To all to whom this little book may come--
Health for yourselves and those you hold most dear!
Content abroad, and happiness at home,
And--one grand Secret in your private ear: --
Nations have passed away and left no traces,
And History gives the naked cause of it--
One single, simple reason in all cases;
They fell because their peoples were not fit.

Now, though your Body be mis-shapen, blind,
Lame, feverish, lacking substance, power or skill,
Certain it is that men can school the Mind
To school the sickliest Body, to her will--
As many have done, whose glory blazes still
Like mighty flames in meanest lanterns lit:
Wherefore, we pray the crippled, weak and ill--
Be fit--be fit! In mind at first be fit!

And, though your Spirit seem uncouth or small,
Stubborn as clay or shifting as the sand,
Strengthen the Body, and the Body shall
Strengthen the Spirit till she take command;
As a bold rider brings his horse in hand
At the tall fence, with voice and heel and bit,
And leaps while all the field are at a stand.
Be fit--be fit! In body next be fit!

Nothing on earth--no Arts, no Gifts, no Graces--
No Fame, no Wealth--outweighs the wont of it.
This is the Law which every law embraces--
Be fit--be fit! In mind and body be fit!

The even heart that seldom slurs its beat--
The cool head weighing what that heart desires--
The measuring eye that guides the hands and feet--
The Soul unbroken when the Body tires--
These are the things our weary world requires
Far more than superfluities of wit;
Wherefore we pray you, sons of generous sires,
Be fit--be fit! For Honour's sake be fit.

There is one lesson at all Times and Places--
One changeless Truth on all things changing writ,
For boys and girls, men, women, nations, races--
Be fit -- be fit! And once again, be fit!

The Tudor Monarchy


Once on a time was a King anxious to understand
What was the wisest thing a man could do for his land.
Most of his population hurried to answer the question,
Each with a long oration, each with a new suggestion.
They interrupted his meals--he wasn't safe in his bed from 'em--
They hung round his neck and heels, and at last His Majesty fled
from 'em.
He put on a leper's cloak (people leave lepers alone),
Out of the window he broke, and abdicated his throne.
All that rapturous day, while his Court and his ministers mourn
him,
He danced on his own highway till his own Policeman warned
him.
Gay and cheerful he ran (lepers don't cheer as a rule)
Till he found a philosopher-man teaching an infant-school.
The windows were open wide, the King sat down on the grass,
And heard the children inside reciting "Our King is an ass."
The King popped in his head: "Some people would call this
treason,
But I think you are right," he said; "Will you kindly give me your
reason?"
Lepers in school are as rare as kings with a leper's dress on,
But the class didn't stop or stare; it calmly went on with the
lesson:
"The wisest thing, we suppose, that a man can do for his land.
Is the work that lies under his nose, with the tools that lie under
his hand."
The King whipped off his cloak, and stood in his crown before
'em.
He said: "My dear little folk, Ex ore parvulorum--."
(Which is Latin for "Children know more than grown-ups would
credit")
You have shown me the road to go, and I propose to tread it."
Back to his Kingdom he ran, and issued a Proclamation,
"Let every living man return to his occupation!"
Then he explained to the mob who cheered in his palace and round it,
"I've been to look for a job, and Heaven be praised I've found it!"

1899-1902 -- Boer War


Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,
We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.

Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,
But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and
again,

Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilde-
roy's kite.
We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well
right !

This was not bestowed us under the trees, nor yet in the shade
of a tent,
But swingingly, over eleven degrees of a bare brown conti-
nent.
From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to
Sutherland,
Fell the phenomenal lesson we learned-with a fullness ac-
corded no other land.

It was our fault, and our very great fault, and not the judg-
ment of Heaven.
We made an Army in our own image, on an island nine by
seven,
Which faithfully mirrored its makers' ideals, equipment, and
mental attitude--
And so we got our lesson: and we ought to accept it with
gratitude.

We have spent two hundred million pounds to prove the fact
once more,
That horses are quicker than men afoot, since two and two
make four;
And horses have four legs, and men have two legs, and two
into four goes twice,
And nothing over except our lesson--and very cheap at the
price.

For remember (this our children shall know: we are too near
for that knowledge)
Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and
College--
All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie
us--
Have felt the effects of the lesson we got-an advantage no
money could by us!

Then let us develop this marvellous asset which we alone
command,
And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as
much as the Rand.
Let us approach this pivotal fact in a humble yet hopeful
mood--
We have had no end of a lesson, it will do us no end of good!

It was our fault, and our very great fault--and now we must
turn it to use.
We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single
excuse.
So the more we work and the less we talk the better results
we shall get--
We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire
yet!

Prelude to "Stalky & Co."


"Let us now praise famous men"--
Men of little showing--
For their work continueth,
And their work continueth,
Broad and deep continues,
Greater then their knowing!

Western wind and open surge
Took us from our mothers--
Flung us on a naked shore
(Twelve bleak houses by the shore.
Seven summers by the shore! )
'Mid two hundred brothers.

There we met with famous men
Set in office o'er us;
And they beat on us with rods--
Faithfully with many rods--
Daily beat us on with rods,
For the love they bore us!

Out of Egypt unto Troy--
Over Himalaya--
Far and sure our bands have gone--
Hy-Brazil or Babylon,
Islands of the Southern Run,
And Cities of Cathaia!

And we all praise famous men--
Ancients of the College;
For they taught us common sense--
Tried to teach us common sense--
Truth and God's Own Common Sense,
Which is more than knowledge!

Each degree of Latitude
Strung about Creation
Seeth one or more of us
(Of one muster each of us),
Diligent in that he does,
Keen in his vocation.

This we learned from famous men,
Knowing not its uses,
When they showed, in daily work--
Man must finish off his work--
Right or wrong, his daily work--
And without excuses.

Servant of the Staff and chain,
Mine and fuse and grapnel--
Some, before the face of Kings,
Stand before the face of Kings;
Bearing gifts to divers Kings--
Gifts of case and shrapnel.

This we learned from famous men
Teaching in our borders,
Who declared it was best,
Safest, easiest, and best--
Expeditious, wise, and best--
To obey your orders.

Some beneath the further stars
Bear the greater burden:
Set to serve the lands they rule,
(Save he serve no man may rule),
Serve and love the lands they rule;
Seeking praise nor guerdon.

This we learned from famous men,
Knowing not we learned it.
Only, as the years went by--
Lonely, as the years went by--
Far from help as years went by,
Plainer we discerned it.

Wherefore praise we famous men
From whose bays we borrow--
They that put aside To-day--
All the joys of their To-day--
And with toil of their To-day
Bought for us To-morrow!

Bless and praise we famous men--
Men of little showing--
For their work continueth,
And their work continueth,
Broad and deep continueth,
Great beyond their knowing!

Kitchener's School

Being a translation of the song that was made by a Mohammedan schoolmaster of Bengal Infantry (some time on service at Suakim) when he heard that Kitchener was taking money from the English to build a Madrissa for Hubshees -- or a college for the Sudanese.


Oh Hubshee, carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast!
This is the message of Kitchener who did not break you in jest.
It was permitted to him to fulfil the long-appointed years;
Reaching the end ordained of old over your dead Emirs.

He stamped only before your walls, and the Tomb ye knew was dust:
He gathered up under his armpits all the swords of your trust:
He set a guard on your granaries, securing the weak from the strong:
He said: -- "Go work the waterwheels that were abolished so long."

He said: -- "Go safely, being abased. I have accomplished my vow."
That was the mercy of Kitchener. Cometh his madness now!
He does not desire as ye desire, nor devise as ye devise:
He is preparing a second host -- an army to make you wise.

Not at the mouth of his clean-lipped guns shall ye learn his name again,
But letter by letter, from Kaf to Kaf, at the mouths of his chosen men.
He has gone back to his own city, not seeking presents or bribes,
But openly asking the English for money to buy you Hakims and scribes.

Knowing that ye are forfeit by battle and have no right to live,
He begs for money to bring you learning -- and all the English give.
It is their treasure -- it is their pleasure -- thus are their hearts inclined:
For Allah created the English mad -- the maddest of all mankind!

They do not consider the Meaning ofThings; they consult not creed nor clan.
Behold, they clap the slave on the back, and behold, he ariseth a man!
They terribly carpet the earth with dead, and before their cannon cool,
They walk unarmed by twos and threes to call the living to school.

How is this reason (which is their reason) to judge a scholar's worth,
By casting a ball at three straight sticks and defending the same with a fourth?
But this they do (which is doubtless a spell) and other matters more strange,
Until, by the operation of years, the hearts of their scholars change:

Till these make come and go great boats or engines upon the rail
(But always the English watch near by to prop them when they fail);
Till these make laws of their own choice and Judges of their
And all the mad English obey the Judges and say that that Law is good.

Certainly they were mad from of old; but I think one new thing,
That the magic whereby they work their magic -- wherefrom their fortunes spring --
May be that they show all peoples their magic and ask no price in return.
Wherefore, since ye are bond to that magic, O Hubshee, make haste and learn!

Certainly also is Kitchener mad. But one sure thing I know --
If he who broke you be minded to teach you, to his Madrissa go!
Go, and carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast,
For he who did not slay you in sport, he will not teach you in jest.

Ordering an Essay Online