The Second Jungle Book/The Song of the Little Hunter

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The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Song of the Little Hunter


Ere Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey-People cry,
     Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer,
Through the Jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh--
     He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,
     And the whisper spreads and widens far and near;
And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now--
     He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!

Ere the moon has climbed the mountain,ere the rocks are ribbed with light,
     When the downward-dipping trails are dank and drear,
Comes a breathing hard behind thee--snuffle-snuffle through the night--
     It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
On thy knees and draw the bow; bid the shrilling arrow go;
     In the empty, mocking thicket plunge the spear;
But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left thy cheek--
     It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!

When the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the slivered pine-trees fall,
     When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer;
Through the war-gongs of the thunder rings a voice more loud than all--
     It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
Now the spates are banked and deep; now the footless boulders leap--
     Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear--
But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against thy side
     Hammers: Fear, O Little Hunter--this is Fear!