Notes by John Radcliffe
and John McGivering
From every quarter of your landBackground
They give God thanks, whu turned away
Death, and the needy madman's hand ...
When Edward VII died in May 1910, Kipling pushed his friend R D Blumenfeld, editor of the Daily Express, to do a piece blaming the Liberals for the King’s death ... Blumenfeld wisely declined this extraordinary suggestion, and Kipling’s own fulsome tribute – “The Dead King” ... barely hinted at his more hysterical feelings.See KJ 101/15 for a letter from Col. A. E. Bagwell Purefoy on this theme.
I pass from the earlier ballads to mention a second category of Kipling’s verse; those poems which arise out of, or comment upon topical events. Some of these, such as “The Truce of the Bear” in the form of an apologue, do not aim very high. But to be able to write good verse to occasion is a very rare gift indeed: Kipling had the gift, and he took the obligation to employ it very seriously...
The poems on Canada and Australia, and the exequy on King Edward VII, are excellent in their kind, though not very memorable individually.
[an 'exequy' is a funeral procession or ceremony, an 'apologue' (from the Greek for 'statement' or 'account') is a fable or allegorical story with exaggerated detail to convey a lesson without stating it explicitly. The moral is more important than the narrative details. Ed.]