"The New Knighthood"

"A Deal in Cotton"


(notes edited by John McGivering)



the poem
Publication

Published in Actions and Reactions (1908) where it follows "A Deal in Cotton". Collected in the Sussex Edition Vol. 8, page 19 and Vol. 43, page39, and in the Burwash Edition Vols. 8 and 27. It is also collected in Definitive Verse (p. 524), Inclusive Verse (p.511), The Works of Rudyard Kipling in The Wordsworth Poetry Library, (1994) and in the Cambtirge Edition of 2013. There are slight variations in the text.

The poem

When, in medieval times .a young man was to receive the honour of knighthood, he went through a ritual that Kipling has brought up to date – in this instance, perhaps a recruit to the Indian Civil Service. or a young army officer.

There is an extensive literature on the subject, from the earliest French romances, via Geoffrey of Monmouth (c 1100-1154) The Court of King Arthur, the novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) and the verses of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). See also "Weland’s Sword"and "Young Men at the Manor" in Puck of Pook's Hill.

Quinine in verse 7 is a drug against malaria prepared from the bark of the chinchona tree. (see Dr Sheehan's notes on the story).

Sir Galahad in the last line is one of King Arthur’s "Knights of the Round Table" whose exploits are set forth in Malory’s translation from the French of the Morte d’Arthur (c. 1469). He was a stainless knight, without flaw.


[J.McG.]

©John McGivering 2020 All rights reserved