the King's Jest"
` ….two powerful but neglected poems … From these we see that those who suffer terrible punishment are not the open enemies of authority, but those who seek to please the King too much, or talk too much, or carry out too easily his cruel commands, or over-flatter him. Everything and everybody in a world poised on the edge of chaos is suspect, most of all those who are too pliable, who try too hard, the weak links.Wilson then quotes lines 56-61, and continues:
This young man seeks to please the Amir by collecting tales of Russian invasion and of sedition to warn him. And for his pains, he is tied (sic) to a peach tree surrounded by bayonets on the ground below, that he may give warning of the Russian invasion he preached too often.Lines 102-109 are quoted to complete the reference.
….marked the beginning of a spate of Kipling’s poems and short stories in the magazine over the following year including “The Ballad of East and West”, “The Head of the District” etc.Birkenhead discusses Barrack-Room Ballads generally in his Chapter IX ‘London Conquered’ and describes how Henley, the Editor of the Scots Observer introduced the series to the public (p. 119). Charles Allen writes of Kipling’s arrival in England (Chapter 11, “London and Fame”) describing how he was received into the literary world, taken to the Saville Club where he met Hardy and Besant, and introduced by the latter to A. P. Watt the literary agent, who doubled his income in a month or so. See our notes on “The Rhyme of the Three Captaians. .
His trip to Rawal Pindi in 1885, with its glimpse of the court of Abdurrahman, the Afghan Amir, resulted five years later, in two grim poems, “The Ballad of the King’s Mercy” and “The Ballad of the King’s Jest”. But it was not until the end of 1887 that Kipling was given his first real chance to form an opinion of the India of rajahs, elephants, and palaces. In November he was sent by the Pioneer on a railway journey through the native states of Rajputana in order to write up his impressions in a series of informal travel essays.Abdur Rahman Khan (the spelling varies) c. 1842-1901), Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901, was the. third son of Afzul Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan. He was considered to be a strong ruler, who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the second Anglo-Afghan war.
The native States ... were bound by separate treaties to submit their external affairs to the will of the Indian Government, but, so long as their rulers remained at peace with their neighbours and kept their own tyranny and corruption within limits, they were allowed to regulate their internal affairs as they pleased.
At dusk he harries the Abazai - at dawn he is into Bonair,[Line 3] frails sacks or baskets woven from straw or grasses.
"But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare.
"Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur! "[Line 7] turquoise an opaque blue-green gem-stone found in Asia and in Mexico, much sought after as jewellery.
"At dusk he harries the Abazai - at dawn he is into Bonair, "But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare.[Line 20] musk a perennial plant Mimilus moschatus with a characteristic odour, providing a substance which is also present in the glands of some animals, and is used as a basis of perfumes.