Rudyard Kipling: Fear

ERE Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey People cry,
Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer,
Through the Jungle very softly flits a Shadow and a sigh—
He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,
And the whisper spreads and widens far and near;
And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now—
He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!

Ere the Moon has climbed the mountain, ere the rocks are ribbed with light,
When the downward-dipping tails are dank and drear;
Comes a breathing hard behind thee, snuffle-snuffle through the night—
It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
On thy knees and draw the bow, bid the shrilling arrow go;
In the empty mocking thicket plunge the spear;
But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left thy cheek—
It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!

When the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the silvered pine trees fall,
When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer;
Through the trumpets of the thunder rings a voice more loud than all—
It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
Now the spates are banked and deep; now the footless boulders leap;
Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear;
But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against thy side
Hammers: Fear, O Little Hunter—this is Fear!


From the Jungle Book, first published 1894.

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