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Lot 262
KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936) AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF THE DEDICATORY POEM FOR 'BARRACK ROOM BALLADS', signed with initials, [1892]
Sold for £6,875 (US$ 10,680) inc. premium

Lot Details
KIPLING, RUDYARD (1865-1936)
AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF THE DEDICATORY POEM FOR 'BARRACK ROOM BALLADS', signed with initials ('RK'), the printer's copy, 27 lines, in nine three-line stanzas, with autograph revisions (including revising the order of the fourth and fifth stanzas), and an autograph note to the printer: 'This is the dedicatory poem of the entire book & must be printed in italics on left & right pages before Index. On page preceding this poem print by itself these words "To Walcott Balestier. This poem goes without title'; and also subscribed 'Be careful with this', 1 page, quarto, some printer's finger marks, [1892]

Beyond the path of the utmost seen through utter darkness hurled -
Further than any comet flared or vagrant star-dust swirled -
Lived such as fought and ruled or vagrant star-dust swirled.

They are purg'd of pride because they died, they know the worth of their bays,
They sit at wine with the Maidens fine and the Gods of the Elder Days,
It is their will to serve or be still as fitteth Our Father's praise...

So cup to lip in fellowship they gave him welcome high
And made him place at the banquet board - the strong men ranged thereby,
Who had done his work and held his peace and had no fear to die.

Beyond the loom of the last lone star through open darkness hurled,
Further than rebel comet dared or hiring star-swarm swirled,
Sits he with those that praise our God for that they seised his world.

This dedicatory poem first appeared, in a somewhat different version, under the title 'Blind Bug' in the National Observer for 27 December 1890. First collected in 1892, Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads relive the experiences of soldiers sent around the world to defend the Empire -- all for little pay and less appreciation. An immediate success, they were unlike anything the public had seen before.

No manuscript of this poem is recorded by Index of English Literary Manuscripts or in Location Register. There is a printed copy in the Carpenter Collection in the Library of Congress, with a variant title 'The Blind Bug', extensively revised by Kipling.

REFERENCES: Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, Part 2, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, 1990; Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.
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