Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Philadelphia - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
You mustn't take my stories for a guide.
There's little left, indeed, of the city you will read of,
And all the folk I write about have died.
Now few will understand if you mention Talleyrand,
Or remember what his cunning and his skill did;
And the cabmen at the wharf do not know Count Zinzendorf,
Nor the Church in Philadelphia he builded.

It is gone, gone, gone with lost Atlantis,
(Never say I didn't give you warning).
In Seventeen Ninety-three 'twas there for all to see,
But it's not in Philadelphia this morning.

If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
You mustn't go by anything I've said.
Bob Bicknell's Southern Stages have been laid aside for ages,
But the Limited will take you there instead.
Toby Hirte can't be seen at One Hundred and Eighteen
North Second Street--no matter when you call;
And I fear you'll search in vain for the wash-house down the lane
Where Pharaoh played the fiddle at the ball.

It is gone, gone, gone with Thebes the Golden,
(Never say I didn't give you warning).
In Seventeen Ninety-four 'twas a famous dancing floor--
But it's not in Philadelphia this morning.

If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
You must telegraph for rooms at some Hotel.
You needn't try your luck at Epply's or "The Buck,"
Though the Father of his Country liked them well.
It is not the slightest use to inquire for Adam Goos,
Or to ask where Pastor Meder has removed--so
You must treat as out of date the story I relate
Of the Church in Philadelphia he loved so.

He is gone, gone, gone with Martin Luther
(Never say I didn't give you warning)
In Seventeen Ninety-five he was, (rest his soul!) alive.
But he's not in Philadelphia this morning.

If you're off to Philadelphia this morning,
And wish to prove the truth of what I say,
I pledge my word you'll find the pleasant land behind
Unaltered since Red Jacket rode that way.
Still the pine-woods scent the noon; still the catbird sings his
tune;
Still autumn sets the maple-forest blazing;
Still the grape-vine through the dusk flings her soul-compelling
musk;
Still the fire-flies in the corn make night amazing!
They are there, there, there with Earth immortal
( Citizens, I give you friendly warning )
The thins that truly last when men and times have passed,
They are all in Pennsylvania this morning!


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Read poems about / on: warning, autumn, city, father, remember, house, truth, fire, red, fear, lost, dance



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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