Actions and Reactions, by Rudyard Kipling

The Puzzler

The Celt in all his variants from Builth to Ballyhoo,
His mental processes are plain — one knows what he will do,
And can logically predicate his finish by his start:
But the English — ah, the English! — they are quite a race apart.

Their psychology is bovine, their outlook crude and rare;
They abandon vital matters to be tickled with a straw;
But the straw that they were tickled with — the chaff that they were fed with —
They convert into a weaver’s beam to break their foeman’s head with.

For undemocratic reasons and for motives not of State,
They arrive at their conclusions — largely inarticulate.
Being void of self-expression they confide their views to none;
But sometimes, in a smoking-room, one learns why things were done.

In telegraphic sentences, half swallowed at the ends,
They hint a matter’s inwardness — and there the matter ends.
And while the Celt is talking from Valencia to Kirkwall,
The English — ah, the English! — don’t say anything at all!

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:56