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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pearls before swine: Kipling on the treasure we squander

Were I not as much a part of the problem, I'd bemoan the pejoration of English as clearly as Kipling did in the verse below

The Birthright
The miracle of our land's speech--so known
And long received, none marvel when 'tis shown!


We have such wealth as Rome at her most pride
Had not or (having) scattered not so wide;
Nor with such arrant prodigality,
Beneath her any pagan's foot let lie...
Lo! Diamond that cost some half their days
To find and t'other half to bring to blaze:
Rubies of every heat, wherethrough we scan
The fiercer and more fiery heart of man:
Emerald that with the uplifted billow vies,
And Sapphires evening remembered skies:
Pearl perfect, as immortal tears must show,
Bred, in deep waters, of a piercing woe;
And tender Turkis, so with charms y-writ,
Of woven gold, Time dares not bite on it.
Thereafter, in all manners worked and set,
Jade, coral, amber, crystal ivories, jet,--
Showing no more than various fancies, yet
Each a Life's token or Love's amulet
Which things, through timeless arrogance of use,
We neither guard nor garner, but abuse;
So that our scholars--nay, our children-fling
In sport or jest treasure to arm a King;
And the gross crowd, at feast or market, hold
Traffic perforce with dust of gems and gold!
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