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Now again, the sun and moon of that twentieth verse, Ben.’

Ben read: ‘”Non occidet ultra Sol tuus et Luna tua non minuetur: quia erit tibi Dominus in lucem sempiternam et complebuntur dies luctus tui.”

Will snatched the paper and read aloud from the Coverdale version. “‘Thy Sun shall never go down, and thy Moon shall not be taken away …… What a plague’s Coverdale doing with his blocking ets and urs, Ben? What’s minuetur? … I’ll have it all anon.’


This is from “Proofs of Holy Writ”, Kipling’s last story, which was only collected in the Sussex and Burwash editions.

Will Shakespeare and Ben Jonson are having a quiet glass of wine in an orchard. As George Engel writes in his notes on the story; it emerges that Shakespeare has been consulted by Miles Smith, one of the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible then under preparation, with a view to improving its English.

Thereupon Shakespeare and Jonson work over some verses of Isaiah which have been sent to Shakespeare in proof (“hand-pressed proofs on their lavish linen paper”) for his suggested amendments. Their discussion of the choice of words is at the heart of the story, which has been called “Kipling’s valedictory statement on art”.