boys….. died from typhoid mostly at the regulation age of twenty-twoSee also "The Undertaker's Horse" and other Departmental Ditties.
.. wry observation on the fleetingness of life, even in the most priviliged circles, in India ... If Rudyard’s poems had a lilting musical beat, this was because he often conceived them as as melodies and sang as he wrote.Charles Allen (p. 140) says:
‘a short tumble backwards, in fact, from the white railings – you come suddenly upon a relic of old Simla neglected and forgotten, as are most old things in India.’The idea of Simla’s forgotten dead was then used to chilling effect in the poem “Possibilities."
[“Out of Society” Pioneer Mail, 4 July 1885.]
Unheard who held us to the dawncards when shufled ... playing-cards mixed up together before beginning a new game, one picked out at random from the pack by lifting up several at once, or one picked up at random from cards face-down on the table
With stories ever strange and fresh -
The change and chance of equine flesh,
And cards when shuffled, cut, or drawn.
And stranger tales of womenkind –“cup” in this context a wine cup – a mixture of fruits, juice and alcohol cooled and served from a jug or bowl. The recipe is sometimes a matter of conjecture.
Dark love, a lifetime gathered up:
And mysteries of many a “cup”,
Wherein are mint and ice combined.