[March 8th 2020]
Published in the Pioneer, 15 August 1885, under the general heading BUNGALOW BALLADS, the first of this series of six. It is unsigned, but authenticated by its inclusion in Scrapbook 2 of Kipling's own press cuttings in the Kipling Papers at the University of Sussex Special Collections.
It was never collected by Kipling but is to be found in Rutherford (p. 257) and Pinney (p. 1734).
The "Bungalow Ballads"
In 1885, during the long summer at Simla, Kipling hit upon the notion of writing a series of comic verses for the Pioneer, the journal which had published most of his miscellaneous poetry of the previous winter and spring. He gave the series the title of "Bungalow Ballads" and saw them in print during the latter half of August.The Poem
Andrew Lycett (p. 113) in his Chapter 5 ("Special Correspondent") describes the "Bungalow Ballads" and recounts this poem:
Rudyard mocked gently at the hapless civil servants and army officers who surrounded him in Simla - men like the "pretty and pink" Rattleton Traplegh who was addicted to flirting with a Mrs Saphira Wallabie Smith.This was just the sort of trivial drama which might have occurred in the small intense social world of Simla, in which everyone knew everyone. Mrs Hauksbee and Mrs Mallowe would have gossiped over it at Peliti's cafe, and ladies and their husbands would have recognised it and chuckled as they read Kipling's poem in their own bungalows. Lycett goes on to make an interesting point about his poems at this time (p 114 ):
If Rudyard's poems had a lilting musical beat, this was because he often conceived them as melodies and sang as he wrote. He himself noted how this tendency was enhanced in India, where Europeans had a tradition of verse-making which stretched back to the young factors and writers in the early days of the East India Company and which was perpetuated in the assortment of tuneful stanzas published in Indian papers under pseudonyms like 'Latakia' and 'Cigarettes'.
Rattleton Traplegh Cornell uses this as an example of Kipling’s giving his comic characters ludicrous Dickensian names.
J—ko Jakko, the hill above Simla, encircled by a road which made a favourite evening ride.
B—e Boileaugunge, the western area of Simla.
©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved