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A Song to Mithras

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy; notes on A Song to Mithras at the Kipling Society]

A Song to Mithras is a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s book Puck of Pook’s Hill. Peter Bellamy sang it in 1989 on his album Rudyard Kipling Made Exceedingly Good Songs. He noted:

“Songs of Praise comes to you this week from a small fort on Hadrian’s Wall…”

A 1986 radio session recording from the Schofield Archive was included in 2006 on the Free Reed box set Midwinter.


A Song to Mithras

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
“Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!”
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour, now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh, take our sacrifice!
Many roads Thou hast fashioned: all of them lead to the Light!
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!