Rudyard Kipling

The Outlaws

Through learned and laborious years They set themselves to find Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears To heap upon mankind. ALl that they drew from Heaven above Or digged from earth beneath, They laid into their treasure-trove And arsenals of death: While, for well-weighed advantage sake, Ruler and ruled alike Built up the faith they meant to break When the fit hour should strike. They traded with the careless earth, And good return it gave: They plotted by their neighbour's hearth The means to make him slave. When all was ready to their hand They loosed their hidden sword, And utterly laid waste a land Their oath was pledged to guard. Coldly they went about to raise To life and make more dread Abominations of old days, That men believed were dead. They paid the price to reach their goal Across a world in flame; But their own hate slew their own soul Before that victory came.

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