The Five Nations, a collection of poems by English writer and poet Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), was first published in late 1903, both in the United Kingdom [1] and the U.S.A.[2] Some of the poems were new; some had been published before (notably "Recessional"" in 1897), sometimes in different versions.

Description edit

In 1903, the United Kingdom consisted of four nations: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was soon suggested that Kipling's "five nations" were the "five free nations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa [i.e. Cape Colony], and 'the islands of the sea' [i.e. the British Isles]" [3]—all dominated by Britons; and except in the last case, by recent settlers. That suggestion was endorsed some one hundred years later.[4]

In an early (1903) review, American critic Bliss Perry delicately called The Five Nations both "a notable collection" and "singularly restricted in range of interest".[3]

The poems edit

The poems are divided into two groups. The first is untitled, and covers a wide range of subjects. The second is titled "Service Songs", and mostly relates to the real or imagined experiences of common British soldiers around the turn of the 20th century.

The untitled group edit

  • "Dedication"
  • "The Sea and the Hills"
  • "The Bell Buoy"
  • "Cruisers"[Note 1]
  • "The Destroyers"[Note 2]
  • "White Horses"[Note 3]
  • "The Second Voyage"
  • "The Dykes"
  • "The Song of Diego Valdez"[Note 4]
  • "The Broken Men"
  • "The Feet of the Young Men"
  • "The Truce of the Bear"
  • "The Old Men"
  • "The Explorer"
  • "The Wage-Slaves"
  • "The Burial"
  • "General Joubert"[Note 5]
  • "The Palace"
  • "Sussex"[Note 6]
  • "Song of the Wise Children"
  • "Buddha at Kamakura"[Note 7]
  • "The White Man's Burden"
  • "Pharaoh and the Sergeant"
  • "Our Lady of the Snows"
  • "'Et Dona Ferentes'"
  • "Kitchener's School"[Note 8]
  • "The Young Queen"
  • "Rimmon"[Note 9]
  • "The Old Issue"
  • "Bridge-Guard in the Karroo"[Note 10]
  • "The Lesson"
  • "The Files"
  • "The Reformers"
  • "Dirge of Dead Sisters"
  • "The Islanders"
  • "The Peace of Dives"[Note 11]
  • "South Africa"
  • "The Settler"

Service Songs edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ A cruiser is a warship.
  2. ^ A destroyer is a warship.
  3. ^ White horses are wind-driven waves of the sea, crowned with white foam.
  4. ^ Diego Menéndez de Valdés [es] (1533–1596), Spanish conquistador.
  5. ^ An epitaph on Piet Joubert (1831/34 – 1900), Boer general.
  6. ^ Allegedly, the inspiration for the song "Sussex by the Sea".
  7. ^ Kamakura, Japan, known for its ancient Buddhist shrines.
  8. ^ Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener (1850–1916).
  9. ^ Rimmon, a Syrian deity mentioned in the Hebrew Bible at 2 Kings 5:18, usually equated to Baal.
  10. ^ Karroo, a semi-desert region of South Africa.
  11. ^ Dives, the rich man in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
  12. ^ M.I. were mounted infantry.
  13. ^ A kopje is an isolated rocky hill or outcrop in the South African plains.
  14. ^ Lichtenburg, South Africa.
  15. ^ Stellenbosch is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), it was a British military base. Officers who had failed to distinguish themselves in battle were posted there.
  16. ^ Waterval, South Africa.

References edit

  1. ^ Kipling, Rudyard (1903). The Five Nations. London: Methuen. ASIN B00TXCD0YY.
  2. ^ Kipling, Rudyard (October 1903). The Five Nations. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co. ASIN B00220I242.
  3. ^ a b Perry, Bliss (December 1903). "Mr. Kipling's Five Nations". The Atlantic. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ Hamer, Mary (6 August 2014). "The Five Nations: A note on the background". The Kipling Society. Retrieved 5 April 2017.

External links edit