The Golden Fleece

The Palace

by 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 dug down to my levels; 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 groundworks grew,
I tumbled his quoins and his ashlars, and cut and rest them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles; burned it, slaked 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 foundation the heart of that Builder's heart.
As he has 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 a 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.
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."

1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature

". . . in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."

The Kipling Society
A web site for anyone around the world with an interest in the life and works of Rudyard Kipling.

Kipling Down Under

For two weeks in 1891 the 25-year-old Rudyard Kipling was in Australia, mostly in Melbourne, where he was received with all the curiosity and interest belonging to a celebrity. What he did in those two weeks, what he thought and said to his hosts, where he went, how he was treated, and what the Australians thought about it all is fully presented in this account from the interviews and articles of the time. Buy this book

Kipling Down Under
The Golden Fleece > The Palace by Rudyard Kipling

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