Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HERE IS THE TALE; AFTER RUDYARD KIPLING, by ANTHONY C. DEANE



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HERE IS THE TALE; AFTER RUDYARD KIPLING, by            
First Line: Now jack looked up - it was time to sup, and the bucket was
Last Line: She had felt the sting of a walloping -- she hath paid the price of her mirth!
Variant Title(s): Jack And Jill
Subject(s): Kipling, Rudyard (1865-1936)


Here is the tale -- and you must make the most of it!
Here is the rhyme -- ah, listen and attend!
Backwards -- forwards -- read it all and boast of it
If you are anything the wiser at the end!

Now Jack looked up -- it was time to sup, and the bucket was yet to fill,
And Jack looked round for a space and frowned, then beckoned his sister Jill,
And twice he pulled his sister's hair, and thrice he smote her side;
"Ha' done, ha' done with your impudent fun -- ha' done with your games!" she
cried;
"You have made mud-pies of a marvellous size -- finger and face are black,
You have trodden the Way of the Mire and Clay -- now up and wash you, Jack!
Or else, or ever we reach our home, there waiteth an angry dame --
Well you know the weight of her blow -- the supperless open shame!
Wash, if you will, on yonder hill -- wash, if you will, at the spring, --
Or keep your dirt, to your certain hurt, and an imminent walloping!"

"You must wash -- you must scrub -- you must scrape!" growled Jack, "you must
traffic with cans and pails,
Nor keep the spoil of the good brown soil in the rim of your finger-nails!
The morning path you must tread to your bath -- you must wash ere the night
descends,
And all for the cause of conventional laws and the soapmakers' dividends!
But if 'tis sooth that our meal in truth depends on our washing, Jill,
By the sacred right of our appetite -- haste -- haste to the top of the hill!"

They have trodden the Way of the Mire and Clay, they have toiled and travelled
far,
They have climbed to the brow of the hill-top now, where the bubbling fountains
are,
They have taken the bucket and filled it up -- yea, filled it up to the brim;
But Jack he sneered at his sister Jill, and Jill she jeered at him:
"What, blown already!" Jack cried out (and his was a biting mirth!)
"You boast indeed of your wonderful speed -- but what is the boasting worth?
Now, if you can run as the antelope runs and if you can turn like a hare,
Come, race me, Jill, to the foot of the hill -- and prove your boasting fair!"
"Race? What is a race" (and a mocking face had Jill as she spake the word)
"Unless for a prize the runner tries? The truth indeed ye heard,
For I can run as the antelope runs, and I can turn like a hare: --
The first one down wins half-a-crown -- and I will race you there!"
"Yea, if for the lesson that you will learn (the lesson of humbled pride)
The price you fix at two-and-six, it shall not be denied;
Come take your stand at my right hand, for here is the mark we toe:
Now are you ready, and are you steady? Gird up your petticoats! Go!"

And Jill she ran like a winging bolt, a bolt from the bow released,
But Jack like a stream of the lightning gleam, with its pathway duly greased;
He ran down hill in front of Jill like a summer-lightning flash --
Till he suddenly tripped on a stone, or slipped, and fell to the earth with a
crash.
Then straight did rise on his wondering eyes the constellations fair,
Arcturus and the Pleiades, the Greater and Lesser Bear,
The swirling rain of a comet's train he saw, as he swiftly fell --
And Jill came tumbling after him with a loud triumphant yell:
"You have won, you have won, the race is done! And as for the wager laid --
You have fallen down with a broken crown -- the half-crown debt is paid!"

They have taken Jack to the room at the back where the family medicines are,
And he lies in bed with a broken head in a halo of vinegar;
While, in that Jill had laughed her fill as her brother fell to earth,
She had felt the sting of a walloping -- she hath paid the price of her mirth!





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