The ori­gins of “Lest we for­get”

Mansfield Courier - - Opinions / People Courier -

THE phrase “Lest we for­get” is from a poem by Rud­yard Ki­pling.

“Re­ces­sional” was writ­ten for Queen Vic­to­ria’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee in 1897, which cel­e­brated the 60th an­niver­sary of her reign.

The poem is well-known for the bib­li­cal phrase “Lest we for­get” re­peated through­out the poem which quickly became a main­stay of memo­ri­als and head­stones. Re­ces­sional:

God of our fa­thers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung bat­tle-line, Be­neath whose aw­ful Hand we hold Do­min­ion over palm and pine —

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we for­get — lest we for­get!

The tu­mult and the shout­ing dies;

The Cap­tains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine an­cient sac­ri­fice,

An hum­ble and a con­trite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we for­get — lest we for­get! Far-called, our navies melt away;

On dune and head­land sinks the fire:

Lo, all our pomp of yes­ter­day

Is one with Nin­eveh and Tyre!

Judge of the Na­tions, spare us yet,

Lest we for­get — lest we for­get!

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