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The Gods of the Copybook Headings

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

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Published by Frank Nic. Bazsika
Kipling's poem 1919 previews progressive outcome!
Kipling's poem 1919 previews progressive outcome!

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Published by: Frank Nic. Bazsika on Oct 07, 2010
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03/24/2012

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The Gods of the Copybook Headings
 Rudyard Kipling 1919
Transcribed Frank Nic. Bazsika
 Kipling¶s poem pertaining to the Progressive Movement observable to him in its beginnings of the 20
th
Century and hisapt forecast for the future of man treading that particular path.Following Kipling¶s poem are presented commentaries.
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the MarketPlace.Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast themall.We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us eachin turnThat Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainlyburn:But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed theMarch of Mankind.We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of theMarket Place,But they always caught up with our progress, and presentlyword would comeThat a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights hadgone out in Rome.With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly
 
out of touch,They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she waseven Dutch;They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pighad Wings;So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised thesebeautiful things.When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promisedperpetual peace.They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of thetribes would cease.But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound toour foe,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
"S 
tick to the Devil you know.
 On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the FullerLife(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by lovinghis wife)Till our women had no more children and the men lost reasonand faith,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
"T 
he Wages of 
 S 
in is Death.
 In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance forall,By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing ourmoney could buy,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
"I 
 f you don't work you die.
 
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-
 
tongued wizards withdrewAnd the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began tobelieve it was trueThat All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two makeFourAnd the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explainit once more.As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of ManThere are only four things certain since Social Progress began.That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to herMire,And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back tothe Fire;And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new worldbeginsWhen all men are paid for existing and no man must pay forhis sins,As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughterreturn!
Wolf PanglossCommentary:
Kipling: The Gods of the Copybook Headings
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 by Wolf Pangloss|http://wolfpangloss.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/kipling-the-gods-of-the-copybook-headings/
Copybooks were for handwriting practice, back in the days whenhandwriting mattered. A timeless gem of old wisdom was written atthe top of the page in a beautiful hand, and the user of the book wouldcopy it all the way down the page.By 1919, when he wrote this poem, Kipling had lost his son in World War I. He had lost his faith, though he yearned for faith in something.

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