KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936, novelist and poet)
Lot 140
KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936, novelist and poet)
Sold for £4,800 (US$ 8,213) inc. premium
Lot Details
KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936, novelist and poet)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS BORDER BALLAD 'THE LAST RHYME OF TRUE THOMAS', MARKED UP BY KIPLING FOR THE PRINTER, signed with initials in four places, some autograph revisions, comprising 156 lines in four-line stanzas, 4 pages, light blue paper, large quarto, leaves stuck together in upper left-hand corners, no date [but 1894]

Footnotes

  • The King has called for priest and cup,
    The King has taken spur and blade,
    To dub true Thomas a belted Knight
    And all for the sake o' the song he made.

    They have sought him high, they have sought him low.
    They have sought him over down and lea --
    They have found him by the milkwhite thorn
    That guards the gate o' Faerie...

    My lance is tipped o' the hammered flame,
    My shield is wrought o' the moonlight cold,
    And I win my spurs in the Middle World
    A thousand fathom beneath mould...

    And what should I do wi' blazon and belt --
    Wi' Keep and hold and siezin' and fee --
    And what should I do wi' page and squire
    That am a King in my own countrie?...

    Sleep ye or wake, true Thomas said,
    That sit so still, that muse so long?
    Sleep ye or wake -- till the sleep o' Death
    I trow ye'll not forget my song.

    I ha' harpit ye down to the hinges o' Hell
    And up to the throne o' God most hie.
    I ha' ha' darkened your soul wi the hiest o' Blood
    And -- ye -- wad -- make -- a Knight o' me!


    A fine manuscript of Kipling's important poem about artistic independence. A direct imitation of a Border ballad written in dialect, the poem describes in allegorical terms how a King offers to ennoble a poet and how the poet demonstrates his superior power to enchant the King. It was first published in 1894 and reprinted in The Seven Seas.

    There are a number of verbal differences between this manuscript and the final version, which also has an additional stanza, printed in the Definitive Edition of Kipling's Verse. The quotation from a daily paper, which apparently prompted the poem, transcribed beneath the title here is not in the Definitive Edition.
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