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

Our Lady of Many Dreams (Rudyard Kipling)

We pray to God, and to God it seems
      Our prayers go heavenward;
But She, our Lady of many Dreams,
      Keepeth a secret guard;
And by virtue of every vow we vowed,
      And by every oath we sware
Is all our worship disallowed,
      And She taketh toll of the prayer.
God is above, but She below,
      Instant and very fair.

And the stroke of the sword is Hers by right,
      And every stroke of the pen,
And the brain and the tongue and the muscles' might,
      For She ruleth divers men;
And the brutal strength is consecrate
      To Her service and Her will,
And the writer labours early and late,
      And the felon doeth ill.
God is above, but She below,
      That we labour or write, or kill.
In a secret shrine, far out of sight,
      Seen by no other eyes,
Lieth our Lady day and night,
      (Marvellous fair and wise) 
For her shrine is set in a heart's red throne
      By our pulse's fall and rise,
And we pray to Her, and to Her is known
      All good that in us lies.
God is above, but She below
       Compelleth our destinies.

Whether our Lady be gently bred,
      Or sprung of the city's sin;
Whether Her dress be silk or thread,
      Or Her cheeks be full or thin;
Whether Her hair be black or gold,
      Or brown, or blanched, or grey;
Whether our Lady be young or old,
      Is only one that can say—
And he is both Priest and Worshipper
      Whose eyes are turned on my lay I


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