Words by : Rudyard Kipling
Tune by : Leslie Fish
Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good!" cried the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But iron, cold iron, is the master of them all."
So he made rebellion against the King, his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
"Nay," said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
"But iron, cold iron, shall be master of you all!"
Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong
When the cruel cannon-balls laid them all along.
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And iron, cold iron, was the master over all.
Yet his King spake kindly (ah how kind a lord!).
"What if I release thee now, and give thee back thy sword?"
"Nay!" said the Baron, "Mock not at my fall,
For iron, cold iron, is the master of men all."
"Tears are for the craven. Prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For iron, cold iron, must be master of men all."
Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!).
"Here is bread and here is wine -- Now sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's name, while I do recall
How iron, cold iron, can be master of men all!"
He took the wine and blessed it. He blessed and broke the bread.
With his own hands he served them, and presently he said:
"See! These hands they pierced with nails, outside my city wall,
Show iron, cold iron, to be master of men all!"
"Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong,
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason -- I redeem thy fall --
For iron, cold iron, must be master of men all!"
"Crowns are for the valiant, sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for the mighty men who dare to take and hold!"
"Nay!" said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
"But iron, cold iron, is the master of men all!"