Friday, December 28, 2012


Very Many People

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), "Very Many People":
On the Downs, in the Weald, on the Marshes,
  I heard the Old Gods say:
"Here come Very Many People:
  "We must go away.

"They take our land to delight in,        5
  "But their delight destroys.
"They flay the turf from the sheep-walk.
  "They load the Denes with noise.

"They burn coal in the woodland.
  "They seize the oast and the mill.        10
"They camp beside Our dew-ponds.
  "They mar the clean-flanked hill.

"They string a clamorous Magic
  "To fence their souls from thought,
"Till Our deep-breathed Oaks are silent,        15
  "And Our muttering Downs tell nought.

"They comfort themselves with neighbours.
  "They cannot bide alone.
"It shall be best for their doings
  "When We Old Gods are gone."        20

Farewell to the Downs and the Marshes,
  And the Weald and the Forest known
Before there were Very Many People,
  And the Old Gods had gone!
8: A dene (or dean) is a valley.
10 oast: "A kiln; (in later use) spec. one used to dry hops or malt; a building housing this." (Oxford English Dictionary)
13 "They string a clamorous Magic": telegraph or telephone wires?

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