The Muse Among the Motors
The eighteenth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here and here. Kipling had a very distinctive style, a style which has produced endless poems imitating him. It occasionally amused Kipling to do a poem in the style of some other poet. Between 1904 and 1929 he did a series of short poems in the style of various poets. The subject of the poems was the new horseless carriage. Kipling loved cars, although it is unclear whether he ever drove one himself. Here are a few of the poems in his series The Muse Among the Motors. I will leave to the readers in the comboxes to guess the poet being copied. We will start out with an easy one:
The Justice’s Tale
With them there rode a lustie Engineere
Wel skilled to handel everich waie her geere,
Hee was soe wise ne man colde showe him naught
And out of Paris was hys learnynge brought.
Frontlings mid brazen wheeles and wandes he sat,
And on hys heade he bare an leathern hat.
Hee was soe certaine of his governance, That, by the
Road, he tooke everie chaunce.
For simple people and for lordlings eke
Hee wolde not bate a del but onlie squeeke
Behinde their backes on an horne hie
Until they crope into a piggestie.
He was more wood than bull in china-shoppe,
And yet for cowes and dogges wolde hee stop,
Not our of Marcie but for Preudence-sake–
Than hys dependaunce ever was hys brake.
A bit harder:
To a Lady, Persuading Her to a Car
LOVE’S fiery chariot, Delia, take
Which Vulcan wrought for Venus’ sake.
Wings shall not waft thee, but a flame
Hot as my heart—as nobly tame:
Lit by a spark, less bright, more wise
Than linked lightnings of thine eyes!
Seated and ready to be drawn
Come not in muslins, lace or lawn,
But, for thy thrice imperial worth,
Take all the sables of the North,
With frozen diamonds belted on,
To face extreme Euroclydon!
Thus in our thund’ring toy we’ll prove
Which is more blind, the Law or Love;
And may the jealous Gods prevent
Our fierce and uncontrouled descent!
A bit harder:
THIRTEEN as twelve my Murray always took—
He was a publisher. The new Police
Have neater ways of bringing men to book,
So Juan found himself before J.P.’s
Accused of storming through that placid nook
At practically any pace you please.
The Dogberry, and the Waterbury, made
It fifty mile—five pounds. And Juan paid!
When the Journey was Intended to the City
WHEN that with meat and drink they had fulfilled
Not temperately but like him conceived
In monstrous jest at Meudon, whose regale
Stands for exemplar of Gargantuan greed,
In his own name supreme, they issued forth
Beneath new firmaments and stars astray,
Circumvoluminant; nor had they felt
Neither the passage nor the sad effect
Of many cups partaken, till that frost
Wrought on them hideous, and their minds deceived.
Thus choosing from a progeny of roads,
That seemed but were not, one most reasonable,
Of purest moonlight fashioned on a wall,
Thither they urged their chariot whom that flint
But tressed received, itself unscathed—not they.
Lo! What is this that I make—sudden, supreme, unrehearsed—
This that my clutch in the crowd pressed at a venture has raised?
Forward and onward I sprang when I thought (as I ought) I reversed,
And a cab like martagon opes and I sit in the wreckage dazed.
And someone is taking my name, and the driver is rending the air
With cries for my blood and my gold, and a snickering news-boy brings
My cap, wheel-pashed from the kerb.
I must run her home for repair,
Where she leers with her bonnet awry—flat on the nether springs!