The Ballad Of East And West "Never The Twain Shall Meet"
by Rudyard Kipling

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"Never The Twain Shall Meet"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The Ballad of East and West is essentially a tale of the similarity between two men; on the outside they are diametrically and inevitably at opposition; but the confrontation of two strong men places both on an equal footing. Kamal, a border-raider in India, steals the Colonel's horse to lure the English Colonel's son into his territory in search of the animal. The land through which the Colonel's son rides is Kamal's, and Kamal could have sealed the Colonel's son's doom simply by raising his hand, as Kamal's men are everywhere. When the two meet, however, Kamal sends his own son to return with the Colonel's son because of the latter's courage and nobility.

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and
never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's
great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border
nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
though they come from the ends of the earth!