Rudyard Kipling, Three Imperial Poems
Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 in Mumbai India. He was a hugely successful novelist
and poet, and the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1907). He
worked as a novelist in India in the 1880s until he was fired in 1889. He then returned to
London, where he had his first literary success with “The Ballad of East and West,” but
his collection of short stories
The Jungle Book
(1894) made him an international
superstar. Kipling wrote “The White Man’s Burden” in 1897 to celebrate Queen
Victoria’s diamond jubilee, but decided “Recessional” would be more appropriate. He
eventually published “The White Man’s Burden” in the American magazine
in 1899, with the subtitle “The United States and the Philippine Islands.”
The Ballad of East and West
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!
Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride.
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
"Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?"
Then up and spoke Mohammed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar:
"If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai, at dawn he is into Bonair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.
But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen."
The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,
With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell and the head of the gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat,