Today’s Kipling – King Henry VII and the Shipwrights

(Since I quoted part of it in a comment, I thought I ought to put in the whole thing.)

King Henry VII and the Shipwrights

Rudyard Kipling

HARRY, our King in England, from London town is gone
And comen to Hamull on the Hoke in the Countie of Suthampton.
For there lay the Mary of the Tower, his ship of war so strong,
And he would discover, certaynely, if his shipwrights did him wrong.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – The Ballad of Boh Da Thone

(Today I am in the mood for something that is politically, incorrect, a little gory, and funny.  Something like . . . )

The Ballad of Boh Da Thone

Rudyard Kipling

This is the ballad of Boh Da Thone,
Erst a Pretender to Theebaw’s throne,
Who harried the district of Alalone:
How he met with his fate and the V.P.P.*
At the hand of Harendra Mukerji,
Senior Gomashta, G.B.T.**... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – The Camel’s Hump

(I recently got into a discussion with some relatives about what happens when you lack any meaningful work. We all agreed that life gets real old fast when that happens. Which reminded me of this poem, which comes from Kipling’s Just So Stories.)

The Camel’s Hump

Rudyard Kipling

The Camel’s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – Philadelphia

(A poem that captures the delights of Pennsylvania past and present. This is another poem that accompanied one of Kipling’s short stories. While some aspects of “modern” Philadelphia are dated – does the Limited still run? – the things that truly last are all still in Pennsylvania this morning.)


Rudyard Kipling

“Brother Square-Toes”Rewards and Fairies.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – MacDonough’s Song

Kipling wrote science fiction. The book A Diversity of Creatures contained the story ” As Easy as A.B.C.”, set in 2065, when a universal government ruled the world. The story centers around the singing of a forbidden song, Macdonough’s Song, presented in full at the end of the story, and reproduced below. Read it now, while you can. If Kipling’s prediction is correct, it will be banned before the next 50 years.

MacDonough’s Song

 As Easy as A.B.C.

 Rudyard Kipling

Whether the State can loose and bind
In Heaven as well as on Earth:
If it be wiser to kill mankind
Before or after the birth–
These are matters of high concern
Where State-kept schoolmen are;
But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
Endeth in Holy War.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – The Explorer

Another favorite Kipling poem. I first encountered this in my teens, reading a science fiction novel whose title I now forget. One of the characters recited it.

I have occasionally amused myself trying to find out where the unnamed explorer in the poem started from. Since the poem was written in 1898 South Africa and the Cape Colonies would be a good bet. The geography does not fit, though. It does not seem to be Australia, either. The western US might be a better geographic match, but not culturally. I have concluded that the place existed only in Kipling’s mind, but as with so much of his poetry he gives it a reality.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – Song of Diego Valdez

(Note: Diego Valdez appears to be a fictional creation of Kipling. He seems real, but I cannot find any Spanish admiral from the Great Age of Sail with that name. It is another example of Rudyard Kipling bringing a character to life through the power of his words. This poem is one of my favorites. It speaks of the burdens of success.)

Song of Diego Valdez

1902... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – Mulholland’s Contract

Mulholland’s Contract

Rudyard Kipling

The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the sea,
An’ the pens broke up on the lower deck an’ let the creatures free —
An’ the lights went out on the lower deck, an’ no one near but me.

I had been singin’ to them to keep ’em quiet there,
For the lower deck is the dangerousest, requirin’ constant care,
An’ give to me as the strongest man, though used to drink and swear.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – The Mare’s Nest

(Sometimes the course of true love fails to run smoothly. . .)

The Mare’s Nest

Rudyard Kipling

Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.
He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced — but this she did not know.... [Read More]


Today’s Kipling – Norman and Saxon

Norman and Saxon

A.D. 1100

Rudyard Kipling

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.... [Read More]