April 15, 2006

 The White Man's Persian Burden

Hear the card-carrying imperialist who cheered on the jolly Philippine adventure long ago, the Janus-faced Rudyard Kipling:

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire...
Posted at 03:30 AM | TrackBack (0) | |


Not to be churlish, but isn't that only three things?

Posted by: TedL at April 15, 2006 09:03 AM

Is there more to the quote? I'm only counting 3 things, not four.

Posted by: Dan at April 15, 2006 10:22 AM

Yes, in case you were wondering, Kipling could count: follow the link for the fourth certainty.

Posted by: Mark Kleiman at April 15, 2006 10:33 AM

You want a semi-colon at the end of the quote, or an [...] - otherwise it's just three things certain.

Posted by: rilkefan at April 15, 2006 01:46 PM

Kipling could count. The fourth eternal verity is in the next stanza:

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

Posted by: Mark Kleiman at April 15, 2006 05:03 PM

Punctuation fixed. It's not a nice poem at all, and I wouldn't subscribe to all of it, but this particular bit of nastiness fits the current case.

Posted by: James Wimberley at April 16, 2006 07:59 AM
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