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Rudyard Kipling
1865-1936
( )


BOOKS on-line

 

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My Father's Chair. Parliaments of Henry III, 1265
I have eaten your bread and salt
The Ballad of East and West
in SpanishIf
L'ENVOI
Cities and Thrones and Powers
The Four Angels
The Appeal

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

 

III

,
....

, ,

THE LOOKING - GLASS  
WHEN OMER SMOTE IS BLOOMIN LYRE  
HYMN BEFORE ACTION  
THE FIRES  
THE LOVE SONG OF HAR DYAL   ..
THE SONS OF MARTHA  
THE GLORY OF THE GARDEN  
THE GIPSY TRAIL  

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

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 Breath 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 Heading 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 Heading 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 God 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!


THE LOVE SONG OF HAR DYAL

..
Alone upon the housetops to the North
I turn and watch the lightnings in the sky
The glamour of thy footsteps in the North.
Come back to me. Beloved, or I die.

Below my feet the still bazar is laid -
Far, far below the weary camels lie -
The camels and the captives of thy raid.
Come back to me. Beloved, or I die.

My father's wife is old and harsh with years,
And drudge of all my father's house am I -
My bread is sorrow and my drink is tears.
Come back to me. Beloved, or I die.


THE FIRES


Men make them fires on the hearth
Each under his roof-tree,
And the Four Winds that rule the earth
They blow the smoke to me.

Across the high hills and the sea
And all the changeful skies,
The Four Winds blow the smoke to me
Till the tears are in my eyes.

Until the tears are in my eyes
And my heart is well-nigh broke
For thinking on old memories
That gather in the smoke.

With every shift of every wind
The homesick memories come,
From every quarter of mankind
Where I have made me a home.

Four times a fire against the cold
And a roof against the rain -
Sorrow fourfold and joy fourfold
The Four Winds bring again!

How can I answer which is best
Of all the fires that burn?
I have been too often host or guest
At every fire in turn.

How can I turn from any fire,
On any man's hearthstone?
I know the wonder and desire
That went to build my own!

How can I doubt man's joy or woe
Where 'er his house-fires shine,
Since all that man must undergo
Will visit me at mine?

Oh, you Four Winds that blow so strong
And know that this is true,
Stoop for a little and carry my song
To all the men I knew!

Where there are fires against the cold,
Or roofs against the rain -
With love fourfold and joy fourfold,
Take them my songs again!


HYMN BEFORE ACTION

The earth is full of anger, The seas are dark with wrath;
The Nations in their harness Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders, Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and forward bearing, Proud heart, rebellious brow
Deaf ear and soul uncaring, We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee, The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us, Lord, let their faith atone!
If wrong we did to call them, By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them, But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror, Revenge that knows no rein
Light haste and lawless error, Protect us yet again.
Cloke Thou our undeserving, Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving To taste Thy lesser death.

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave! Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need True comrade and true foeman
Madonna, intercede!

Een now their vanguard gathers, Een now we face the fray
As Thou didst help our fathers, Help Thou our host to-day.
Fulfilled of signs and wonders, In life, in death made clear
Jehovah of the Thunders, Lord God of Battles, hear!


WHEN OMER SMOTE IS BLOOMIN LYRE

When Omer smote is bloomin lyre,
Hed eard men sing by land an sea;
Anwhat he thought e might require,
E went an took the same as me!

The market-girls an fishermen,
The shepherds an the sailors, too,
They eard old songs turn up again,
But kep it quiet same as you!

They knew e stole; e knew they knowed.
They didnt tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at Omer down the road,
An e winked back the same as us!


III
, .

My Father's Chair. Parliaments of Henry III, 1265.

THERE are four good legs to my Father's Chair--
Priest and People and Lords and Crown.
I sits on all of 'em fair and square,
And that is the reason it don't break down.
 
I won't trust one leg, nor two, nor three,
To carry my weight when I sets me down.
I wants all four of 'em under me--
Priest and People and Lords and Crown.
 
I sits on all four and I favours none--
Priest, nor People, nor Lords, nor Crown:
And I never tilts in my chair, my son,
And that is the reason it don't break down.
 
When your time comes to sit in my Chair,
Remember your Father's habits and rules.
Sit on all four legs, fair and square,
And never be tempted by one-legged stools!


,

I have eaten your bread and salt.
I have drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I have watched beside,
And the lives ye led were mine.

Was there aught I did not share
In vigil or toil or ease, -
One joy or woe that I did not know,
Dear hearts across the seas?

I have written the tale of our life
For a sheltered peoples mirth,
In jesting guise - but ye are wise,
And ye know what jest is worth.


,

The Ballad of East and West

OH, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!
 
Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride:
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
``Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?''
Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar,
``If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai---at dawn he is into Borair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tonuge of Jagai,
But if he be passed the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen.''
 
The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,
With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell, and the head of a gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat--
Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.
He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly,
Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tonue of Jagai,
Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back,
And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.
He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.
``Ye shoot like a soldier,'' Kamal said. ``Show now if ye can ride.''
It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dust-devils go,
The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.
The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above,
But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.
There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.
They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn,
The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.
The dun he fell at a water-course--in a woeful heap fell he,
And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.
He has knocked the pistol out of his hand--small room was there to strive,
``'Twas only by favour of mine,'' quoth he, ``ye rode so long alive:
There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,
But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,
The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:
If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,
The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly.''
Lightly answered the Colonel's son:--``Do good to bird and beast,
But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.
If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away,
Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.
They will feed their horse on the standing crop, their men on the garnered grain,
The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.
But if thou thinkest the price be fair,--thy brethren wait to sup,
The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn,--howl, dog, and call them up!
And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,
Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!''
Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
``No talk shall be of dogs,'' said he, ``when wolf and grey wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;
What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?''
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: ``I hold by the blood of my clan:
Take up the mare for my father's gift,--by God, she has carried a man.!''
The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast,
``We be two strong men,'' said Kamal then, ``but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain.''
 
The Colonel's son a pistol drew and held it muzzle-end,
``Ye have taken the one from a foe,'' said he; ``will ye take the mate from a friend?''
``A gift for a gift,'' said Kamal straight, ``a limb for the risk of limb.
Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!''
With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest--
He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance at rest.
``Now here is thy master,'' Kamal said, ``who leads a troop of the Guides,
And thou must ride at his left side as shield on the shoulder rides.
Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,
Thy life is his--thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.
So thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,
And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line,
And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power--
Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur.''
 
They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found not fault,
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod,
On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.
The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun,
And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.
And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear--
There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.
``Ha' done! ha' done!'' said the Colonel's son. ``Put up the steel at your sides!
Last night ye had struck at a Border thief--to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!''
 
Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

.

If

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

L'ENVOI

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew!

And those that were good shall be happy:they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!


, ,

Cities and Thrones and Powers

CITIES and Thrones and Powers,
Stand in Time's eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth,
To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
The Cities rise again.
This season's Daffodil,
She never hears
What change, what chance, what chill,
Cut down last year's:
But with bold countenance,
And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days' continuance
To be perpetual.
So time that is o'er kind,
To all that be,
Ordains us e'en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well-persuaded, saith,
"See how our works endure!"

The Four Angels

As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Earth came down and offered Earth in fee.
But Adam did not need it.
Nor the plough he would not speed it
Singing: Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
What more mortal man desire?
(The Apple Tree's in bud)

As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Water offers all seas in fee
But Adam would not take 'em
Nor the ships he wouldn't make 'em
Singing: Water, Earth and Air and Fire,
What more mortal man desire?
(The Apple Tree's in leaf)

As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Air he offered all the air in fee.
But Adam did not crave it.
Nor the flight he would not brave it
Singing: Air and Water, Earth and Fire,
What more mortal man desire?
(The Apple Tree's in bloom)

As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree
The Angel of the Fire rose up and not a word said he
But he wished a flame and made it
And in Adam's heart he laid it
Singing: Fire, Fire, burning Fire
Stand up and reach your heart's desire!
(The Apple Blossom's set)

As Adam was a-working outside of Eden-Wall
He used the Earth, he used the Seas, he used the Air and all;
Till out of black disaster
He arouse to be a master
Of Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
But never reached his heart's desire!
(The Apple Tree's cut down!)



-

The Appeal

If I have given you delight
By aught that I have done
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be yours anon.

And for the little little span
The dead are borne in mind
Seek not to questions other than
The books I leave behind


THE LOOKING - GLASS

Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Stand forward partners all!
In ruff and stomacher and gown
She danced King Philip down-a-down
And left her shoe to show it was true -
(The very tune I'm playing you)
In Norgem and Brickwall!

The Queen was her chamber, and she was middling old.
Her petticoat was satin and her stomacher was gold.
Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass,
Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!

Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Now hand your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, a-combing of her hair.
There came a Queen Mary's spirit and it stood behind her chair.
Singing "Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will stand behind you till you face the looking glass,
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As lovely or unlucky or as lonely as I was!"

Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Now turn your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, a weeping very sore,
There came a Lord Leicester's spirit and it scratched upon the door
Singing "Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will walk beside you till you face the looking glass,
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As hard and unforgiving or as wicked as you was!"

Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Now kiss your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, her sins were on head head.
She looked the spirits up and down and statelily she said -
"Backwards and forwards and sideways though I've been,
Yet I'm Harry's daughter and I am England's Queen!"
And she faced her looking-glass (and whatever else there was)
And she saw her days was over and she saw her beauty pass
In the cruel looking-glass, that can always hurt a lass
More than any ghost there is or any man there was!


THE SONS OF MARTHA


The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.
It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion
the shock. It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.
They say to mountains, "Be ye removed." They say to the lesser floods, "Be dry."
Under their rods are the rocks reproved - they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit - then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.
They finger death at their gloves' end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.
To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden - under the earthline their altars are -
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city's drouth.
They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not teach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they dam'-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren's days may be long in the land.
Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat -
Lo, it is black already with blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.
And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessed - they know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessed, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the Feet - they hear the Word - they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and - the Lord He lays it on Martha's Sons!


THE GLORY OF THE GARDEN


Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on tlie terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare' the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift tlie sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupielh all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing: - "Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.

There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick,
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries of killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!


THE GIPSY TRAIL


The white moth to the closing bine,
The bee to the opened clover,
And the gipsy blood to the gipsy blood
Ever the wide world over.
Ever the wide world over, lass,
Ever the trail held true,
Over the world and under the world,
And back at the last to you.
Out of the dark of the gorgio camp,
Out of the grime and the gray
(Morning waits at the end of the world),
Gipsy, come away!
The wild boar to the sun-dried swamp,
The red crane to her reed,
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad
By the tie of a roving breed.
The pied snake to the rifted rock,
The buck to the stony plain,
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad,
And both to the road again.
Both to the road again, again!
Out on a clean sea-track
Follow the cross of the gipsy trail
Over the world and back!
Follow the Romany patteran
North where the blue bergs sail,
And the bows are grey with the frozen spray,
And the masts are shod with mail.
Follow the Romany patteran
Sheer to the Austral Light,
Where the besom of God is the wild South wind,
Sweeping the sea-floors white.
Follow the Romany patteran
West to the sinking sun,
Till the junk-sails lift through the houseless drift.
And the east and west are one.
Follow the Romany patteran
East where the silence broods
By a purple wave on an opal beach
In the hush of the Mahim woods.
The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky,
The deer to the wholesome world,
And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid,
As it was in the days of old.
The heart of a man to the heart of a maid
Light of my tents, be fleet.
Morning waits at the end of the world,
And the world is all at our feet!


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2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman