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The City of Brass: The fulfillment of Kipling’s prophecy is at hand.

When the riotous set them at naught they said: “Praise the upheaval!
For the show and the world and the thought of Dominion is evil!”
They unwound and flung from them with rage, as a rag that defied them,
The imperial gains of the age which their forefathers piled them.
They ran panting in haste to lay waste and embitter forever
The wellsprings of Wisdom and Strengths which are Faith and Endeavour.
They nosed out and dug up and dragged forth and exposed to derision
All doctrine of purpose and worth and restraint and prevision:

And it ceased, and God granted them all things for which they had striven,
And the heart of a beast in the place of a man’s heart was given. . . .

. . . . . . . .

When they were fullest of wine and most flagrant in error,
Out of the sea rose a sign – out of Heaven a terror.
Then they saw, then they heard, then they knew – for none troubled to hide it,
A host had prepared their destruction, but still they denied it.
They denied what they dared not abide if it came to the trail;
But the Sward that was forged while they lied did not heed their denial.
It drove home, and no time was allowed to the crowd that was driven.
The preposterous-minded were cowed – they thought time would be given.
There was no need of a steed nor a lance to pursue them;
It was decreed their own deed, and not a chance, should undo them.
The tares they had laughingly sown were ripe to the reaping.
The trust they had leagued to disown was removed from their keeping.
The eaters of other men’s bread, the exempted from hardship,
The excusers of impotence fled, abdicating their wardship,
For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender,
And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!

Excerpt from “The City of Brass” by Rudyard Kipling,1909

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • KCK June 30, 2022, 12:05 PM

    Assyria. Babylon. Rome. The European empires: the Czars, the Austro-Hungarians, and the Holy Roman Germanics.

    Pfffffft. (I didn’t want to challenge RK, so I just said Pffft. I’m no writer).

    What will happen, in our day, when a large hand floats from the ether, and writes upon the wall? The Death of Sardanapalus will look like a carnival ride.

  • John Venlet June 30, 2022, 1:04 PM

    And let’s not forget that the Saxons learned to hate, and Americans are learning also, slowly but surely.

  • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) June 30, 2022, 2:01 PM

    The more Kipling I read the more I am convinced that the man had the gift of prophecy.

    • ThisIsNotNutella June 30, 2022, 4:07 PM

      Kind of. He had Perspective. Being born and growing up out in the Empire and not in the Metropolitan Core had its advantages here. Add to that that his father was a museum curator and tended the bones of other people’s empires upon which his people’s empire sat…

      It’s very hard to have Perspective. Harder yet to do so without being an annoying wanker. K pulled it off.

  • ThisIsNotNutella June 30, 2022, 6:32 PM

    Now *this* is a Prophecy:

    “And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters.”

    Deuteronomy 28:53

    (Hat Tip: The Orthosphere latest post)

    They don’t make ’em like they used to. The Prophecies, I mean. Target Audience being another story entirely.

  • Francis W. Porretto July 1, 2022, 1:38 AM

    Kipling’s apocalyptic poem is among my favorites. It echoes the thoughts of Ralph Waldo Emerson in his darkest and most penetrating essay, “Compensation:”

    “You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. Justice is not postponed….Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty.”

    The time is almost upon us.