Notes by Philip Holberton
John Radcliffe and Alastair Wilson
When Alfred, Lord Tennyson, died in October 1892 he had held the office of Poet Laureate for 40 years... In August 1892 Gladstone had become Prime Minister and, looking around for a successor to Tennyson, could find no one....Apart from any reflected glory from this reference by Kipling, he is now remembered mainly as the author of three lines from his parody of "Sister Helen" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "After Dilettante Concetti":
In March 1892, just before Tennyson's death, a well-known critic and historian, H. D. Traill, wrote an article for the Nineteenth Century on this very theme. He enumerated fifty contemporary writers in whose work he found some merit, but not one who could rank with the aged Tennyson.
Then, in a postscript, he apologised for having overlooked the muse of the new young man, Rudyard Kipling. For the sake of ' The Ballad of East and West', he awarded Kipling the 51st place on his list, and thus Kipling became 'a minor poet certified by Traill '.
My name is Used-to-was,Ferren MacIntyre writes: 'On the basis of nothing but some familiarity with Kipling's other works, I have always assumed that this was mild sarcasm, rather than bragging. I think Kipling knew perfectly well that his poetry would outlast Traill's undervaluing.
I am also called Played-out and Done-to-death,