The Thousandth Man

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for ‘ee
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don’t matter,
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water

You can use his purse with no more talk
Then he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em call
For silver and gold in their dealings,
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ‘em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight –
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot- and after!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

One thought on “The Thousandth Man

  1. The Answer.

    A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,
    Cried out to God and murmured 'gainst His Wrath,
    Because a sudden wind at twilight's hush
    Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.
    And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun,
    Had pity, whispering to that luckless one,
    “Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well —
    What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?”
    And the Rose answered, “In that evil hour
    A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower?
    For lo, the very gossamers are still.'
    And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah's will!'”

    Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward,
    Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord:
    “Sister, before We smote the Dark in twain,
    Ere yet the stars saw one another plain,
    Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task
    That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask.”
    Whereat the withered flower, all content,
    Died as they die whose days are innocent;
    While he who questioned why the flower fell
    Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.

    Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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