Lest we forget.

Recessional

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!
Amen.

Rudyard Kipling, 1897

Lest we forget - Davenport
“Lest we forget” by Homer Davenport (circa 1899)

Cartoon shows Uncle Sam as a well-dressed stalwart figure wearing striped pants and a waistcoat covered with stars, carrying a tall hat. Behind him stands another Uncle Sam, but this one is emaciated, shabby, and dejected. “Lest we forget” is the refrain in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, Recessional, published in 1897 at the height of the British empire. In the poem, Kipling warns against the perils of pride and the impermanence of power. The United States emerged from the Spanish American war in 1899 as a quasi-imperial power. The cartoonist may be cautioning the nation to remember its humble beginnings. – Library of Congress

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