Censored Rudyard Kipling Poems

Discussion in 'Education' started by William Joyce, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. William Joyce

    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

    Jan 23, 2004
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    Rudyard Kipling's "The Children's Song" The first two stanzas of that poem are:

    Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
    Our love and toil in the years to be;
    When we are grown and take our place,
    As men and women with our race.
    Father in Heaven who lovest all,
    Oh help Thy children when they call;
    That they may build from age to age,
    An undefiled heritage.

    There are many other Kipling poems, equally
    dangerous, which have been deleted from every
    edition of his works published since the Second
    World War. Here are three of them:

    A Song of the White Men

    Now, this is the cup the White Men drink
    When they go to right a wrong,
    And that is the cup of the old world's hate --
    Cruel and strained and strong.
    We have drunk that cup -- and a bitter, bitter cup
    And tossed the dregs away.
    But well for the world when the White Men drink
    To the dawn of the White Man's day!

    Now, this is the road that the White Men tread
    When they go to clean a land --
    Iron underfoot and levin overhead
    And the deep on either hand.

    We have trod that road -- and a wet and windy road
    Our chosen star for guide.
    Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread
    Their highway side by side!

    Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold When they build
    their homes afar --
    "Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons
    And, failing freedom, War. "
    We have proved our faith -- bear witness to our faith, Dear
    souls of freemen slain!
    Oh, well for the world when the White Men join
    To prove their faith again!

    The Stranger

    The Stranger within my gate,
    He may be true or kind,
    But he does not talk my talk -- I cannot feel his mind.
    I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
    But not the soul behind.

    The men of my own stock
    They may do ill or well,
    But they tell the lies I am wonted to.
    They are used to the lies I tell,
    And we do not need interpreters
    When we go to buy and sell.

    The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
    But I cannot tell what powers control
    What reasons sway his mood;
    Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.

    The men of my own stock,
    Bitter bad they may be,
    But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
    And see the things I see;
    And whatever I think of them and their likes
    They think of the likes of me.

    This was my father's belief
    And this is also mine:
    Let the corn be all one sheaf --
    And the grapes be all one vine,
    Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
    By bitter bread and wine.

    Song of the Fifth River

    When first by Eden Tree,
    The Four Great Rivers ran,
    To each was appointed a Man
    Her Prince and Ruler to be.

    But after this was ordained,
    (The ancient legends tell),
    There came dark Israel,
    For whom no River remained.

    Then He Whom the Rivers obey
    Said to him: "Fling on the ground
    A handful of yellow clay,
    And a Fifth Great River shall run,
    Mightier than these Four,
    In secret the Earth around;
    And Her secret evermore,
    Shall be shown to thee and thy Race."

    So it was said and done.
    And, deep in the veins of Earth,
    And, fed by a thousand springs
    That comfort the market-place,
    Or sap the power of Kings,
    The Fifth Great River had birth,
    Even as it was foretold
    The Secret River of Gold!

    And Israel laid down
    His sceptre and his crown,
    To brood on that River bank,
    Where the waters flashed and sank,
    And burrowed in earth and fell,
    And bided a season below,
    For reason that none might know,
    Save only Israel.

    He is Lord of the Last --
    The Fifth, most wonderful, Flood.
    He hears Her thunder past
    And Her Song is in his blood.
    He can foresay: "She will fall,"
    For he knows which fountain dries
    Behind which desert-belt
    A thousand leagues to the South.

    He can foresay: "She will rise."
    He knows what far snows melt
    Along what mountain-wall
    A thousand leagues to the North.
    He snuffs the coming drouth
    As he snuffs the coming rain.
    He knows what each will bring forth,
    And turns it to his gain.

    A ruler without a Throne,
    A Prince without a Sword,
    Israel follows his quest.
    In every land a guest,
    Of many lands a lord,
    In no land King is he.
    But the Fifth Great River keeps
    The secret of Her deeps
    For Israel alone,
    As it was ordered to be.
  2. midcan5

    midcan5 liberal / progressive

    Jun 4, 2007
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    Philly, PA
    He should have followed his own advice.

    "I keep six honest serving men
    (They taught me all I knew);
    Their names are What and Why and When
    And How and Where and Who." Rudyard Kipling
  3. editec

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Jun 5, 2008
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    Kipling was a man of his time, no doubt, and his poetry reflected the values of that time.

    And if they're editing his works now, to make him appear to be something he was not, that is WRONG! WRONG! TOTALLY AND ENTIRELY WRONG!

    It is liberal kneejerking revisionism of the worst order, and had if the power, I would strip the academic and publishing credentials of any person -- however pure his motives -- who would rob that man (or any author, for that matter) of his or her TRUE voice.

    FWIW, I think this is truly one of the finest poems Kipling ever wrote.

    It is racist? Clearly it is.

    Does it offend me? Of course not. And it should not offend anyone now, either, regardless of their race, ethnic or poltical persuasion.

    This poem is history, and attempting to clean up literary history to make it more palatable to modern sensibilities is a crime against literature AND humanity.

    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  4. Bootneck

    Bootneck Diamond Member

    Aug 6, 2008
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    Well said. I couldn’t agree more. Kipling was one of the truly great English writers and he remains to this day the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel prize for literature. His works are unsurpassed in interpreting the experiences of empire at that time and as well as being a historic record of the times, are part of our British heritage.

    The fact that his works are being censored is just another example of a subtle, top-down pressure by bleeding heart liberalists to make history palatable for certain ethnic minorities. A blatant case of plundering the past to bolster policies for integration and inclusion.

    There may well be indigenous aspects of British history and identity that are not comforting for disparate communities today, but history is not an all-purpose balm to soothe the birth pangs of modern society and it does everyone a disservice - established and migrant communities alike.

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