“There’s a convict more in the Central Jail”

(notes edited by Philip Holberton)

Publication

There verses head “The Head of the District” published in Life’s Handicap in 1891.

The poem

They describe the state of the District at the end of the story, when peace and good government have been restored. As published at the head of the story in Life’s Handicap (but not when collected) these verses are titled “The Running of Shindand.” Under that title they were set to music by Percy Grainger in 1901, and can still be found on CD and on line. (See “Musical settings of Kipling’s verse” by Brian Mattinson).

Notes on the Text

Shindand is a town in western Afghanistan, a long way from the scene of the story. .

a lifter is a cattle-thief. See “The Ballad of East and West” line 6:

And he has lifted the Colonel’s mare that is the Colonel’s pride.

The metre, where ‘Dear boys’ is interjected before a repeat of the last line, is also used in the poem “The Lost Legion” published a few years later, in 1895.

[P.H.]

©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved