If and when the strike ends have you reflected on the automatic nemesis that awaits It is the end of Labour either way. Caesar has come to his triumph and will die in it. But it is also the end of coal as a prime necessity. They have made all the minds of a nation active by causing bodily discomfort and have thereby supplied the very strongest possible stimulus to invention that even a Tyrant could have conceived. Consequently, over and above the bending of thou- sands of men's energies towards the discovery of more oil, the development of existing supplies, the refurnacing of ships, thousands more will pick up (with the dogwhips of Pain, Fear and Hate behind 'em) the old unresolved but not insoluble problem of harnessing the tides.As Angus Wilson suggests (p. 233), this prophesy of the decline of coal is echoed in the penultimate verse of the poem:
All Power, each Tyrant, every MobCritical comments
Whose head has grown too large,
Ends by destroying its own job
And works its own discharge;
The poem is concerned mainly with the inability of Art to deal satisfactorily with the terrible suffering created by political tyrants.Bonamy Dobrée (p. 146), who sees the poem as a prophetic fable, writes:
Fables are necessarily stories - or they would not please at all; they would merely be tedious sermons. All stories worthy of the name are partly fables, in that they contain an idea - otherwise they are no more than anecdotes. The `point' of a story is its revelation of, or singling out of, some characteristic of human nature or behaviour; its moral is applicable to our daily doings. The `idea' of a fable goes beyond the local or immediate; its theme is universal. But it is impossible to draw a clear line between the two...See also John McGivering's notes on the uncollected srory “The Benefactors” (July 1912), also a political fable concerned with the labour unrest of the time.
Kipling puts the case against fiction most plainly at the head of "The Benefactors", which attempts to go deeper than the nakedness of Nature.
Ah! What avails the sceptred race!classic bent Classical studies of ancient Greece and Rome.
Ah,what the form divine!
What every virtue,every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.