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Rudyard Kipling

The Covenant

We thought we ranked above the chance of ill.

Others might fall, not we, for we were wise—

Merchants in freedom. So, of our free-will

We let our servants drug our strength with lies.

The pleasure and the poison had its way

On us as on the meanest, till we learned

That he who lies will steal, who steals will slay.

Neither God's judgment nor man's heart was turned.

Yet there remains His Mercy—to be sought

Through wrath and peril till we cleanse the wrong

By that last right which our forefathers claimed

When their Law failed them and its stewards were bought.

This is our cause. God help us, and make strong

Our will to meet Him later, unashamed!