Poem: “The Brown Man’s Burden”

Pile on the brown man’s burden
To gratify your greed;
Go, clear away the “niggers”
Who progress would impede;
Be very stern, for truly
‘Tis useless to be mild
With new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Pile on the brown man’s burden;
And, if ye rouse his hate,
Meet his old-fashioned reasons
With Maxims up to date.
With shells and dumdum bullets
A hundred times made plain
The brown man’s loss must ever
Imply the white man’s gain.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
compel him to be free;
Let all your manifestoes
Reek with philanthropy.
And if with heathen folly
He dares your will dispute,
Then, in the name of freedom,
Don’t hesitate to shoot.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
And if his cry be sore,
That surely need not irk you–
Ye’ve driven slaves before.
Seize on his ports and pastures,
The fields his people tread;
Go make from them your living,
And mark them with his dead.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
Nor do not deem it hard
If you should earn the rancor
Of those ye yearn to guard.
The screaming of your Eagle
Will drown the victim’s sob —
Go on through fire and slaughter.
There’s dollars in the job.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
And through the world proclaim
That ye are Freedom’s agent —
There’s no more paying game!
And, should your own past history
Straight in your teeth be thrown,
Retort that independence
Is good for whites alone.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
With equity have done;
Weak, antiquated scruples
Their squeamish course have run,
And, though ’tis freedom’s banner
You’re waving in the van,
Reserve for home consumption
The sacred “rights of man”!

And if by chance ye falter,
Or lag along the course,
If, as the blood flows freely,
Ye feel some slight remorse,
Hie ye to Rudyard Kipling,
Imperialism’s prop,
And bid him, for your comfort,
Turn on his jingo stop.

– Henry Labouchère, Literary Digest 18, 25 February 1899

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