scholar_vit (scholar_vit) wrote,

Tell him I, too, have known

The Palace

Rudyard Kipling

When I was a King and a Mason-a master proven and skilled-
I cleared me ground for a Palace such as a King should build.
I decreed and cut down to my levels, and presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a Palace such as a King had built.

There was no worth in the fashion-there was no wit in the plan-
Hither and thither, aimless, the ruined footings ran-
Masonry, brute, mishandled; but carven on every stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him I, too, have known."

Swift to my use in my trenches, where my well-planned ground-works grew,
I tumbled his quoins and ashlars, and cut and reset them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles ; burned it, slacked it and spread;
Taking and leaving at pleasure the gifts of the humble dead.

Yet I despised not nor gloried; yet as we wrenched them apart,
I read in the razed foundations the heart of that builder’s heart.
As though he had risen and pleaded, so did I understand
The form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned.

When I was King and a Mason-in the open noon of my pride,
They sent me a Word from the Darkness-They whispered and called me aside.
They said-"The end is forbidden." They said-"Thy use is fulfilled,
"And thy Palace shall stand as that other’s-the spoil of a King who shall build. "

I called my men from my trenches, my quarries, my wharves and my sheers.
All I had wrought I abandoned to the faith of the faithless years.
Only I cut on the timber-only I carved on the stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him I, too, have known."
Tags: kipling, poetry

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