Prelude to Departmental Ditties

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Prelude
by Rudyard Kipling
Prelude to Departmental Ditties (1885)


PRELUDE

(To Departmental Ditties)

I have eaten your bread and salt.
 I have drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I have watched beside,
 And the lives ye led were mine.


Was there aught that I did not share
 In vigil or toil or ease,—
One joy or woe that I did not know,
 Dear hearts across the seas?


I have written the tale of our life
 For a sheltered people's mirth,
In jesting guise—but ye are wise,
 And ye know what the jest is worth.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.