From the Hills

What Makes my Heart to Throb and Glow

(North India version)


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




There is a version of this poem handwritten by Kipling, under the second title. The inverted commas suggest that “What Makes my Heart to Throb and Glow” is a quotation but its origin has not been traced. Pinney notes that in the notebook the poem comes between “Duet from the Pinafore“, published in the CMG on April 17, 1883, and “Divided Allegiance, dated June 15th, 1883, suggesting the poem was written between these dates. See Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks.

The poem was published in Quartette, with the title “From the Hills”. Quartette, a Christmas Annual by “Four Anglo-Indian Writers” was the work of Kipling, his sister, his father, and his mother. It appeared in December 1885, having been printed by the Civil and Military Gazette Press, where Kipling himself oversaw the production. This was an exacting and exhausting task, as recounted in a letter to his cousin Margaret Burne-Jones on November 28th, 1885. (Thomas Pinney (Ed.) Letters vol 1)

This is one of five poems by Kipling in the Annual; like the others, it was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 189, and Pinney p. 1788.

The poem

The poem is sung by a member of the Bengal Civil Service who is awaiting the return of his beloved “from the Hills” where she has spent the hot season. (The introductory line with Golightly does not appear in the Notebook version).

Notes on the Text

[Verse 1]

swimming: ‘singing’ in the Notebook version.

[Verse 2]

Sadly: ‘sorely’ in the Notebook version.

[Verse 3]

Kutcherry: court-house.

[Verse 4]

‘tum-tum men tattu hamara rukho!’: Put our pony in the dog-cart! (urdu).

[Verse 5]

Olympus: Anglo-Indian slang for Simla, from Mount Olympus, the home of the gods in Greek mythology.

Creation: “the pi-dog” in the Notebook version.

[Verse 6]

sais: groom.

cribs: steals.

gram: horse-feed.

mull: fail. ‘miss’ in the Notebook version.

Persian exam: Persian was the official language of administration under the Mogul Empire, and continued to be used for some purposes under the British. (Rutherford).

five-fifty: 550 rupees a month; just under £600 a year. Kipling was raised to r375 a month after a year, and to r600 a month when he moved to the Pioneer in 1887, aged just under twenty-two, after five years experience.

[Verse 7]

Stunt: assistant.

big bosses: ‘civilians’ in the Notebook version.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved