(Notes by David Richards)

The Author

Ernest Heminway (1899-1961) was a widely read American author, who – like Kipling – won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  He was famous for his laconic style, in such stories as To Have and Have Not, A Farewell to Arms, and The OIld Man and the Sea. 


In late August 1922, he sent the poem to the poet Ezra Pound, in the form of a letter over the signature:

   Rudyard Kipling, Hotel Loewen National,  Triberg,Baden,   Germany.




The Letter

The letter was typewritten, but the Kipling signature was in Hemingway’s hand.  He is, of course, parodying the opening lines of Kipling’s poem “Mandalay!”, and ENVOI, the concluding segment of a poem often summarizing the moral of the whole, is also the title of a poem not only by Kipling, but by Pound.

Hemingway is not especially remembered for his poetry[, but in January 1923, at the age of twenty-four, he was to publish six poems under the general title “Wanderings” in Poetry:

His poetry is collected in 88 Poems, edited with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis (New York and London: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, 1979), where these verses (at p. 54) have been titled, as they were not by Hemingway, “Kipling”.  Although he was great friends with the poet Archibald MacLeish, if they ever discussed Ernest’s poetry, the evidenced has not survived: See Mary V. Dearborn, Ernest Hemingway: A Biography (New York: Knopf, 2017) p. 110.


The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Vol. 1, 1907-1922, ed. Sara Spanier and Robert W. Trogdan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 350.

The editors explain that the lampoon is of Harold McCormick, a wealthy Chicagoan who recently had undergone a widely publicized “rejuvenating operation”, in a summer featuring reports from Paris that Russian doctor Serge Voronoff was experimenting with monkey glad transplants in humans, as well as reports of a romance between Polish opera singer Ganna Walska and McCormick. “Harold” is possibly Harold Acton, whose effeminacy Hemingway was to ridicule in the first chapter of this Paris memoir A Moveable Feast.