Wise Poets, Wise Poets of the Past

Rudyard Kipling: The Empire’s Anglo-Indian Writer

Rudyard Kipling: The Empire’s Anglo-Indian Writer

Rudyard Kipling: The Empire’s Anglo-Indian Writer

Indian born, British citizen Rudyard Kipling was an imperialist leaning writer which makes him controversial in our own post colonial times, but he was a wildly popular writer in his own time, For he wrote such endearing stories as “The Jungle Book” about a boy raised by wolves in the wild and charming poems about India such as” Mandalay” revealing the exotic Far East through the wide, beholding eyes of a British soldier in love with an oriental woman.Kipling was such an accomplished writer in his season that he was the first European to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907 and was the youngest man at the age of 41 to do so to date.

Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865 to an upper middle class family that had certain important connections that would later help him in his writing career, His father was John Lockwood Kipling. a renown artist in India who curated the Lahore Museum. Rudyard Kipling spent his early childhood in India, but at age 6 he and his younger sister were taken by their parents to England and placed in a foster home in order to be educated there, But unfortunately young Kipling was abused and neglected in that home, so his childhood cannot be described as anything less than wretched. Upon being freed from this abusive home by a kind, discerning great aunt, Kipling went onto finish his education in a rather second rate boarding school called United Services College in Devon, thus because of his lagging grades he was not accepted on a scholarship to attend Oxford, and his parents could not afford to pay his education there. So Kipling’s father pulled some strings to land his young son a job as an assistant editor on a local newspaper in Lahore, and thus young Kipling set sail for India on October 20, 1882 and his professional writing career commenced with India being his primary inspiration.

During his seven years of tenure at the newspaper, Kipling kept a journal. wrote short stories, novels and poems and became a prolific well rounded writer, and in 1889 he returned to England to live in London, the literary hub of the English speaking world where he was a success with his most famous novel entitled “Kim”. However he became more and more controversial among qriters having written a poem entitled “The White Man’s Burden” to encourage America’s imperialism during the Philippine/American War and as British imperialism began to diminish around the world. Kipling felt that the Anglo culture was the superior culture of the world with certain custodial responsibilities for the rest pf humanity as expressed in the following poem.

The White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed—

Go send 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—

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) to the light:

“Why brought ye us from bondage,

Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden-

Have done with childish days-

The lightly proffered 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!


The sentiments in this poem show Kipling as to have been a man who was destined to be left behind by time, and he died on January 18, 1936 ar age 70.

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