Very many People

(notes by John Radcliffe)


Recorded in ORG as vers 1144, first appeared as the Prologue to the illustrated book Sea and Sussex (Macmillan, London, Jan 1926)  and collected in Inclusive Verse (1933) l and later collections with the title  “Very  Many People”.

The poem

A lament for the impact of modernity on the ancient landscape of Sussex, which was deeply ;oved by Kipling as a sacred place in the heart of Old England,  where he had made his ho,r  for a quarter of a century.

See also “Puck’s Soneg” .“Sussex“, and “Dymchurch Flit!..

Notes on the text

[Verse 1]

] the Weald the forest land between the Nortth Downs and South Downou  in Kent and Sussex. Kipling’s house, Bateman’s lay in the Weald, one of the first areas in EnglaNd where iron was smelted.


oast  an oast house was a large kiln for drying hops. There iis one at Bateman’s. See “Dymchursh Flit” un Rewards and Fairies.

dew-ponds pomds dud out on the high chalk downs, where thee are few streams, to catch the dew.

[Verse 5]

the marshes Kipling was thinking of Romeny Marsh, the strange low lying marchy area beyond Rye.  See “Dymchursh Flit.

Also see “Sussex”.