This poem. listed in ORG as No. 969, was first published in 1911 in the Windsor Magasine as a three verse heading to the story "The Honours of War". It was omitted when the story was collected in A Diversity of Creatures in 1917.
It is collected in:
The poem, linked to the story of a farce with underlying seriousness, is a salty piece of worldly wisdom. The highest virtue is to save one's friend by risking oneself. The second is simply to save through wise advice. To save through a jest, as Stalky does in "The Honours of War", is lesser yet in virtue, says the poet, though perhaps better company, since '... there do the Angels resort!'. Kipling was a great believer in the saving power of mirth.
ŠJohn Radcliffe 2018 All rights reserved