Friday, 15 July 2011

The Thousandth Man

During a birthday celebration luncheon attended by friends I have known a great many years, the proceedings were interrupted by Anthony Hill who declared to those assembled that he had discovered a poem by Rudyard Kipling he wanted to recite and dedicate to me. We had at this juncture just finished three courses and needed the respite before continuing with those courses yet to arrive. Anthony stood and recited 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 nundred 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
Than 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 h'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!

Thank you, Anthony, old friend, for offering Kipling's wonderful lines.

The most excellent repast provided by Sarah's fair hands comprised a starter of asparagus tips with hollandaise sauce followed by fruity couscous stuffed aubergene served with fennel and butterbean gratin and roasted cherry vine tomatoes with garlic, and jersey royal potatoes. Those among us who are not vegetarian also had chicken breasts stuffed with apricots, pine nuts, sage and oregano, wrapped in smoked bacon with tarragon cream sauce. Dessert comprised individual ameretto cherries and rich chocolate mousse cups, sherry trifle and strawberry tart followed by coffee and liqueurs. Also, cake for those who could manage it. Most settled for taking a portion home.

Requests by those guests not wanting to be publicised on the internet have been honoured. 

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