Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/152

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My Reputation now full-blown—Your fault—
Yours, with your stories of the strife at Home,
Who's up, who's down, who leads and who is led—
One reads so much, one hears so little here.
Well, now's your turn of exile. I go back
To Rome and leisure. All roads lead to Rome.
Or books—the refuge of the destitute.
When you ... that brings me back to India. See!
Start clear. I couldn't. Egypt served my turn.
You'll never plumb the Oriental mind,
And if you did it isn't worth the toil.
Think of a sleek French priest in Canada;
Divide by twenty half-breeds. Multiply
By twice the Sphinx's silence. There's your East,
And you're as wise as ever. So am I.
Accept on trust and work in darkness, strike
At a venture, stumble forward, make your mark,
(It's chalk on granite,) then thank God no flame
Leaps from the rock to shrivel mark and man.
I'm clear—my mark is made. Three months of drouth
Had ruined much. It rained and washed away
The specks that might have gathered on my Name.

I took a country twice the size of France,