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The Wage-Slaves

The Wage-Slaves

Oh, glorious are the guarded heights
Where guardian souls abide
Self-exiled from our gross delights
Above, beyond, outside:
An ampler arc their spirit swings
Commands a juster view
We have their word for all these things,
No doubt their words are true.

Yet we, the bond slaves of our day,
Whom dirt and danger press
Co-heirs of insolence, delay,
And leagued unfaithfulness
Such is our need must seek indeed
And, having found, engage
The men who merely do the work
For which they draw the wage.

From forge and farm and mine and bench,
Deck, altar, outpost lone
Mill, school, battalion, counter, trench,
Rail, senate, sheepfold, throne
Creation’s cry goes up on high
From age to cheated age:
“Send us the men who do the work
“For which they draw the wage!”

Words cannot help nor wit achieve,
Nor e’en the all-gifted fool,
Too weak to enter, bide, or leave
The lists he cannot rule.
Beneath the sun we count on none
Our evil to assuage,
Except the men that do the work
For which they draw the wage.

When through the Gates of Stress and Strain
Comes forth the vast Event
The simple, sheer, sufficing, sane
Result of labour spent
They that have wrought the end unthought
Be neither saint nor sage,
But only men who did the work
For which they drew the wage.

Wherefore to these the Fates shall bend
(And all old idle things )
Werefore on these shall Power attend
Beyond the grip of kings:
Each in his place, by right, not grace,
Shall rule his heritage
The men who simply do the work
For which they draw the wage.

Not such as scorn the loitering street,
Or waste, to earth its praise,
Their noontide’s unreturning heat
About their morning ways;
But such as dower each mortgaged hour
Alike with clean courage
Even the men who do the work
For which they draw the wage
Men, like to Gods, that do the work
For which they draw the wage
Begin-continue-close that work
For which they draw the wage!



Poem The Wage-Slaves - Rudyard Kipling