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Prophets at Home

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy; notes on Prophets at Home at the Kipling Society]

Prophets at Home is a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s book Puck of Pook’s Hill. Peter Bellamy sang it on his second album of songs set to Kipling’s poems, Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye. He noted:

From the story of Hal o’ the Draft comes this piece of witty moralising in reference to the apathy of his neighbours to the talents of a mediaeval master-mason.


Prophets at Home

Prophets have honour all over the Earth,
Except in the village where they were born,
Where such as knew them boys from birth
Nature-ally hold ’em in scorn.

When Prophets are naughty and young and vain,
They make a won’erful grievance of it;
(You can see by their writings how they complain),
But Oh, ’tis won’erful good for the Prophet!

There’s nothing Nineveh Town can give
(Nor being swallowed by whales between),
Makes up for the place where a man’s folk live,
Which don’t care nothing what he has been.
He might ha’ been that, or he might ha’ been this,
But they love and they hate him for what he is.