(notes edited by John McGivering and John Radcliffe, with advice on issues of Heraldry and Armory from Melvyn Jeremiah, former Secretary of the Heraldry Society, and drawing on the notes by Reginald Harbord, Editor of the ORG, also a member of the Heraldry Society)
We have taken the liberty of illustrating Kipling's text with representations of the blazons he suggests.
In 1917, in the thick of the First World War, Rudyard Kipling wrote for the Spectator an article entitled, "A Displaie of New Heraldrie", purporting to be by John Guillim and in a convincing imitation of his style.The remainder of Scott-Giles's article is well worth reading.
Kipling suggested that the part taken in the War by various countries of the British Empire should be commemorated by honourable augmentations to their arms. He devised a number of coats representing the various theatres of war, with the idea that each state within the Empire should add to its arms an escutcheon on which would be marshalled the coats appropriate to the fronts on which its troops had fought, within a bordure azure charged with gold lymphads.
...Heraldry is History's shorthand, though abominably neglected ... almost everything there is can be translated or conventionalised into heraldic terms...The heading of his article is quite different from Guillim's Preface, so this must be Kipling's own Preface for his "sequel". Whether he mis-spelt the author’s name accidentally or on purpose is open to question. To support his fiction that this is a work of Guillim, he uses mock 17th century spelling throughout. This is, however, usually comprehensible to the modern reader.
(see Letters of Rudyard Kipling, vol vi. )
JOHN GUILLIM was of Welsh extraction, but born  in [Herefordshire]; and became a pursuivant of arms...but most eminent for his methofdical Display of Heraldrie (confusion being formerly the greatest difficulty therein); shewing himself a good logician in his exact divisions, and no bad philosother, noting the natures of all creatures given in arms, joining fancy and reason therein.This is not, of course, a view that Kipling, whose industry dug and dived and flew in all directions, and who much relished sharing his knowledge of mysteries with his readers, would have subscribed to. Nor—indeed—would it be congenial to the many industrious contributors to this Guide to his Works. It certainly suggests that Guillim was a most worthy model for him—and for us. [We are indebted to George Engle, who possesses a treasured copy of John Guillim's book, for drawing our attention to this tribute to him: Eds.]
Besides his travelling all over the earth in beasts, his industry diggeth into the ground in pursuit of the properties of precious stones, diveth into the water in quest of the qualities of fishes, flieth into the air after the nature of birds, yea mounteth to the very skies about stars...and planets, their use and influence. In a word, he hath unmysteried the mystery of heraldry, insomuch that one of his own faculty thus discanteth (in the rwilight of jest and earnest) on his performance:
But let me tell you, this will be the harm,
In arming others you yourself disarm;
Our art is now anatomized so,
As who knows not what we ourselves do know?
Our corn in others' mill is ill apaid:
'Sic vos non vobis* may to us be said.
(*thus you serve others, not yourselves)
Heraldry - or, to be more exact in this sense, Armory - probably originated in the pretty fancy of the feudal warrior to decorate his shield. With the growth of that habit came the desire to apply it to the identification of individuals, who in those days were quite unrecognizable on the field of battle clad in armour which closed them in from head to foot. From there it was but a step to invent symbols which would have something in common for kinsmen and yet provide certain differences to distinguish individuals. Having got so far, the need arose to display feudal ties, and eventually a most ingenious system came into being whereby the knight's coat-armour would tell the initiated at a glance almost the whole of his family history and connections ! To do this was, in short, the problem which heraldry was devised to solve...Kipling was clearly greatly interested by the intricacies of heraldry as a way of conveying complex ideas and relationships, at a time when literacy was largely confined to clerks and clerics. He was also well aware of the significance of heraldry in war, as was his friend Conan Doyle, who in his Sir Nigel, about a 14th century squire, describes the scene in Calais Castle, where after a hard skirmish with the French, King Edward III was feasting with his knights:
Over the principal table drooped a line of banners, and beneath them rows of emblazoned shields upon the wall carried the arms of the high noblemen who sat beneath. The red light of cressets and of torches burned upon the badges of the great captains of England. The lions and lilies shone over the high dorseret chair in the centre, and the same august device marked with the cadency label indicated the seat of the prince, while glowing to right and to left were the long lines of noble insignia honoured in peace and terrible in war. There shone the gold and sable of Manny, the engrailed cross of Suffolk, the red chevron of Stafford, the scarlet and gold of Audley, the blue lion rampant of the Percies, the silver swallows of Arundel, the red roebuck of the Montacutes, the star of the de Veres, the silver scallops of Russell, the purple lion of de Lacy, and the black crosses of Clinton...
[The ORG notes, on which we have been glad to draw, were almost certainly written by Reginald Harbord, a Founder-Member. President and holder of other offices in the Kipling Society, who died in 1977 aged 91; see (KJ 204/16). He financed and edited ORG, was a members of the Heraldry Society, and founded The Orders and Medals Research Society in 1942: Ed,]
'I think Kipling is referring to line 12 of Satire lll in Book I of Horace's Satires, which includes the words 'reges atque tetrarchas' (kings and rulers of provinces).The passage in which the words occur describes various kinds of unbalanced behaviour exhibited by the Sardinian singer Tigellius. After talking in lordly tones about kings and princes, 'All I ask is a three-legged table,' he'd say , 'clean salt in a shell, and a coat, however coarse, to keep out the cold.' (Niall Rudd's Penguin Translation, 1987).(See ORG Vol. 3, p.1633, KJ 224/31, and Kipling’s Horace, edited by Charles Carrington, Methuen, 1978.
This reference is a bit rough and ready, but it obviously refers to changing the subject; and this is confirmed by the words 'let us bourse', since the noun 'bourse' (never used as a verb) meant in Guillim's day an exchange or place of meeting for merchants and in modern French means a stock-exchange.
Kipling quotes Horace a number of times in the 'Stalky' stories. and contributed six "Horatian" Odes (in English) to a spoof 5th Book of Horace's Odes in which they appeared in the guise of English versions of the Latin text, which in reality had been translated from Kipling's originals.[G.E.]
The “Order of the Golden Fleece” was founded in Bruges in 1430 by Duke Philip III of Burgundy “the Good” (1396-1467) to celebrate his marriage to the Infanta Isabella (or “Isabel”) of Portugal.Bruges capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, invaded by Germany in 1914. Much of the Western Front fighting of World War I involving the British took place within western Belgium and north-eastern France.
The Order is believed to have been modelled on the English Order of the Garter founded by Edward III in 1344. The Order of the Golden Fleece, however, has split in two since its foundation, one being in the gift of the Kings of Spain and the other in the gift of the Imperial House of Habsburg-Lorraine (previously Emperors of Austria). Both lay reasonable claim to be the legitimate successors of the Burgundian Founder (the genealogy is highly complicated) but the Austrian contenders have all the Treasure of the Order.
It is rather strange that Kipling should have fastened upon this Order as the symbol of 'the Western War' and even more quaint that he should appear to back the claim to the Order by the Belgians, which is generally regarded as wholly unfounded and not entertained by anyone else! Another example, perhaps, of Kipling’s aversion to anything German. Both the Spanish King and the Head of the House of Habsburg continue to make appointments to the Order. [M.J.]