Tuesday, August 09, 2011

'The Gods of the Copybook Headings'

Commentary on a couple of different current events from Rudyard Kipling.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
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."
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."
Yes, it dates to 1919, but that actually makes it more relevant than otherwise. Universal truths, and the costs of losing sight of them, or misunderstanding them, or failing to acknowledge them, are as relevant today as ever. (And yes, there are many more stanzas, but these two seemed remarkably on point today...)

(Wikipedia: "The "copybook headings" to which the title refers were proverbs or maxims, extolling virtues such as honesty or fair dealing that were printed at the top of the pages of 19th-century British students' special notebook pages, called copybooks. The school-children had to write them by hand repeatedly down the page.")

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