Thursday, May 7, 2009

Calling the Ball or the Decline of the English Speaking Peoples

Two meanings occur to me for the phrase calling the ball:

  1. The act of a baseball player playing a ball that several are running toward -- Preventing confusion, accident, and hopefully errors.
  2. A call made by a Naval Aviator on final approach as the glide slope indicator is spotted.
I thought it appropriate in this context as Kipling called changes in the British Empire, long before the symptoms of the decay became threatening.


Recessional

Rudyard Kipling

1897


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.

2 comments:

willohroots said...

Don't forget 8-ball. call the ball or you lose a turn and it goes back on the table.

tigger23505 said...

Rat's, I did forget about having to call the 8-ball. I just wish that Kipling and Orwell hadn't been as accurate.