Rudyard Kipling's Verse
Rudyard Kipling
Verse
17:01 h
Level 7
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work. The second collected edition of his Poems, the Inclusive Edition (1885–1918) was first published in 3 volumes in December 1919. A second impression came out in April 1920. Kipling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was among the United Kingdom's most popular writers. Henry James said "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius, as distinct from fine intelligence, that I have ever known." Following his death in 1936, his ashes were interred at Poets' Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey.

Rudyard Kipling's Verse

Inclusive Edition

1885-1918


Prelude

(To Departmental Ditties)

I have eaten your bread and salt.
I have drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I have watched beside,
And the lives ye led were mine.

Was there aught that I did not share
In vigil or toil or ease, —
One joy or woe that I did not know,
Dear hearts across the seas?

I
have written the tale of our life
For a sheltered people’s mirth,
In jesting guise — but ye are wise,
And ye know what the jest is worth.


A General Summary

We are very slightly changed
From the semi-apes who ranged
India’s prehistoric clay;
He that drew the longest bow
Ran his brother down, you know,
As we run men down to-day.

“Dowb,” the first of all his race,
Met the Mammoth face to face
On the lake or in the cave:
Stole the steadiest canoe,
Ate the quarry others slew,
Died — and took the finest grave.

When they scratched the reindeer-bone,
Some one made the sketch his own,
Filched it from the artist — then,
Even in those early days,
Won a simple Viceroy’s praise
Through the toil of other men.

Ere they hewed the Sphinx’s visage
Favouritism governed kissage,
Even as it does in this age.
Who shall doubt “the secret hid
Under Cheops’ pyramid”
Was that the contractor did
Cheops out of several millions?
Or that Joseph’s sudden rise
To Comptroller of Supplies
Was a fraud of monstrous size
On King Pharaoh’s swart Civilians?

Thus, the artless songs I sing
Do not deal with anything
New or never said before.
As it was in the beginning
Is to-day official sinning,
And shall be for evermore!


Army Headquarters

Old is the song that I sing —
Old as my unpaid bills —
Old as the chicken that kitmutgars bring
Men at dâk-bungalows — old as the Hills.

AHASUERUS JENKINS of the “Operatic Own,”
Was dowered with a tenor voice of super-Santley tone.
His views on equitation were, perhaps, a trifle queer.
He had no seat worth mentioning, but oh! he had an ear.

He clubbed his wretched company a dozen times a day;
He used to quit his charger in a parabolic way;
His method of saluting was the joy of all beholders,
But Ahasuerus Jenkins had a head upon his shoulders.