Kipling and WW I

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jbuck919
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Kipling and WW I

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:09 pm

We have yet to come upon the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (November 11, 1918). I expect that it will barely be observed, though it remains one of the most important dates in history. Turning it into Veterans Day in the US does not do the trick, for we already have a day to honor the fallen. But I digress.

More than one production has been made of My Boy Jack. Masterpiece Theater once aired a production starring Daniel Radcliffe as Jack, which might explain why Harry Potter ended up addicted to cigarettes, because John Kipling was a heavy smoker from his teen years, and with his parents' cognizance in those days. For those who do not know, Rudyard Kipling, in spite of being as mediocre a writer as ever there was, enjoyed a huge reputation in his time. He was all but on a first-name basis with King George V. He went to the greatest lengths to get his extremely near-sighted son (sympathy here, for I have all my life suffered the same) into the army so he could serve in the war. It appears never to have occurred to either that the boy would simply die like so many others.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Kipling and WW I

Post by John F » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:30 pm

I shared your opinion of Kipling, at least of his poetry, but then I read essays by T.S. Eliot and Clive James praising him and that made me think again. (Kipling's fiction is another matter; as a boy I read the "Just So Stories," "The Jungle Book," and "Kim," and remember them as each first-rate of its own kind.) What is praised is Kipling's technique in verse, not the uses he put it to. The "Barrack-Room Ballads" with their relentless cockney colloquialism still rub me the wrong way, but they aren't all that Kipling has to offer. I enjoy his Wordsworth parody:

The Idiot Boy

He wandered down the moutain grade
Beyond the speed assigned--
A youth whom Justice often stayed
And generally fined.

He went alone, that none might know
If he could drive or steer.
Now he is in the ditch, and Oh!
The differential gear!
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Kipling and WW I

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:46 pm

I also read Kim but the work is best honored in the classic film of 1950 starring Errol Flynn and the young Dean Stockwell. There are numerous authors who are better served by films than by the reading, including, unfortunately, Dickens. Thomas Hardy was one of the two or three greatest English poets of his time, but he is only remembered for his immensely complicated novels, which are also best served in filming.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Kipling and WW I

Post by jserraglio » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:48 pm

Almost as famous as "If" (inscribed on a mural recently painted over by UK college students in Manchester) but famous for different reasons entirely:

Take up the White Man's burden —
Send forth the best ye breed —
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild —
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden —
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden —
The savage wars of peace —
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden —
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper —
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden —
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard —
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden —
Ye dare not stoop to less —
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden —
Have done with childish days —
The lightly profferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

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