| notes on the text
‘I think I should write some severe and drastic verses about the U.S. and the Revolution – verses lightly describing the French wars that saved America from France and then I shall mourn over America refusing to pay her share.’It is particularly worth comparing “Before” with another poem “The Neutral” (later changed to “The Question”) which Kipling wrote in 1916 as a rebuke to America for waiting for so long before joining the Allies in the First World War. For some further details of this, see Peter Keating, Kipling the Poet (1994), pp. 200-201.
Letters, III, 451.