James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

March 26

Cecil Rhodes

By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

(Died March 26, 1902)

WHEN that great Kings return to clay, or Emperors in their pride,

Grief of a day shall fill a day because its creature died.

But we—we reckon not with those whom the mere Fates ordain

This Power that wrought on us, and goes back to the Power again.

Dreamer devout, by vision led beyond our guess or reach,

The travail of his spirit bred cities in place of speech:

So huge the all-mastering thought that drove; so brief the term allowed.

Nations, not words, he linked to prove his faith before the crowd.

It is his will that he look forth across the lands he won:—

The granite of the Ancient North, great spaces washed with sun.

There shall he patient make his seat, (as when the death he dared,)

And there await a people’s feet in the paths that he prepared.

There till the vision he foresaw splendid and whole arise,

And unimagined empires draw to council ’neath his skies,

The immense and brooding Spirit still shall quicken and control.

Living, he was the land, and dead, his soul shall be her soul.