Terror and Slaughter Return

We’ve featured this poem before, but it’s been more than ten years. Another look is warranted, given how much more dire times have become than they were just a decade ago.

Rudyard Kipling was a prophet whose clear vision peered ahead into the devastated twilight of Western Civilization. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” is a remarkable poem. Written almost a century ago, it speaks to today’s deracinated remnants of Christian culture as we approach End Game:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling

As I pass through my incarnations
                in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations
                to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers
                I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings,
                I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us.
                They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us,
                as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift,
                Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas
                while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed.
                They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne
                like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress,
                and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield,
                or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on
                they were utterly out of touch.
They denied that the moon was Stilton;
                they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses;
                they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market
                Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming,
                they promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons,
                that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us
                and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                ”Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones
                we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour
                and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children
                and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                ”The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch
                we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter
                to pay for collective Paul;
But though we had plenty of money,
                there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
                ”If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled,
                and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled
                and began to believe it was true,
That All is not Gold that Glitters,
                and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
                limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future,
                it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain
                since Social Progress began —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit
                and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger
                goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished,
                and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing
                and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us,
                as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
                with terror and slaughter return!

12 thoughts on “Terror and Slaughter Return

  1. Let me respond to with one of my favorite poet, Miklós Radnóti. He lived 1909-1944
    He died, while being death-marched toward a concentration camp…


    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when man was so debased he sought to murder
    for pleasure, not just to comply with orders,
    his faith in falsehoods drove him to corruption,
    his life was ruled by raving self-deceptions.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    that idolized the sly police informers,
    whose heroes were the killers, spies, the thieves –
    and the few who held their peace or only failed
    to cheer were loathed like victims of the plague.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when those who risked protest were wise to hide
    and gnaw their fists in self-consuming shame –
    the crazed folk grinned about their terrifying
    doomed future, wild and drunk on blood and mire.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when the mother of an infant was a curse,
    when pregnant women were glad to abort,
    the living envied the corpses in the graves
    while on the table foamed their poisoned cup.
    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when even the poet fell silent and waited in hope
    for an ancient, terrible voice to rise again –
    for no-one could utter a fitting curse of such horror
    but the scholar of dreadful words, Isaiah the prophet.

    translation: Ország-Land, Thomas

  2. Has every age been like this…
    That terrible things are happening somewhere
    As you gaze out your window
    At a darkening field darkening to deepest dark
    On a whispering summer night?


  3. And now one hundred years later,
    we find it’s all come true.
    The Lords of the market are our masters,
    to whom we must render our due.

    We toil away at our appointed tasks,
    with burdens that have no end.
    Our only hope is laid up in heaven,
    with Jesus Who calls us friend.

    • So true mate. The following I copied for someone………
      It would seem to me that this “modern man” they speak of is morally vacant, with no care for his own actions or their consequences. This “modern man” is so selfish and inconsiderate that he is willing to trade the security and stability of his children for short term, and meaningless, gratification. Since this modern man has no understanding, or desire to learn, he has no reference for right and wrong. He is led by his feelings and emotions, which vary from moment to moment, and lacks the tools of reason. I submit that many of these “men” remain willfully ignorant, so they can continue to fool themselves into believing they deserve something they didn’t earn. I would think that something of a Renaissance Man would be far more admirable than this amoebic “modern man”.

      • Well here’s a good giggle, we’re told that the world doesn’t owe us a living, but with all of the debt the governments have piled on us, ($217 trillion to be precise), that is exactly what we owe the elite. You’re correct mate, their money won’t buy them out of the mess they’ve made. They’ll be tossing their gold out in the streets ere much longer when they discover that their gold won’t feed them.

  4. From http://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/kipling-the-gods-of-the-copybook-heading

    “What are the foundations of our beliefs and actions? History has built the civilization we enjoy by accumulating small pebbles of wisdom based upon experience. Every once in a while, some misguided action tears down years or centuries of progress by ignoring or misunderstanding the basic truths that underlie all that has gone before.

    Rudyard Kipling, with his gift as a poet and prophet, has put this into focus in his poem, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” Although written in 1919, it is pertinent to the conditions that exist in the world today. His “Gods of the Copybook Headings” are, in effect, those rules of human conduct that are so well defined by centuries of experience that they have become immutable. To disregard them, says Kipling, will inevitably lead to failure and destruction.”

  5. A final paragraph to Radnóti’s poem:

    I lived upon this Earth in such an age
    When masterminds decieve and conspire
    To bring upon the world their orders desire
    When freedom of thought and being will be extinguished
    As the cultures of all are relinquished

  6. I heard Douglas Murray say it well: we were told by the weaklings-in-charge to not worry, their numbers are so small compared to ours, to believe otherwise is to be delusional. Suddenly terror attacks ratchet up and we are told there is nothing that can be done. We are best advised to placidly wait for our demise.
    Religious orthodoxy is essential to holding territory. It grows more unyielding over time. The price of peace in Europe will necessarily mean territorial concessions. At least once the concessions are made the non-Muslim European can see on a map the damage inflicted by Islam, and assess the cost of treason. Concessions must be made, just as a tourniquet must be applied. In a different age war would have begun earlier and victory would have brought relief.

  7. Rudyard Kipling Address to The Royal Society of St George, 6 May 1935

    An Undefended Island

    “… Great Britain’s quota of dead in the War (WWI) was over eight hundred thousand when the books were closed in ’21 or ’22. It would be within the mark to say that three-quarters of a million of these were English. Furthermore, a large but unknown number died in the next few years from wounds or disease directly due to the War. There is a third category of men—incapacitated from effort by the effects of shock, gassing, tubercle, and the like. These carry a high death-rate because many of them burned out half a life’s vitality in three or four years. They, too, have ceased to count.

    All these were men of average physique, and, but that they died without issue, would have continued our race. The selective elimination of so many men of one type, and their replacement by so many persons of another type and their children, led to an extensive revision of all standards of English thought and action…

    All pain—whether it come from hitting one’s head against a table or from improvising a four years’ war at four days’ notice—is evil. All evil is wicked. And since, of all evils, war gives the most pain to the most people, wickedest of all things is war. Wherefore, unless people wish to be thought wicked, they must so order the national life that never again shall war in any form be possible.
    A little later—in ’22 or ’23—on the heels, you might say, of Rachel mourning for her children—our electorate was enlarged by the enfranchisement of all Englishwomen over twenty-one.

    This gave renewed impetus to our national ideal of an ever-rising standard of living and the removal of want, discomfort, and the accidents of life from the lives of all our people. To this end we built up, and are now building, gigantic organisations to control and handle every detail of those lives. But for reasons which I shall try to show we chose—we chose—not to provide that reasonable margin of external safety without which even the lowest standard of life cannot be maintained in this dangerously congested island.”

    Written in 1935, much validity for today.

  8. “….dangerously congested island”. Got it in three words–in 1935. What would he say of today’s disaster?
    Where do the leaders of England (and Netherlands) see their respective countries, as one huge city, with today’s cities just suburbs of the Greater Metropolitan Area of England?

Comments are closed.