notes on the text
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:
An image of his God in gold and pearl,In his next existence , a despised member of a poor community :
With turquoise diadem and and human eyes.
He hewed the living rock, with sweat and tears,In his succeeding incarnation, as a villager, .“He cut an idol from a fallen pine”, duly making a very primitive image. Lastly, a half-wit, living among cattle, he made a monstrous God out of dung and horns. In each case his patrons were immensely pleased, praised him loudly, brought him rewards; and if the cattle could no more than low at twilight-time, “He dreamed it was the clamour of lost crowds.' On each occasion, too, he was smitten with pride, and wrote or carved or scratched or howled:
And reared a God against the morning-gold,
A terror in the sunshine.
. ...thus Gods are madeFinally he came to Paradise, where he found his own four Gods, and was ashamed, marvelling 'What oaf on earth had made his toil God’s law'. But God mocked him kindly, telling Evarra that but for him he would be:
And whoso makes them otherwise shall die.
….the poorer by four wondrous Gods And thy more wondrous law, Evarra, Thine, Servant of shouting crowds and lowing kine ! ” Thereat, with laughing mouth, but tear-wet eyes. Evarra cast his Gods from Paradise.
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.]
I travelled among unknown men...A thought reflected in Kipling.s "The English Flag":
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor England did I know till then
What love I bore to thee
...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.
Counting his fingers, jesting with the trees[Line 57]
And mocking at the mist ...