“His Apologies”

(Notes by John McGivering)

Publication history

Published in Hearst’s International combined with Cosmopolitan Magazine April 1932, Pearson’s Magazine, May 1932 and collected, with slight amendments, in Inclusive Verse, Definitive Verse, the Sussex Edition Volume 35 page 288, the Burwash Edition, Volume 28, Collected Dog Stories, Thy Servant a Dog and other Dog Stories (in its various versions) and The Works of Rudyard Kipling (Wordsworth Poetry Library.


For titles which include “Dogs” see the Notes on the story “Thy Servant a Dog” and other items in Thy Servant a Dog and Other Dog Stories, and “The Dog Hervey” in A Diversity of Creatures; also KJ 023/72, 032/124, 085/18, 104/17, 156/73, 257/11, 202/04, 024/99, 089/17, 197/17, 066/17, 284/33, 254/31, 215/30, and 220/32. Also “Dogs” and “Horses” in “Themes in Kipling’s Works” on this site.
Andrew Lycett (p. 578) notes a film entitled “Thy Servant a Dog” which was nothing to do with (Kipling’s) story of that name but loosely based on this poem.

See also Harry Ricketts, p. 368 for Kipling’s dogs and some of the stories in which they figure; also KJ316/51 for a parody, “The Assertion of the Black and White Cat”.

Notes on the text

[Verse 2] his nose has been rubbed in the dirt To deter him from making a mess again, an old and discredited method of house-training a puppy or kitten. See “The Great Play Hunt” page 48 lines 7-9.

[Verse 3] blacking in this context a tin or bottle containing a mixture for cleaning boots and shoes. There were polishes available commercially but some men made up their own. (In “The Last Term” in Stalky & Co. (p. 231 lines 15-21) ‘Stalky’ quotes from Handley Cross by Robert Surtees (chapter XXXII) where champagne and apricot jam were highly recommended.)

[Verse 4] the vet the veterinary surgeon.

[Verse 4] no heat in the midday sun see “Toby Dog” at page 98 line 25 earlier in this volume

wayside grass dogs can cure minor ailments by eating grass – see “Thy Servant a Dog”page 28 line 14.

[J. McG.]

©John McGivering 2008 All rights reserved