(notes by Roger Ayers)
...Danny Deever’ appeared in [Henley’s] Scots Observer on 22 February  and astonished the critics. According to legend, it made Henley stand up and dance on his wooden leg, while Professor Masson, the grave commentator on Milton, waved the paper before his delighted students, crying: ‘Here’s Literature! Here’s Literature at last!’ [Charles Carrington]
(Of) … four or five masterpieces … the most poetical, in the sense of being the most imaginative and heightened in expression, is ‘Danny Deever’.” [Lionel Johnson in The Academy, Vol XLI, 28 May 1892]
Danny Deever alone is a masterpiece hard to parallel. … the humour adds awful force to the tragedy so wonderfully told. [Letters to Eminent Hands; to whit, Andrew Lang and others, by ‘i’ (Gleeson White), F. Murray, Derby, 1892]
The Barrack Room volume does indeed contain verse for which ‘splendid’ is the only term – so radiantly it glitters with the incrustations of barbaric words. It has genius in it, of course, in the grim effectiveness (for example) of ‘Danny Deever’. [Arthur T Quiller-Couch (‘Q’), quoted in Kipling, The Critical Heritage, Ed. Roger Lancelyn Green, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1971]
One of the most interesting exercises in the combination of heavy beat and variation of pace is found in ‘Danny Deever’, a poem which is technically (as well as in content) remarkable. The regular recurrence of the same end-words, which gain immensely by imperfect rhyme (parade and said), gives the feeling of marching feet and the movement of men in disciplined formation – in a unity of movement which enhances the horror of the occasion and the sickness which seizes the men as individuals; and the slightly quickened pace of the final lines marks the change in movement and music. [A Choice of Kipling’s Verse, T.S. Eliot, Faber and Faber, London, 1941]
“… a masterpiece of eerie terror.” Lord David Cecil (Professor of English Literature at Oxford, 1948-70), quoted by R.E. Harbord in the Kipling Journal No. 110, July 1954.
… that macabre masterpiece, ‘Danny Deever’ … [Lord Birkenhead]Background to the poem