The Seven Seas/To the True Romance

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The Seven Seas by Rudyard Kipling
To the True Romance

TO THE TRUE ROMANCE

(From 'Many Inventions.')

Thy face is far from this our war,
 Our call and counter-cry,
I shall not find Thee quick and kind,
 Nor know Thee till I die.
Enough for me in dreams to see
 And touch Thy garments' hem:
Thy feet have trod so near to God
 I may not follow them.


Through wantonness if men profess
 They weary of Thy parts,
E'en let them die at blasphemy
 And perish with their arts;
But we that love, but we that prove
 Thine excellence august,
While we adore discover more
 Thee perfect, wise, and just.


Since spoken word Man's Spirit stirred
 Beyond his belly-need,
What is is Thine of fair design
 In thought and craft and deed;
Each stroke aright of toil and fight,
 That was and that shall be,
And hope too high, wherefore we die,
 Has birth and worth in Thee.


Who holds by Thee hath Heaven in fee
 To gild his dross thereby,
And knowledge sure that he endure
 A child until he die—
For to make plain that man's disdain
 Is but new Beauty's birth—
For to possess in loneliness
 The joy of all the earth.


As Thou didst teach all lovers speech
 And Life all mystery,
So shalt Thou rule by every school
 Till love and longing die,
Who wast or yet the Lights were set,
 A whisper in the Void,
Who shalt be sung through planets young
 When this is clean destroyed.


Beyond the bounds our staring rounds,
 Across the pressing dark,
The children wise of outer skies
 Look hitherward and mark
A light that shifts, a glare that drifts,
 Rekindling thus and thus,
Not all forlorn, for Thou hast borne
 Strange tales to them of us.


Time hath no tide but must abide
 The servant of Thy will;
Tide hath no time, for to Thy rhyme
 The ranging stars stand still—
Regent of spheres that lock our fears
 Our hopes invisible,
Oh 'twas certes at Thy decrees
 We fashioned Heaven and Hell!


Pure Wisdom hath no certain path
 That lacks thy morning-eyne,
And captains bold by Thee controlled
 Most like to Gods design;
Thou art the Voice to kingly boys
 To lift them through the fight,
And Comfortress of Unsuccess,
 To give the dead good-night—


A veil to draw 'twixt God His Law
 And Man's infirmity,
A shadow kind to dumb and blind
 The shambles where we die;
A rule to trick th' arithmetic
 Too base of leaguing odds—
The spur of trust, the curb of lust,
 Thou handmaid of the Gods!


O Charity, all patiently
 Abiding wrack and scaith!
O Faith, that meets ten thousand cheats
 Yet drops no jot of faith!
Devil and brute Thou dost transmute
 To higher, lordlier show,
Who art in sooth that lovely Truth
 The careless angels know!


Thy face is far from this our war,
 Our call and counter-cry,
I may not find Thee quick and kind,
 Nor know Thee till I die.


Yet may I look with heart unshook
 On blow brought home or missed—
Yet may I hear with equal ear
 The clarions down the List;
Yet set my lance above mischance
 And ride the barriere—
Oh, hit or miss, how little 'tis,
 My Lady is not there!