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Rudyard Kipling


God gave all men all earth to love,

But, since our hearts are small

Ordained for each one spot should prove

Beloved over all;

That, as He watched Creation's birth,

So we, in godlike mood,

May of our love create our earth

And see that it is good.

So one shall Baltic pines content,

As one some Surrey glade,

Or one the palm-grove's droned lament

Before Levuka's Trade.

Each to his choice, and I rejoice

The lot has fallen to me

In a fair ground—in a fair ground—

Yea, Sussex by the sea!

No tender-hearted garden crowns,

No bosomed woods adorn

Our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs,

But gnarled and writhen thorn—

Bare slopes where chasing shadows skim,

And, through the gaps revealed,

Belt upon belt, the wooded, dim,

Blue goodness of the Weald.

Clean of officious fence or hedge,

Half-wild and wholly tame,

The wise turf cloaks the white cliff-edge

As when the Romans came.

What sign of those that fought and died

At shift of sword and sword?

The barrow and the camp abide,

The sunlight and the sward.

Here leaps ashore the full Sou'west

All heavy-winged with brine,

Here lies above the folded crest

The Channel's leaden line,

And here the sea-fogs lap and cling,

And here, each warning each,

The sheep-bells and the ship-bells ring

Along the hidden beach.

We have no waters to delight

Our broad and brookless vales—

Only the dewpond on the height

Unfed, that never fails—

Whereby no tattered herbage tells

Which way the season flies—

Only our close-bit thyme that smells

Like dawn in Paradise.

Here through the strong and shadeless days

The tinkling silence thrills;

Or little, lost, Down churches praise

The Lord who made the hills:

But here the Old Gods guard their round,

And, in her secret heart,

The heathen kingdom Wilfrid found

Dreams, as she dwells, apart.

Though all the rest were all my share,

With equal soul I'd see

Her nine-and-thirty sisters fair,

Yet none more fair than she.

Choose ye your need from Thames to Tweed,

And I will choose instead

Such lands as lie 'twixt Rake and Rye,

Black Down and Beachy Head.

I will go out against the sun

Where the rolled scarp retires,

And the Long Man of Wilmington

Looks naked toward the shires;

And east till doubling Rother crawls

To find the fickle tide,

By dry and sea-forgotten walls,

Our ports of stranded pride.

I will go north about the shaws

And the deep ghylls that breed

Huge oaks and old, the which we hold

No more than Sussex weed;

Or south where windy Piddinghoe's

Begilded dolphin veers,

And red beside wide-banked Ouse

Lie down our Sussex steers.

So to the land our hearts we give

Til the sure magic strike,

And Memory, Use, and Love make live

Us and our fields alike—

That deeper than our speech and thought,

Beyond our reason's sway,

Clay of the pit whence we were wrought

Yearns to its fellow-clay.

God gives all men all earth to love,

But, since man's heart is small,

Ordains for each one spot shall prove

Beloved over all.

Each to his choice, and I rejoice

The lot has fallen to me

In a fair ground—in a fair ground—

Yea, Sussex by the sea!