Rather than this

Unpublished Fragment of Shelley

(notes by Philip Holberton, drawing on the researches of Andrew Rutherford and Thomas Pinney)


The poem was never collected by Kipling but is to be found in Andrew Rutherford (p. 58), and Pinney p. 1572.

There is a holograph [handwritten by Kipling] version on p. 201 of Kipling’s copy of Longer English Poems, ed. J.W.Hales (London 1878), (Library of Congress). Attributed to “Canto1, Lament of Xenorial [?], 1.270. (Rutherford p. 58).


Kipling was sent to United Services College at Westward Ho! in Devon in 1878, at the age of twelve. As he recounts in Stalky & Co. (1899) it was a hard life for a small boy, with a good deal of bullying, beatings as punishments, and never enough food for hungry boys. But he did have the compensation of free access to the Head’s well stocked library, where he read widely and wrote copiously, aiming to become a published poet.

Jan Montefiore notes:  The target would seem to be Shelley’s “Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude.” The nihilist vision rather interestingly anticipates that in Kipling’s “Vision of Hamid Ali”, also in Rutherford (p. 272).

See also his “Unpublished Fragment of Pope”; also “Schoolboy Lyrics and Echoes”, and “The Muse Among the Motors”. Throughout his career as a writer he took pleasure in parodying the work of other poets.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved