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Saturday, June 20. 2015
The Ballad of East and West
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet
Rest of his poem below on Continuation page
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
"Do good to bird and beast,
their men on the garnered grain,
"I hold by the blood of my clan:
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interesting choice for this saturday's verse!
In 1942, George Orwell maintained that 'Kipling is the only English writer of our time who has added phrases to the language'. Of the six examples Orwell gives in support of his assertion, the first is 'East is East, and West is West'.
Not only is this undoubtedly one of Kipling's most famous and memorable phrases, it is also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood. Kipling's biographer Charles Carrington wrote that 'no lines of Kipling's have been more freely quoted, and more often misquoted in exactly the opposite sense which Kipling gave the
Kipling really wrote songs, not poetry. This song is about courage.
My candidate for most frequently misused quotes: "Good fences make good neighbors." RF meant it ironically.
I really mean honor, not courage. A Kipling version of Stagger Lee.
well, really kipling wrote ballads. ballads just tend to be set to music and told in song. the hybrid ballad form he created is arguably his greatest contribution to the literary heritage of england. blah blah blah the appeal transcended barriers of class and edcucation and blah blah blah.
Songs, ballads. OK, OK. I know he would sing them outloud, like a latter-day Homer. I can hardly imagine it.
my candidate for most misinterpreted poem: the road not taken. RF was making fun of his friend edward thomas.
who was it called second marriges "the triumph of hope over experience"?
Have seen it before but am only calling it now. Passages shouldn't be used as one's own and lifted without citation or quotation marks, such as the following:
"Writing in 1942, George Orwell maintained that 'Kipling is the only English writer of our time who has added phrases to the language'. Of the six examples Orwell gives in support of his assertion, the first is 'East is East, and West is West'.
"Not only is this undoubtedly one of Kipling's most famous and memorable phrases, it is also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood. Kipling's biographer Charles Carrington wrote that 'no lines of Kipling's have been more freely quoted, and more often misquoted in exactly the opposite sense which Kipling gave them'."
This was the part I recognized:
"'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive:
There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,
But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,
The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:
If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,
The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly."
the death of Kipling's son John in WW1 might have tempered him, anyway, I find his later works more interesting, e.g., The Gardner.
of course, it never occurred to him to ask why did the British maintain a garrison on the Indian frontier in the first place.
Not my fave and I love Kipling.
"The White Man's Burden" is more significant for us (it was his case for the US to administer the Philippines) and "Tommy" speaks for itself.
Sentimental slob that I am, "Gunga Din" is the one I never forget.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone—
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals,
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
From the Orwell essay:
'Although he had no direct connexion with any political party, Kipling was a Conservative, a thing that does not exist nowadays. Those who now call themselves Conservatives are either Liberals, Fascists or the accomplices of Fascists. He identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition. In a gifted writer this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality. The ruling power is always faced with the question, "In such and such circumstances, what would you do?", whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions. Where it is a permanent and pensioned opposition, as in England, the quality of its thought deteriorates accordingly.'