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The Problem of George Stigler—Noted

Kipling: The Gods of the Copybook Headings—Noted

Rudyard Kipling (1919): The Gods of the Copybook Headings http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm: ‘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 Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind....

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....

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 Gold 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 wabbling 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!

.#books #noted #kipling #2020-06-10

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