Recessional

Original Text: 
Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Definitive Edition (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1940): 328-29.
2   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
4   Dominion over palm and pine--
5Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
6Lest we forget--lest we forget!
7The tumult and the shouting dies;
8   The Captains and the Kings depart:
9Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
10   An humble and a contrite heart.
11Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
12Lest we forget--lest we forget!
13Far-called, our navies melt away;
14   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
15Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
17Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
18Lest we forget--lest we forget!
19If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
20   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
22   Or lesser breeds without the Law--
23Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
24Lest we forget--lest we forget!
25For heathen heart that puts her trust
26   In reeking tube and iron shard,
27All valiant dust that builds on dust,
28   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
29For frantic boast and foolish word--
30Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Notes

1] Recessional: hymn sung at a service's end when the clergy and choir exit. "This poem was published on the 17th July 1897, towards the close of the celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The Prime Ministers of all the self-governing colonies, troops from these colonies, Imperial Service Troops sent by native Indian princes, Hausas from the West Coast of Africa, Negroes from the West Indies, Zaptieths from Cyprus, Chinamen from Hong Kong, even Dyaks from Borneo, took part in ceremonies of unparalleled splendour. One hundred and sixty-five vessels of the Royal Navy assembled for review. The poem was an appropriate monition at a time when the British people might well have been dazzled by the pomp that typified the `might, majesty, dominion, and power' of the greatest empire in the world's history" (Ralph Durand, A Handbook to the Poetry of Rudyard Kipling [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914]: 222). Back to Line
3] awful: awe-inspiring. Back to Line
16] Nineveh and Tyre: ancient pagan Assyrian and Phoenician cities, gone to ruin. Back to Line
21] Gentiles: peoples other than the Jews. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1897
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2007
Rhyme: 
Form: