Gentlemen reformers with an English Education—
Lights of Aryavarta take our heartiest applause,
For the spectacle you offer of an 'educated' nation
Working out its freedom under 'educated' laws.
Laudable your sentiments, eloquent your diction,
For your flowing periods, all our language racked is.
May a brutal Briton ask:—'Wherefore then the friction
'Twixt the golden Principle and the grubby Practice.'
Gentlemen reformers, you have heard the story
Weighed the woman's evidence—marked the man's reply.
Here's a chance for honour, notoriety and glory!
Graduates of culture will you let that chance go by?
[You can lecture government, draught a resolution—
Sign a huge memorial—that Calcutta saw.
Never such an opening for touching elocution—
As the text of Rukhimbai, jailed by Hindu law]
What? No word of protest ? Not a sign of pity ?
Not a hand to help the girl, but, in black and white
Writes the leading oracle of the leading city:—
'We the Indian nation, we hold it served her right.
Wherefore, gracious government, let her do her sentence:
Learn the majesty of Law, teach our erring wives—
By a six months' sojourn in a common prison pent—hence
She and they are cattle at our service all their lives.'
Gentlemen reformers, you can understand the loathing
That would fill your bosoms did a mehter claim to share
On the strength of velvet skull-cap and a suit of snowy [clothing
Your name and rank and prospects and a seat beside your chair]
[Very hard it is to keep in bounds of decent moderation—
And grief to smother epithets unseemly out of place
When excellent reformers chose to call themselves a nation
And clamour for equality beside the higher race.
It is then the brutal Briton feels an impulse, wild, unruly—
That tingles in the toe nails of a non-official boot—
Lumps in one mean heap of cruelty the graduate and cooly—
And the old race-instinct answers to the clamour:—Hut you brute.
Which is barbarous and savage but the graduate of culture
May console himself with thinking of the proverb wise and old
'Though you paint him as a peacock, still the vulture is a vulture'—
And the dôm is still an outcast though you plate his back with gold.]
[the fair copy in the Kipling Papers at U. Sussex is incomplete. The passages in
brackets have been added from rough drafts by Andrew Rutherford, pp. 373/4 Ed.]