Notes by John McGivering
and John Radcliffe
... in his poignant poem “The Exiles’ Line”, Kipling recognised the degree of self-sacrifice required of such families. An official knew he would spend most of his career in India while his children were at school or in the care of governesses in England, and his parents had retired to Eastbourne or somewhere else on the south coast.Meryl Macdonald (p. xiv) considers Kipling’s early voyages to and from India, observing that when he embarked after leaving school:
… he had already made the voyage three times: four if you count his parents’ honeymoon trip to Bombay when he first managed to make his presence felt aboard ship by putting the pregnant Alice Kipling off sea-travel for the rest of her life.Meryl Macdonald notes (p. 89) that on his voyage home in 1889 via Japan and America with Professor and Mrs. Hill, it seems that Kipling:
... finishes a P & O ballad “The Exiles’ Line” and is ‘sociable’ in Tokyo and Yokohama, (From which we must assume that in Carrie’s opinion her new husband is not always so disposed.)See also:
All persons should report on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea.fore in this context the foremast.
This uninhabited island[Verse 4]
Is near Cape Gardafui:
But it's hot - too hot - off Suez
For the likes of you and me.
Ever to go in a P. & O.
To call on the Cake Parsee.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,[Verse 12]
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
My salad daysKensington is a pleasant residential area of West London where Kipling had family connections.
When I was green in judgement...
You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:chain-gangs groups of prisoners chained together to work - building roads, digging ditches or chipping stone etc. The system existed mainly in the United States, but had been phased out nationwide by 1955. There was a brief revival in the 1990s but it is believed that chain gangs now exist only in one county in Arizona.
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like moulten lead.
'... there is some reason to think that RK found the P.& O. slow. The evidence is the uncollected and untitled poem beginning "It was a ship of the P&O." This was written on RK's slow voyage from Adelaide to Colombo on the S.S. Valetta of the P.&O., 25 November-10 December 1891.gird in this context to gibe or jeer – probably in complaint
The poem tells how the ship progressed at 10.3 knots and never did reach its destination, after untold years had passed, and at the end they found themselves still outside Adelaide. The manuscript of the poem is in the Library of Congress.'