“And some are sulky”

(notes edited by Philip Holberton)

Publication

Published with the story “Thrown away” in Plain Tales from the Hills (1888).

Collected in:

  • Songs from Books
  • Inclusive Verse
  • Definitive Verse
  • The Sussex and Burwash editions of Kipling’s works
  • The 2013 Cambridge Edition (Ed. Pinnet)

 

The poem

As printed in Plain Tales from the Hills the heading is subtitled Toolungala Stockyard Chorus. This name, made up by Kipling, has an Australian ring to it. At that time most horses for the Indian Army were imported from New South Wales and known as “Walers”. In the heading the Boy is likened to a horse being broken in; in the tale the comparison is to an untrained puppy.

For highly trained cavalry mounts see “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book.

 

Notes on the text

[line 2] Steady! Stand still, you! What a horse-breaker might say to a plunging horse.
See also “Captain Hayes and the Horse” .

[line 3] gentle treat kindly, soothe.

lunge make a horse move round the trainer on the end of a long rope.

[line 4] There! There! Who wants to kill you? What a trainer might say to soothe a horse.

[line 6] bitted taught to accept a bit in its mouth

made fully trained.

[P.H.]

©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved