Rudyard Kipling: The Reeds of Runnymede

The Thames at Runnymede

The Thames at Runnymede

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.


At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:
‘You musn’t sell, delay, deny,
A freeman’s right or liberty.
It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw ’em roused at Runnymede!


When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line
The first attack on Right Divine,
The curt uncompromising “Sign!’
They settled John at Runnymede.


At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter signed at Runnymede.’


And still when mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!

The Thames at Runnymede

The Thames at Runnymede

Rudyard Kipling wurde am 30. Dezember 1865 in Bombay, als Sohn britischer Eltern geboren. Mit sechzehn Jahren begann er als Journalist zu arbeiten. In seiner Freizeit schrieb er Gedichte und Geschichten, die ihn sehr bald berühmt machten. Er reiste viel und lebte eine Zeit lang mit seiner amerikanischen Frau in der USA, ließ sich aber später in England nieder. 1907 erhielt er den Nobelpreis für Literatur, lehnte aber andere Auszeichnungen, wie den Ritterstand, ab. Er war ein persönlicher Freund König Georges V. und starb nur drei Tage vor ihm im Januar 1936.

Rudyard Kipling was born to British parents in Bombay on 30th December 1865. From the age of sixteen he worked as a journalist. In his free time he wrote poems and stories, which made him soon famous. He travelled a lot, lived for a while in the USA with his American wife, but settled finally in England. He received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1907, but declined most other honours (like a knighthood) offered to him. He was a personal friend of King George V and died just three days before him in January 1936.

Magna Carta Memorial

Magna Carta Memorial

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