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The Palace

Today in Masonic History we present The Palace by Rudyard Kipling

When I was a King and a Mason-
A Master Proven and skilled-
I cleared me ground for a Palace
Such as a King should build.
I decreed and dug down to my levels;
Presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a Palace,
Such as a King had built.

There was no worth in the fashion-
There was no wit in the plan;
Hither and thither, aimless,
The ruined footings ran.
Masonry, brute, mishandled,
But carven on every stone,
"After me cometh a Builder;
Tell him I, too, have known."

Swift to my use in my trenches,
Where my well-planned groundworks grew,
I tumbled his quoins and his ashlars,
And cut and rest them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles;
Burned it, slacked it, and spread;
Taking and leaving at pleasure
The gifts of the humble dead.

Yet I despised not nor gloried,
Yet, as we wrenched them apart,
I read in the razed foundation
The heart of that builder's heart.
As he has risen and pleaded,
So did I understand
The form of the dream he had followed
In the face of the thing he had planned.

When I was a King and a Mason,
In the open noon of my pride,
They sent me a Word from the Darkness -
They whispered and called me aside.
They said, "The end is forbidden."
They said, "Thy use is fulfilled.
Thy Palace shall stand as that other's -
The spoil of a King who shall build."

I called my men from my trenches,
My quarries, my wharves, and my sheers;
All I had wrought I abandoned
To the faith of the faithless years.
Only I cut on the timber -
Only I carved on the stone:
"After me cometh a Builder;
Tell him I, too, have known."

 

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June 2018
  
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