Sir Richard’s Song

(notes by Donald Mackenzie)


Published with “Young Men at the Manor” in Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906). Collected in Songs from Books and subsequent collections with a head date of 1066.

The poem

The poem expresses Kipling’s central theme in the stories of Sir Richard, that Normans and Saxons came together in a new identity, as the English.


Notes on the text

[line 2]

fief and fee: an estate held on condition of homage and service to a superior lord, by whom it is granted and in whom the ownership remains. Sir Richard and his Saxon friend Hugh, held neighbouring manors from their lord, de Aquila.

[line 4]

But now England hath taken me:   See Horace, Epistles 2.1.156-7: [D.H.]

Graecia capta ferum uictorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio

(“Captured Greece captured her savage conqueror and introduced the arts to rustic Latium”).



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