First published in Debits and Credits as an introduction to the story “The Janeites” .
Like “"To the Companions” , this is another of Kipling’s poems in imitation of the Roman poet Horace. In the accompanying story, an ex-soldier tells how important Jane Austen’s works were to a group of men serving on the western front in World War I. It illustrates the fact that her lasting reputation is due to her lifelike portraits of everyday characters, their lives and their relationships. This poem is full of allusions (with interesting variations) to Horace: see below.
A critical opinion
Desmond McCarthy, writing as “Affable Hawk” in the New Statesman, 6th October 1926, p. 15, quoted the poem in full:
“because it is the expression of an imaginative sense of proportion which is characteristic of the author, though critics who consider him first and foremost as a bard of Empire overlook that fact.”
[Page 145, lines 5-6] Kings mourn … foretold This might be compared with Odes Book IV, 9, lines 25ff:
"Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona[Page 145, lines 11-4] Yet furthest …seaweed on the shore Carrington in Kipling’s Horace (page 107) compares these lines to Odes Book III, 17, “Aeli vetusta”: e.g.:
“alga litus inutili[Page 145, line 18] A rage ’gainst love or death This would suit many of Horace’s odes.
[Page 145, line 19] Glazed snow … But these Carrington (p. 107) compares this verse to Odes I, 9, “Vides ut alta.” But cf. also Odes III, 10, lines 7-8:
“positas ut glaciet nivesKipling parodied this ode in the margin of his copy of Horace [Carrington, p. 19].
[Page 145, line 20] The surge of storm-bound trees Cf. Odes I, 9:
©Lisa Lewis, Susan Treggiari 2005 All rights reserved