Kipling: Poems

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-10-16
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library
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Beloved for his fanciful and engrossing children's literature, controversial for his enthusiasm for British imperialism, Rudyard Kipling remains one of the most widely read writers of Victorian and modern English literature. In addition to writing more than two dozen works of fiction, includingKimandThe Jungle Book, Kipling was a prolific poet, composing verse in every classical form from the epigram to the ode. Kipling's most distinctive gift was for ballads and narrative poems in which he drew vivid characters in universal situations, articulating profound truths in plain language. Yet he was also a subtle, affecting anatomist of the human heart, and his deep feeling for the natural world was exquisitely expressed in his verse. He was shattered by World War I, in which he lost his only son, and his work darkened in later years but never lost its extraordinary vitality. All of these aspects of Kipling's poetry are represented in this selection, which ranges from such well-known compositions as "Mandalay" and "If" to the less-familiar, emotionally powerful, and personal epigrams he wrote in response to the war.

Author Biography

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India to British parents on December 30, 1865. In 1871, Rudyard and his sister, Trix, aged three, were left to be cared for by a couple in Southsea, England. Five years passed before he saw his parents again. His sense of desertion and despair were later expressed in his story “Baa Baa, Black Sheep” (1888), in his novel The Light that failed (1890), and his autobiography, Something of Myself (1937). As late as 1935 Kipling still spoke bitterly of the “House of Desolation” at Southsea: “I should like to burn it down and plough the place with salt.”

At twelve he entered a minor public school, the United Services College at Westward Ho, North Devon. In Stalky and CO. (1899) the myopic Beetle is a self-caricature, and the days at Westward Ho are recalled with mixed feelings. At sixteen, eccentric and literary, Kipling sailed to India to become a journalist. His Indian experiences led to seven volumes of stories, including Soldiers Three (1888) and Wee Willie Winkie (1888).

At twenty-four he returned to England and quickly tuned into a literary celebrity. In London he became close friends with an American, (Charles) Wolcott Balestier, with whom he collaborated on what critics called a “dime store novel.” Wolcott died suddenly in 1891, and a few weeks later Kipling married Wolcott’s sister, Caroline. The newlyweds settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (1895), and most of Captains Courageous (1897). By this time Kipling’s popularity and financial success were enormous.

In 1899 the Kipling’s settled in Sussex, England, where he wrote some of his best books: Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902), and Puck of Pooks Hill (1906). In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize for literature. By the time he died, on January 18 1936, critical opinion was deeply divided about his writings, but his books continued to be read by thousands, and such unforgettable poems and stories as “Gunga Din,” “If,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” have lived on in the consciousness of succeeding generations.

Peter Washington is the editor of several Everyman's Library Pocket Poet anthologies, including Love Poems, Friendship Poems, and Poems of Mourning.

Table of Contents

When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre'p. 11
General Summaryp. 12
The Undertaker's Horsep. 14
The Story of Uriahp. 16
Public Wastep. 18
The Lovers' Litanyp. 21
Christmas in Indiap. 23
The Betrothedp. 26
The Winnersp. 31
Danny Deeverp. 32
Shillin' a Dayp. 35
Tommyp. 37
The Widow at Windsorp. 40
Gentlemen-Rankersp. 42
Gunga Dinp. 45
Mandalayp. 49
The English Flagp. 52
Arithmetic on the Frontierp. 58
'Wilful-Missing'p. 60
Giffen's Debtp. 62
Divided Destiniesp. 65
Cellsp. 67
The Exiles' Linep. 69
When Earth's Last Picture is Paintedp. 73
The Law of the Junglep. 74
Road-Song of the Bandar-Logp. 78
The Married Manp. 80
'For to admire'p. 83
Buddha at Kamakurap. 86
From The Jungle Bookp. 89
The Kingp. 90
The Ladiesp. 92
Recessionalp. 95
The White Man's Burdenp. 96
A School Songp. 99
The Two-Sided Manp. 102
Bridge-Guard in the Karoop. 103
The Islandersp. 107
The Broken Menp. 113
Sussexp. 116
Chant-Paganp. 120
Lichtenbergp. 123
Harp Song of the Dane Womenp. 125
'Rimini'p. 127
The Sons of Marthap. 129
The Explanationp. 132
The Answerp. 133
A Song of Travelp. 134
The Oldest Songp. 136
The Power of the Dogp. 137
The Puzzlerp. 139
Norman and Saxonp. 141
Song of the Wise Childrenp. 143
The Rabbi's Songp. 145
A Charmp. 147
Cold Ironp. 149
The Way Through the Woodsp. 151
Puck's Songp. 152
A Pict Songp. 154
Merrow Downp. 156
The Run of the Downsp. 158
Just So Versesp. 159
The Two Cousinsp. 168
'Cities and Thrones and Powers'p. 169
If -p. 170
'Our fathers of old'p. 172
The Female of the Speciesp. 175
The Roman Centurion's Songp. 179
Dane-Geldp. 181
The Glory of the Gardenp. 183
'For all we have and are'p. 186
'The Trade'p. 188
The Questionp. 190
My Boy Jackp. 192
Mesopotamiap. 193
The Deep-Sea Cablesp. 195
The Holy Warp. 196
Jobson's Amenp. 199
The Fabulistsp. 201
Justicep. 203
The Hyaenasp. 205
Gehazip. 207
En-Dorp. 209
Gethsemanep. 211
The Craftsmanp. 212
The Benefactorsp. 213
Natural Theologyp. 216
A Death-Bedp. 219
Epitaphs of the Warp. 221
The Gods of the Copybook Headingsp. 231
Doctorsp. 234
Lolliusp. 235
The Last Odep. 237
London Stonep. 238
The Flightp. 240
Chartres Windowsp. 242
A Legend of Truthp. 243
We and Theyp. 245
Untimelyp. 247
Gertrude's Prayerp. 248
The Thresholdp. 249
The Expertp. 252
Four-Feetp. 253
The Storm Conep. 254
The Appealp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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