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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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What to you think, Peter, would it have been better to use "afore" instead of "before"? "Ramparts" or "Rampart"? Still, I left out the parenthetical line, which after all, is the point of the poem. How about this:

There's 'er nick on the cavalry 'orses,
There's 'er mark on the medical stores --
And 'er sign on the sacks that 'ave broken our backs
Which we slung on the ramparts before.
(Defend us from what went before)

It's got a nice play on "defend" and a rather good play on "before" (before the actual attack on the Drift or before at Isandlwana?) Lord, am I channeling Kipling?

"Fuzzy Wuzzy" pushes my buttons, but "Widow of Winsdor" is excellent as well. After all, Kipling is from my home state, New Hampshire, isn't he?

Still, no better or more British Imperial poetry lines have ever been written than:

Take 'old o' the Wings o' the Mornin',
An' flop round the earth till you're dead;
But you won't get away from the tune that they play
To the bloomin' old rag over'ead.


Last edited by Sawubona on Thu May 17, 2012 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kiwi Sapper


Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 125
Location: Middle Earth & Home of Narnia; (Auckland, New Zealand)
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Sawubona wrote:
............. After all, Kipling is from my home state, New Hampshire, isn't he?


Er..Okay, I admit defeat; where is the pun or satire? Give me a clue please.

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It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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No pun, no satire, Kiwi. Rudyard Kipling lived in New Hampshire for some time-- or at least until his neighbor p**d him off.
A year or two, I think, but you can Wiki that.

Which I just did and it was actually Brattalboro, Vermont where he lived, which is on the other side of the brook that separates our states. Sorry for the error. Still, he was a New Englander from "away" (a goal one can never surpass unless you were actually born in New England--Fifty years of residency doesn't make you a New Englander if you were born "away".)
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Kiwi Sapper


Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Location: Middle Earth & Home of Narnia; (Auckland, New Zealand)
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Ah........
As he was born in Bombay and died in England, I would never have got that "link" without your guidance Silly me Embarassed ............... I suppose it's very similar to the Ozzies claiming that Pavlova is theirs .....and so is Russell Crowe......but they are welcome to him Laughing

It has just occurred to me that he passed through New Zealand and even wrote a poem about my my current city Auckland, . **** , a bit too late now to try and claim him as a Kiwi........and anyway, suppose I must yield first dibs to you..after all, you seem to have a similar style of prose.

Keep it up, but don't give up your day job.

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It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Saw/Kiwi

Yes, it's possible he would never have left America had not the Balestier business hounded him out. He was happier there than anywhere save India. He nearly died there, lost his first-born there and wrote some of his best work in Naulakha, including The Jungle Book, which was read to the children of Vemont before any English children heard it. Without that crazy feud we may never have heard of Bateman's or read any of the wonderful Sussex poetry by the great man.

Agree 100% on those lines from The Widow at Windsor, Saw. Two or three times a year I find myself reading extracts from his verse to audiences here and I never omit those particular lines. Just as powerful in other ways, perhaps (and indicative of his prescient mind, as well as his constant warnings against flabby contentment or the vicarious sense of power he saw in so many in England) might be these well known lines from Recessional (1897):

"Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!"

And this at the height of the celebrations and boasting at the time of the Diamond Jubilee. He must have read Ozymandias the night before he penned Recessional!

Your further example is even more perfect! Stick with before and ramparts is fine (as also would be the singular).

There is not a moment or an occurrence in the life of a British soldier at that time, doing seven years with the Colours and five on the Reserve, whether in home barracks, on troopship, in India or S Africa, in action or in peacetime, that isn't covered in a verse by Kipling. The extract you chose from The Widow at Windsor encapsulates the whole lot. Yet - always despising those at home who thought the Empire a God-given right - still he warned.

Peter
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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I got to studying that poem a bit again, particularly that stanza. Why the odd capitalization with the wings of the morning thing, I asked myself? Is it from somewhere else? Well, it appears that that particular phrase ("Take hold of the Wings of the Morning" ) is from the 139th psalm:

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea..."

You probably knew that, Peter, but I didn't. Lordy, he was good! Apropos or what?

I imagine that Kipling's and Shelley's commonality are more an example of "parallel evolution" than derivativism (not really a word, I guess). Transpose the dates and we'd probably be saying that Shelly must have read "Recessional" the night before he wrote "Ozymandias"! Wink
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Saw

I wasn't aware where he'd picked up the expression, even though Psalm 139 is probably one of the better known.

And lordy, he was good! I seem to have absorbed some of his verse with my mother's milk, perhaps partly because both of my grandfathers wore "the Widow's uniform" in India in the '90s when RK was churning out so much of his best material. (Maternal grandad was described as "a proper Kiplingesque soldier, who wept on Qn Victoria's death and again when he became time-expired." Paternal g/d was recommended for the VC - but got the DCM - in the Anglo-Boer War). And as a little lad I knew I'd better brush up on some of his Sussex verse if I wanted a birthday present from my favourite uncle, who would expect a recitation at a moment's notice!

Peter
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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"Psalm 139 is probably one of the better known"Shocked

Peter, please don't tell us your father was a lay preacher and a great one for the psalms as well!
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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I think it goes something like this ...
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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Well done, Peter! I wasn't confident that you'd catch that one as it flew by and for that disservice I apologize Wink . Sorry, but I can't resist but to ask that if among your rather distinguished forebears were there any Johnnies who knelt by Wolfe at Quebec? And were they made colonels?

"Johnnies" are Scots, aren't they? As in "Heya Johnnie, drink-water you got it (Drums of the Fore and Aft)?" And is that line from ZULU, "my grandfather, he was the Johnnie who knelt by Wolfe at Quebec", simply derivative of that famous Benjamin West painting of Wolfe's death at Quebec (he's not quite knelling, but isn't the standing figure to the right wearing a Scottish uniform" )? "John" isn't a particularly Scottish name, so why the sobriquet? Shouldn't it instead be something like "Ian"? Is a Yank wrong to think that Johnnie is to Scot as Paddy is to Irish? And I apologize in advance for any offense I may have unknowingly given to anyone.

No matter how hard I look, however, I can't find any mealie bags in that painting! Am I perhaps a bit off topic?
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Johnnie
Robert John


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Sawubona,

Before anyone gets offended I think I should point out that a Scot is Jock, an Irishman is Paddy and a Welshman is Taff or Taffy.

Robert

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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Saw

I'm not sure why Bromhead (Caine) referred to his ancestor as "the Johnny" - I always wondered whether he simply meant "the chap" or "the fellow" but there may be a reason which has always escaped me. Anyone?

Definitely not a reference to a Scot, I'd say. As Robert points out, all Scots are Jocks, both as a third party description (e.g "England are playing the Jocks at football today") or as a personal nickname (e.g. "Good to see you Jock, how are you?"), often whether one knows his real first name or not. Occasionally "Mac" too, regardless of surname. (I don't know what the Jocks call each other, but presumably not Jock!!!) My father, John, a Glaswegian more or less, was certainly known as Jock throughout his army career, but presumably wouldn't have been had he served in a Scottish regiment!

Similarly, I don't remember calling my Welsh brother-in-law Mike at any time (or perhaps only rarely) as he'll always be Taffy or Taff. Somehow, native caution might make me hesitate to call an Irishman Paddy until I knew him, although I'd expect to do so pretty soon.

However, I do detect a slight falling off of these epithets, especially among the young, which is a pity really, but they are often confused by the hammering that their generation has taken on "political correctness", and nowadays tend to eschew all "national" nicknames on the grounds of "playing safe." How daft. Genuinely offensive expressions have been completely mixed up with age-old terms of endearment. I'd be disappointed if an Aussie felt he could no longer call me a "Pommie b.....d." Or at least a Pom! Even personal nicknames among playground friends based upon physical appearance seem no longer favoured by the young - can you believe that? So no "shorty", "lofty", "long 'un" or" titch" any more. Apparently even "Ginger" is frowned upon sometimes, which I find incomprehensible - my young sons have to guide me carefully sometimes!

Off topic? Probably just a slight metamorphosis!

Peter
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Johnny,
Robert John


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Peter,

I don't know if the term is used right now in the U.K. but over here it is used to describe someone who is rather anti-social and does not quite fit in with the rest if society. i.e.: if a rather scruffy, untidy individual is seen with his cap on sideways for instance then you immediately hear "Kijk, daar loopt nog een Johnny:
am not suggesting for one moment however that Bromheads [ Caine ] ancestor was anti-social !!

Robert

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R J Jones
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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We call those, slobs.

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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Well, the word meant something quite different when I was younger (not referring to a person at all) but I won't go into that now! Perhaps it is obsolete in that respect.

But referring to someone as "Johnny" or "a Johnny" is not something I've come across at all, except by Bromhead/Caine, and that instance always did puzzle me. There was always "Johnny Turk" at Gallipoli, of course. And the crabs we caught from the river when we were lads were always called "Johnny Adler." Where did that come from?

The answer to all this has got to be inside that mealie bag, Saw!

P
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