Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


Scottish Poem By Rudyard Kipling

Recessional is a poem by Rudyard Kipling containing the phrase Lest We Forget (8x). It was first published in The Times on July 17, 1897 around the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Recessional contains five stanzas of six lines each. A W Yates sees comparisons of form and phrase in Thomas Wyatt's "Forget not yet". As a recessional is a hymn or piece of music that is sung or played at the end of a religious service, in some respects the title dictates the form of the poem, which is that of a traditional English hymn.

Initially, Kipling had not intended to write a poem for the Jubilee. It was written and published only towards the close of the Jubilee celebrations, and represents a comment on them, an afterword.

The poem went against the celebratory mood of the time, providing instead a reminder of the transient nature of British Imperial power. The poem expresses both pride in the British Empire, but also an underlying sadness that the Empire might go the way of all previous empires. "The title and its allusion to an end rather than a beginning add solemnity and gravitas to Kipling's message."

In the poem, Kipling argues that boasting and jingoism, faults of which he was often accused, were inappropriate and vain in light of the permanence of God.

Related Scottish Country Dances

Lest We Forget

Recessional By Rudyard Kipling

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget-lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget-lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget-lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law-
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget-lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And, guarding, calls not Thee to guard;
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Recessional Poem Video

Recessional Poem - Information Video
War Memorial, Victoria Square, Bradford

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Recessional Poem article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright (cropped) David Dixon under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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