Saturday Morning Poetry

I was tempted to post the last stanza of this as a comment to Miguel’s Under Armour post, but decided it would be better served as a post of its own.

For historical context, Danegeld, which means Danish Tax or Danish Gold, was a “tribute” that was paid by locals to Viking (Dane) raiders to keep the Vikings away.  It was protection money.

Vikings fought every viciously, which was part of their reputation.  Rape and slaughter one town, let the few survivors spread the word of just how terrible the Vikings were.  When the Vikings showed up at a nearby town a little while later, they would demand tribute or they would repeat the rape a slaughter.  Most villages would pay tribute and the Vikings would go away.  The Vikings operated a very effective protection racket across Scandinavia, The British Isles, Ireland, and the coastal countries of Northern Europe for several hundred years with this tactic.

Rudyard Kipling, who is by far my favorite classical English poet, wrote a poem about the Danegeld, as a warning.  I have committed it to memory, it is not long.

As a warning it is every bit as appropriate today as it has ever been.

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
  To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
  Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
  And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
  And then  you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
  To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
  But we've  proved it again and  again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
  You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
  For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
  You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
  No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
  And the nation that pays it is lost!"


4 Replies to “Saturday Morning Poetry”

  1. Good old Rudyard, he had a better understanding of the our world in the Victorian age than we do today. Too bad our prez didn’t read Kipling before paying $100M plus in Danegeld to the mad mullahs in Tehran. Then again, Kipling wasn’t known for being politically correct either to the Powers That Be or towards the muzzles.


  2. I prefer this one, when considering the Modern Left and the future they have planned for us all:

    MacDonough’s Song

    “As Easy as A.B.C” in A Diversity of Creatures

    WHETHER the State can loose and bind
    In Heaven as well as on Earth:
    If it be wiser to kill mankind
    Before or after the birth—
    These are matters of high concern
    Where State-kept schoolmen are;
    But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
    Endeth in Holy War.

    Whether The People be led by The Lord,
    Or lured by the loudest throat:
    If it be quicker to die by the sword
    Or cheaper to die by vote—
    These are things we have dealt with once,
    (And they will not rise from their grave)
    For Holy People, however it runs,
    Endeth in wholly Slave.

    Whatsoever, for any cause,
    Seeketh to take or give,
    Power above or beyond the Laws,
    Suffer it not to live!
    Holy State or Holy King—
    Or Holy People’s Will—
    Have no truck with the senseless thing.
    Order the guns and kill!

    Once there was The People—Terror gave it birth;
    Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth.
    Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, O ye slain!
    Once there was The People—it shall never be again!



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