Poetry Corner – The Outlaws

Through learned and laborious years 
    They set themselves to find
 Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears
    To heap upon mankind. 

All that they drew from Heaven above
    Or digged from earth beneath,
 They laid into their treasure-trove
    And arsenals of death: 

While, for well-weighed advantage sake,
    Ruler and ruled alike
 Built up the faith they meant to break
    When the fit hour should strike. 

They traded with the careless earth,
    And good return it gave:
 They plotted by their neighbour’s hearth
    The means to make him slave. 

When all was ready to their hand
    They loosed their hidden sword,
 And utterly laid waste a land
    Their oath was pledged to guard 

Coldly they went about to raise
    To life and make more dread
 Abominations of old days,
    That men believed were dead. 

They paid the price to reach their goal
    Across a world in flame;
 But their own hate slew their own soul
    Before that victory came.

- Rudyard Kipling

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