KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936)
Lot 258
Sold for £5,000 (US$ 8,395) inc. premium
Lot Details
KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936)
AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HIS WELL-KNOWN POEM 'McANDREW'S HYMN', signed by Kipling in pencil ('Rudyard Kipling'), 183 lines, 'small type' written at head possibly by the printer, with numerous autograph revisions and additions preserving reconsidered readings, including words in capital letters and two lines added in the margin, and an extract from a private letter indicated to go under the title (as it was printed by Scribner's but not included in the Definitive Edition), 3½ pages, light blue paper, large quarto and one half sheet, leaves formerly pinned at head, no date [but 1893]

Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream
An' taught by time I tak' it so -- exceptin' always steam.
Fra' coupling-flang to spindle-guide I see the hand o' God --
Predestination in the slide o' yon connectin' rod.
John Calvin might ha' forged the same - enormous, certain, slow
An' wrought it in the furnace-flame - my "Institutio"
I canna get my sleep to-night, old bones are hard to please,
I'll stand the middle watch up here - alone wi' God an' these.
My engines, after ninety days o' race an' rack an' strain
Through all the seas of all the world, slam-bangin' home again.
That's just the word. They knock a wee. The crosshead-gibs are loose,
But thirty thousand mile o' work has gied them fair excuse....
Fine, clear an' dark - a full draught breeze, wi' Ushant out o' sight,
An' Ferguson relievin' Hay. Auld girl, ye'll walk to-night!...

'McAndrew's Hymn', written in imitation of Browning and well-loved in Scotland, adopts the broad accent of Kipling's forebears. It has been described as 'the most elaborate and perhaps the most effective of [Kipling's] dramatic lyrics. It launched upon the world the new concept of the romance of machinery.' It was written in celebration of his journey from Cape Town to Wellington, New Zealand, in 1891.

Scribner's gave Kipling $500 for 'McAndrew's Hymn', 'a record price for a poem in America'. He was delighted to find in 1897 that every engineer on a trial thirty-knot destroyer knew the poem (Carrington). T.S. Eliot concurred with the popular verdict which preferred 'McAndrew's Hymn' over its sister poem 'The Mary Gloster'; Angus Wilson praised both equally as 'positive hymns to the life force. They work perfectly.'

There is apparently one other manuscript of the poem in the manuscript of the book The Years Between, and only a fair copy (Harvard) is recorded by Barbara Rosenbaum; there are no manuscripts of the poem in British Libraries. Many of Kipling's poetical manuscripts are in America -- Harvard, Cornell, Texas, Library of Congress, Syracuse anfd the Berg; others are at Batesman's Burwash and the British Library

REFERENCES: Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, 1990, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, KpR 692; Charles Carrington, Rudyard Kipling, 1955; Martin Seymour-Smith, Rudyard Kipling: A Biography, 1989; Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.
  1. Simon Roberts
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3879