Stalky & Co.

Rudyard Kipling

Let us now praise famous men . . .

'Let us now praise famous men'—
Men of little showing—
For their work continueth,
And their work continueth,
Broad and deep continueth,
Greater than 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-Brasil 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 all 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.

Servants 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 declare'd 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
Prom whose bays we borrow—
They that put aside Today—
All the joys of their Today—
And with toil of their Today
Bought for us Tomorrow!

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!

The above, by Kipling, was printed (as a Foreword) in the front of
the first edition of the book Stalky & Co. when it was printed in 1899.
There was also a dedication:
To The Memory of
Headmaster, United Services College
Westward Ho! Bideford, North Devon
1874 - 1894

(This was the school Kipling had attended.)
In these stories, Kipling is Beetle.

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