Peoples that are.   
Yes, and we’ll guide them along
   To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
   Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you—you will die of the shame,
   And then we shall dance on your graves!

       We are the Little Folk, we, etc.

Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

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Poet Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects War & Conflict, Class, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Rudyard  Kipling

Biography

Rudyard Kipling is one of the best-known of the late Victorian poets and story-tellers. Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, his unpopular political views caused his work to be neglected shortly after his death. Critics, however, recognize the power of his work. "His unrelenting craftsmanship, his determination to be 'master of the bricks and mortar of his trade,' compels respect, and his genius as a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Class, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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