Cold Iron (poem)

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Cold Iron is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling. Like many of Kipling's works, it has a strong moral and religious message. The poem tells of a rebellion by a baron who fails, but is ultimately forgiven by his king, who turns out to be an allegory of Jesus Christ.

Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid —
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of them all."

The baron then goes on to rebel against the king. He is defeated, but the king (who turns out to be Christ himself), forgives him, and the poem ends with the baron's repentance.

Crowns are for the valiant — sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!
"Nay!" said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
"But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!"

The poem was published in Rewards and Fairies in 1910 as the introduction to a story of the same name.

The poem Cold Iron is also a rhythm poem. It has an A A and B B rhythm at the end of every two lines, except for the last three lines of the poem, which has a C C C rhythm to it. Rhythm poetry is the way the words flows with the poem.

In 1983, Leslie Fish set the poem to music and recorded it as the title track on her fifth cassette-tape album. In 1996, the song was nominated for a Pegasus Award for "Best Spiritual Song" by a ballot of science fiction and fantasy fans, conducted by the committee of the annual Ohio Valley Filk Fest (OVFF), a filk music convention.[1] The album has since been re-released three times, most recently in a compact disc version produced by Random Factors and available for sale on Fish's website.[2]


  1. ^ "Pegasus Awards - Cold Iron". Ohio Valley Filk Fest. Ohio Valley Filk Fest, Inc. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Fish, Leslie. "Leslie Fish - CDs". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 

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