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The Anvil -- Rudyard Kipling

       
(Poem #586) The Anvil
 England's on the anvil -- hear the hammers ring --
 Clanging from the Severn to the Tyne!
 Never was a blacksmith like our Norman King --
 England's being hammered, hammered, hammered into line.

 England's on the anvil! Heavy are the blows!
 (But the work will be a marvel when it's done.)
 Little bits of Kingdoms cannot stand against their foes.
 England's being hammered, hammered, hammered into one!

 There shall be one people -- it shall serve one Lord --
 (Neither Priest nor Baron shall escape!)
 It shall have one speech and law, soul and strength and sword.
 England's being hammered, hammered, hammered into shape!
-- Rudyard Kipling
Note: "Norman Conquest, 1066", from Kipling's Songs Written for C.R.L.
Fletcher's "A History of England"

A striking poem - both for the image of England being forged like a sword
beneath the Norman hammer, and for the flawless manner in which the imagery
is echoed in the verse. You can almost hear the rhythmic strokes of the
blacksmith's hammer, and picture the steady, inexorable reshaping of the
country beneath the invaders.

Links:

The complete set of 'A History of England' verses can be found at
[broken link] http://www.geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/kipli04.html

Read in order, they make an interesting verse tour through English history.

Another fascinating look at the history of England is 'Puck of Pooks' Hill'.
See [broken link] http://www.cs.cmu.edu/People/rgs/puck-table.html for an online version,
and poem #493 for one of the
poems we've run on Minstrels.

And, of course, there are no shortage of other Kipling poems run - in
particluar, a biography is attached to poem #17

-martin

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