The Beginnings – Rudyard Kipling

The Beginnings – Rudyard Kipling

“The Beginnings” is a 1917 poem by Rudyard Kipling. The poem is about how the English people, although naturally peaceful, slowly become filled with a hate which will lead to the advent of a new epoch.

The poem first appeared in Kipling’s 1917 collection ‘A Diversity of Creatures’, where it accompanies the short story “Mary Postgate”. The term ‘Saxon’ is often used in the place of ‘English’ and we have reproduced that version here.

When The Saxon Began To Hate

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low,
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show,
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd,
It was not taught by the State.
No man spoke it aloud,
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddenly bred,
It will not swiftly abate,
Through the chill years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.

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