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

How the Goddess Awaketh (Rudyard Kipling)

Where the reveller laid him, flushed with wine,
      At the foot of my marble pedestal,
They are wailing aloud; they call me divine—
      Wherefore is it on me that they call?
What have I done for the men of this city,
      For the pallid folk who bend at the shrine
And call upon me:" Maid Divine,
      "Mother of Sorrows, have thou pity!

What can I tell of their joy or woe—
I, who was fashioned long ago
      By the olive slopes of the marble city,
Where green leaves hid the temple wall?
Wherefore is it on me that they call:
      "Mother of Jesus, have thou pity!"

What should I know of sorrow, I?
How should I listen tenderly?
      Sorrow was not in the old white city;
But laughter and love and rich red wine
In the temple below me that was mine.
      Who am I, that should give them pity?
 As, row upon row, they call on my shrine:
      "Mother of Sorrows, Maid Divine,
"Spotless Virgin, have thou pity

They brought me forth from under the mould,
      (For I, too, fell with my city's fall)
They gave my hands a cross to hold,
They wrapt my limbs in cloth of gold,
      And set me up to be seen of all.
      They came and bowed themselves at my shrine,
These strange, pale folk of the dreary city,
      And called upon me: "Mother Divine,
"Mother of Sorrows, have thou pity!

I fain would be where I once have been,
Where the nude limbs flashed through the vine
             leaves green.
Where I heard the sound of the summer sea
Far off, and warriors came to me,
And hung their arms the boughs between,
Strong shapes, and I was held their queen.
These men would surely welcome me
With that wild song I know so well
Before my marble city fell
Before the foemen took the city
      (Before I bowed myself and fell)
Before they brought me here to dwell,
      These men that know not of my city,
And set me in an alien shrine,
And called upon me: "Maid Divine,
       Mother of Sorrows,
have thou pity!"
And, in those days, I saw the sun,
      My brother, greet me in the dawn.
But now I see not any one
      Of those I know, while folk forlorn
Flock round me calling on a name
      I know not, and they give it me.—
      I, foam-born, risen from the sea,
      My names were many in the city
Of marble, but this is not mine:
"Mother of Sorrows, Maid Divine,
      "Spotless Virgin, have thou pity!
And, in those years, the stars were bright,
      And all the night was full of love;
But now I see not any light,
      Save what from meagre slits above
Slopes downward on my forehead white.
      I would that I could turn and move
And visit mine own lovéd city;
And hear the laughter as of old,
And see the waters touched with gold
      Far off, and feel against my knees
The boy's warm cheek. Then should I know
      Mine own old happiness and ease.
But here there is no sound save woe:
      "Holy Virgin, Mother Divine,
"Bend we low at thy sacred shrine.
      "Mother of Jesus, have thou pity!

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