Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saturday Night Kipling

Six over at The Warrior Class has habitually been posting "Sunday Kipling" posts (which, as the title implies, consist of selected Rudyard Kipling poems and are posted on Sundays).  I have enjoyed Kipling's poetry and prose since I was old enough for my nursery school teacher to read me and my classmates his "Just So Stories" as a ruse to lull us to sleep for our afternoon naps.

I do not now purpose to usurp Six's function as the purveyor of Kipling poetry, but this Kipling piece came to mind this afternoon, as the discussion turned to the Obama Administration's practices regarding the funding and support of the military in particular, and the protection of American technology and know-how in general.

The implications are quite disturbing.

The Dutch in the Medway (1664-72)
by Rudyard Kipling

If wars were won by feasting,
Or victory by song,
Or safety found, by sleeping sound
How England would be strong!
But honour and dominion
Are not maintained so,
Threy’re only got by sword and shot
And this the Dutchmen know!

The moneys that should feed us
you spend on your delight,
How can you then, have sailor-men
To aid you in your fight?
Our fish and cheese are rotten,
Which makes the scurvy grow –
We cannot serve you if we starve,
And this the Dutchmen know!

Our ships in every harbour
Be neither whole nor sound,
And when we seek to mend a leak,
No Oakum can be found,
Or, if it is, the caulkers,
and carpenters also,
For lack of pay have gone away,
And this the Dutch men know!

Mere powder, guns and bullets,
we scarce can get at all;
Their price was spent in merriment
and revel at Whitehall,
While we in tattered doublets
From ship to ship must row,
Beseeching friends for odds and ends –
And this the Dutchmen know!

No King will heed our warnings,
No Court will pay our claims –
Our King and Court for their disport
Do sell the very Thames!
For, now De Ruyter’s topsails
Off naked Chatham show,
We dare not meet him with our fleet –
And this the Dutchmen know!

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