Selected Pete

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.


Rudyard Kipling said it best when he penned the words to the Gods of the Copybook Headings in 1919. This poem sounds out with amazing clarity nearly one hundred years later. The Copybook Headings were real, practiced parts of education back then, and today they have been relegated to the trash heap along with the rest of our Godly heritage and values.

Selected Pete comes from the reference in this poem to “selected Peter” who always ends up paying for “collective Paul.” The liberal world view is the father and champion to “collective Paul.” Without Paul as their perpetual victim, the liberal worldview stumbles and quickly deflates. Selected Pete hails from the Christian worldview which has had much experience as a victim, but refuses to allow itself to be addressed as such.

The Bible tells us that these worldviews will collide over and over again. At times in this struggle, it is going to look pretty bad for Pete, but he will triumph in the end when he enters the presence of God almighty. I write this blog for friends and strangers who I love dearly, and pray will some day come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Philippians 2:10-11

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.


Written by selectedpete

September 20, 2006 at 3:27 pm

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