This poem was first published in the Scots Observer on 4 October 1890.
It was collected in:
This poem reflects the young Kipling’s musings and speculations at this time—1890— when he had recently come to London from India to make his mark as a writer. See our notes on "The Conundrum of the Workshops”> with ts refrain: 'It’s pretty, but is it art ?.
The theme and some critical opinions
Bonamy Dobree (p.152) analyses the poem, and refers to it as:
A more puzzling one ... the best of his rare exercises in unrhymed verse ... Evarra was a man —Maker of Gods in lands beyond the sea'. First he was held in high esteem by a rich monarch, and he made:J M S Tompkins (p.20) also gives serious attention to the piece, though she regards it as “a wrong turning, like "The Lamentable Comedy of Willow Wood"... stodgy blank verse'. She later (p. 215) continues with her usual thoughtful observations:
Kipling had imagined man, the craftsman of gods, shaping his divinity in accordance with his circumstances. In four incarnations he shapes four different gods, to cast them our of Paradise with laughter when at last he comes there.Tompkins then refers to “The Bridge Builders” (The Day’s Work) noting acutely that Krishna reminds his brother-gods that it is man who gave them shape and nature. [One might allow oneself the blasphemous thought that Man created God in Man’s image: Ed.]
[Title] Where Kipling took this name from is not known. Evarra tlahuacensis is an extinct species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family. found only in Mexico, an unlikely provenance. See 'Evarra Eighenmanni', by John Walker, with the conclusions of his researches into the source of this elusive name, in KJ 317/59 .
lands betond the sea an echo of Wordsworth’s “I travelled among Unknown Men”:
I travelled among unknown men...A thought reflected in Kipling.s "The English Flag":
...what should they know of England who only England know ?See also Something of Myself Chapter 7, 'The Very-Own House', Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies, Michael Smith's Kipling’s Sussex, and Themes in Kipling’s Works in this Guide.
caravans in this context parties of horses, camels etc. carrying goods for sale; see “The Man who would be King” Wee Willie Winkie p. 216, for one forming up.
turquoises blue-green semi-precious stones, used as jewellery.
diadem a crown, usually of precious metal, worn on the head as a badge of authority.
caravans see line 5 above.
spoiled in thic context 'despoiled', 'looted'.
plinth the base on which stands a pillar, statue or other monument.
curds A cheese-like food made from milk.
one clot of blood Dr. Gillian Eheehan writes: 'Evarra appears to have had a type of stroke where a blood clot in his cerebral circulation cut off the blood supply to a part of his brain,thus causing brain damage and, in this case, making him go mad rather than causing paralysis. Hence people may have been afraid of him and stayed away from him. The madness is suggested by the facts that he is:
Counting his fingers, jesting with the trees[Line 57]
Plantain a plant of the family Plantago or perhaps the banana-like Musa paradisiaca with large leaves cultivated for its fruit.
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