'The Ladies' by Rudyard Kipling
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I've taken my fun where I've found it;
I've rogued an' I've ranged in my time;
I've 'ad my pickin' o' sweet'earts,
An' four o' the lot was prime.
One was an 'arf-caste widow,
One was a woman at Prome,
One was the wife of a ~jemadar-sais~,[Head-groom.]
An' one is a girl at 'ome.
Now I aren't no 'and with the ladies,
For, takin' 'em all along,
You never can say till you've tried 'em,
An' then you are like to be wrong.
There's times when you'll think that you mightn't,
There's times when you'll know that you might;
But the things you will learn from the Yellow an' Brown,
They'll 'elp you a lot with the White!
I was a young un at 'Oogli,
Shy as a girl to begin;
Aggie de Castrer she made me,
An' Aggie was clever as sin;
Older than me, but my first un --
More like a mother she were --
Showed me the way to promotion an' pay,
An' I learned about women from 'er!
Then I was ordered to Burma,
Actin' in charge o' Bazar,
An' I got me a tiddy live 'eathen
Through buyin' supplies off 'er pa.
Funny an' yellow an' faithful --
Doll in a teacup she were,
But we lived on the square, like a true-married pair,
An' I learned about women from 'er!
Then we was shifted to Neemuch
(Or I might ha' been keepin' 'er now),
An' I took with a shiny she-devil,
The wife of a nigger at Mhow;
'Taught me the gipsy-folks' ~bolee~;[Slang.]
Kind o' volcano she were,
For she knifed me one night 'cause I wished she was white,
And I learned about women from 'er!
Then I come 'ome in the trooper,
'Long of a kid o' sixteen --
Girl from a convent at Meerut,
The straightest I ever 'ave seen.
Love at first sight was 'er trouble,
~She~ didn't know what it were;
An' I wouldn't do such, 'cause I liked 'er too much,
But -- I learned about women from 'er!
I've taken my fun where I've found it,
An' now I must pay for my fun,
For the more you 'ave known o' the others
The less will you settle to one;
An' the end of it's sittin' and thinkin',
An' dreamin' Hell-fires to see;
So be warned by my lot (which I know you will not),
An' learn about women from me!
What did the Colonel's Lady think?
Nobody never knew.
Somebody asked the Sergeant's wife,
~An'~ she told 'em true!
When you get to a man in the case,
They're like as a row of pins --
For the Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady
Are sisters under their skins!
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Ladies: A Marvelous Poem of Rudyard Kipling
It is always interesting to delve into the world of literature and explore how the great writers of the past were able to convey their message through their works. One such writer who has left an indelible mark on the world of poetry is Rudyard Kipling. Among the many poems that he has written, "The Ladies" stands out as a masterpiece that is both thought-provoking and entertaining. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we shall examine the various elements of this poem and explore the different ways in which it can be understood.
Overview of the Poem
"The Ladies" is a poem that was written by Rudyard Kipling in 1899. It is a satirical poem that pokes fun at the Victorian society of his time. The poem is composed of four stanzas, each of which is made up of four lines. The poem is written in the form of a conversation between two gentlemen who are discussing the ladies of their society. The conversation is punctuated by the interjection of a third person, who offers his own opinion on the matter.
The poem begins with the two gentlemen talking about how difficult it is to understand women. They both agree that women are "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery" and that they are "a puzzle to the logician". However, they are soon interrupted by the third person who insists that the ladies are "nothing at all". This statement sparks off a heated debate between the three, with each person offering his own opinion on the subject.
The first gentleman argues that women are "the salt of the earth" and that they are the ones who make life worth living. He praises their beauty and their ability to bring joy and happiness into the world. The second gentleman, however, disagrees with him. He argues that women are nothing more than "fools" who are easily manipulated by men. He asserts that men are the ones who really run the world, and that women are simply there to serve them.
The third person, who had initially dismissed the ladies as "nothing at all", now offers his own opinion. He says that women are "half-devil and half-child". He argues that they are capable of both great evil and great goodness, and that they are often driven by their emotions rather than their reason. He concludes by saying that women are a "curious amalgam" of different qualities, and that it is almost impossible to understand them.
Analysis of the Poem
"The Ladies" is a poem that is full of irony and satire. Kipling uses the conversation between the three gentlemen to highlight the absurdity of the Victorian society of his time. The poem is a commentary on the way in which men viewed women in the late 19th century, and it exposes the contradictions and prejudices that were prevalent at that time.
At the beginning of the poem, the two gentlemen are discussing how difficult it is to understand women. They both agree that women are "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery" and that they are "a puzzle to the logician". This statement is ironic because it suggests that women are irrational and illogical creatures who are impossible to understand. This was a common stereotype of women at the time, and Kipling is mocking it by highlighting the absurdity of it.
The third person's statement that women are "nothing at all" is also ironic. It suggests that women are insignificant and unimportant, and it is a reflection of the way in which women were viewed in the Victorian society. However, the third person's subsequent statements suggest that he does not really believe this. His description of women as "half-devil and half-child" is a more accurate reflection of his opinion. He recognizes that women are complex creatures who are capable of both great good and great evil.
The first gentleman's praise of women is also ironic. He describes women as "the salt of the earth" and praises their beauty and their ability to bring joy and happiness into the world. However, his statements are undermined by the fact that he is a man who is speaking from a position of privilege. He is able to appreciate the beauty and joy that women bring into the world because he is not burdened by the same social and economic constraints that women face. His praise of women is therefore hollow and insincere.
The second gentleman's statement that women are nothing more than "fools" who are easily manipulated by men is also a reflection of the prevailing attitudes of the time. It suggests that men saw women as inferior and intellectually inferior to men. However, this view is again undermined by the fact that the second gentleman is also a man who is speaking from a position of privilege. He is able to manipulate women because he has the power and authority to do so.
The poem can be interpreted in many different ways, depending on one's perspective. On the one hand, it can be seen as a critique of the Victorian society and the way in which men viewed women at the time. On the other hand, it can be seen as a reflection of the way in which men continue to view women in our own time. The poem raises important questions about gender and power, and it challenges us to think critically about the way in which we view and treat women.
"The Ladies" is a brilliant and thought-provoking poem that is both entertaining and insightful. It is a satirical commentary on the Victorian society of Kipling's time, and it exposes the contradictions and prejudices that were prevalent at that time. The poem raises important questions about gender and power, and it challenges us to think critically about the way in which we view and treat women. Kipling's use of irony and satire is masterful, and his insights into human nature are profound. "The Ladies" is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Ladies by Rudyard Kipling is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a witty and humorous commentary on the behavior of women in society. The poem is written in a light-hearted tone, but it also contains a deeper message about the role of women in society.
The poem begins with the line, "The Ladies don't care what they wear when they're out upon the spree." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a commentary on the behavior of women when they are out in public. Kipling is suggesting that women are more concerned with having a good time than with their appearance.
The second stanza of the poem continues this theme, with Kipling suggesting that women are more interested in the company of men than in their own appearance. He writes, "And if it's damp, they don't give a cramp, they'll dance in their boots and all." This line suggests that women are willing to put up with discomfort in order to be in the company of men.
The third stanza of the poem takes a slightly different turn, with Kipling suggesting that women are more interested in their own pleasure than in the pleasure of others. He writes, "And when they meet with kindly men, they never ask if he's rich or poor." This line suggests that women are more interested in their own enjoyment than in the financial status of the men they are with.
The fourth stanza of the poem returns to the theme of women's appearance, with Kipling suggesting that women are more interested in their own comfort than in their appearance. He writes, "And when the dance is ended, they'll go where the beer and whiskey flow." This line suggests that women are more interested in having a good time than in looking their best.
The fifth stanza of the poem takes a more serious turn, with Kipling suggesting that women are often judged unfairly by society. He writes, "For the world is cruel, and the world is hard, and the world don't give a damn." This line suggests that women are often judged harshly by society, and that they are not given the respect they deserve.
The sixth and final stanza of the poem returns to the theme of women's behavior in public. Kipling writes, "But the Ladies don't care what they do, and the Gentlemen don't care what they say." This line suggests that women are free to behave as they wish, and that men are free to say what they wish about women's behavior.
Overall, The Ladies is a witty and humorous commentary on the behavior of women in society. Kipling suggests that women are more interested in having a good time than in their appearance or the financial status of the men they are with. He also suggests that women are often judged unfairly by society. The poem is written in a light-hearted tone, but it also contains a deeper message about the role of women in society.
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