Notes on the text
These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Limits and Renewals, as published and frequently reprinted between 1932 and 1950.
O Dura illa messorumThe Styx is one of the rivers of Hades across which Charon ferried the shades of the departed. Kipling suffered from a stomach ulcer for many years, and eventually died of it.
Oh Ye rigid guts of reapers!" I translate
For the great benefit of those who know
What indigestion is -- that inward fate
Which makes all Styx through one small liver flow.
A peasant's sweat is worth his lord's estate:
Let this one toil for bread -- that rack for rent,
He who sleeps best may be the most content.
["Don Juan", Canto the Ninth, XV]
The soul that cannot tell a lie – except upon the land ![Page 86 line 10] Nineveh was saved An echo of Jonah 4,11: 'that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand.' [Strictly, 'sixscore thousand' is 120,000 rather than the 'six hundred thousand' that Christopher Mervyn cited. But he was trying to excuse himself to his irate superior, and in any case Kipling was probably quoting from memory; Ed.]