Rudyard Kipling (1905)
in In Time’s eye
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The first and fairest thing to say about Rudyard Kipling is that he has borne a brilliant part in recovering the lost provinces of poetry. The real poetry, the 'true romance' which Mr Kipling has taught, is the romance of the division of labour and the discipline of all the trades. Mr Kipling knows England as an intelligent English gentleman knows Venice. The fact is that what attracts Mr Kipling to militarism is not the idea of courage, but the idea of discipline. Militarism demonstrated the decadence of Rome, and it demonstrates the decadence of Prussia. The military man gains the civil power in proportion as the civilian loses the military virtues. Cecil Rhodes's prophecies about the Boer resistance are an admirable comment on how the 'large ideas' prosper when it is not a question of thinking in continents, but of understanding a few two-legged men.

In Time’s eye

Essays on Rudyard Kipling

Editor: Jan Montefiore

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