(notes by John McGivering)
... it has an interest of another kind, for it is his first tilt at the young Kaiser Wilhelm who was to become his personal devil. But, curiously, the poem antedates his identification of Germany as the inevitable enemy of Anglo-Saxon world order ... in 1890, the young Emperor, taking on the dismissed Bismarck’s paternalistic labour role, made an international appeal to working men to aid their weaker brethren ...Charles Carrington writing of the Kaiser's aims in 1898 (p. 275), notes:
The working men of the world, as Kipling portrays it, seem unlikely to respond to this dangerous Utopian appeal, the further weakening of self-reliance ... In short, the common sense and pragmatism of working women the world over saved the day ...
Germany declared her policy of naval rivalry with Britain by the new Naval Law, and in Kipling’s eyes it was sea-power that counted most. He had satirized the Kaiser in an early Ballad (“An Imperial Rescript, 1890) and continued to regard his political vagaries with contempt. At this time Rudyard mistrusted the continental states The well-intentioned moves of the Czar (of Russia) towards a general treaty of arbitration and disarmament a few months later, provoked this fierce satireGermany’s naval programme is reported in The Times of 15 October, 1885. David Gilmour (p. 95) attributes Kipling’s views to his elders in Lahore where:
Make ye no peace with Adam-zad, the Bear that looks like a man! [“The Truce of the Bear” 1898]
... he had listened to the conservative views of his father and other members at the Punjab Club and he had come to share most of them, especially his elders’ identification of the internal enemies of the Empire, socialists, Irish nationalists, Gladstonian Liberals. The first two categories quickly joined the third in the list of the poet’s targets. At the end of Barrack-Room Ballads “An Imperial Resvcript” takes a tilt at socialism while “Cleared” opens his polemics against the Irish.For Kipling's views on socialism, see "A Walking Delegate" in The Day's Work, and "The Mother HIve" in Actions and Reactions.. For his later view of the Kaiser see his savage war-time poem “A Death-Bed” , in which the disease he imagines the Kaiser to be suffering from is the cancer that had carried off Kaiser Frederick in 1888 and brought him to the throne. (In fact Kaiser Wilhelm lived on until June 1941.)
Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for themselves ... And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof.Kipling's point is that contrary to Pharaoh, the Kaiser was trying to regulate the toil of the workers fairly.
With a michnai—ghignai—shtingal! Yah! Yah! Yah!In “In the Rukh” (Many Inventions) Muller’s accent is probably also based on Leland’s verses.
Ein—zwei—drei—Mutter! Yah! Yah! Yah!
She climbed upon der shteeple,
Und she frighten all der people,
Singin’ michnai—ghignai—shtingal! Yah! Yah!
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou. shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.[Verse 10]
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, Saying Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life ... in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread till thou return into the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust thou return.