An Astrologer’s Song

(notes by George Engle)

Publication

Published in Rewards and Fairies (1910) with “A Doctor of Medicine”.

The poem

This poem is closely linked to the story that follows it in Rewards and Fairies, “A Doctor of Medicine” and reflects the beliefs of Nicholas Culpeper. See George Engel’s notes above. It is listed in ORG as Verse 945. See also Kipling’s lecture in November 1928 to the Royal Society of Medicine on “Healing by the Stars”.

Notes on the Text

[Verse 1]

What chariots, what horses Probably an echo of 2 Kings 2,12: ‘The chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.’

the Stars in their courses/ Do fight on our side See Judges 5, 20: ‘The stars in their courses fought against Sisera.

[Verse 5]

the Sign the Sign of the Zodiac. The Sun, Moon, and the planets appear to move through twelve constellations or signs in the course of a year, such as Leo, Cancer, or Capricorn. In astrology, the influence of a planet was believed to vary according to which Sign it was in.

[G.E.]

©George Engle 2020 All rights reserved