Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/55

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THE LAST DEPARTMENT

Twelve hundred million men are spread
About this Earth, and I and You
Wonder, when You and I are dead,
What will those luckless millions do?

"None whole or clean," we cry, "or free from stain
Of favour." Wait awhile, till we attain
The Last Department where nor fraud nor fools,
Nor grade nor greed, shall trouble us again.


Fear, Favour, or Affection—what are these
To the grim Head who claims our services?
I never knew a wife or interest yet
Delay that pukka step, miscalled "decease";


When leave, long over-due, none can deny;
When idleness of all Eternity
Becomes our furlough, and the marigold
Our thriftless, bullion-minting Treasury


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