The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India, 1870-1900

Failure (Rudyard Kipling)

    One brought her Fire from a distant place,
And She—what should she know of it ?—She took
His offering with the same untroubled look
    Of peace upon her face.

     "And I have brought it of my best," quoth he,
"By barren deserts and a frozen land,
"What recompense?"—She could not understand,
     But let the bright light be.

    "A kindly gift," the answer broke at length,
"A kindly gift. We thank you—What is this
"That fiercer than all household fire is,
    "And gathereth in strength?"

    "Strange fires? Take them hence with you, O sir!
"Presage of coming woe we dimly feel;"
"Sudden ["with that" in 1884] She crushed the embers 'neath her heel,
    And all light went with Her.

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