'Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal' by Rudyard Kipling
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Speakin' in general, I 'ave tried 'em all,
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I 'ave found them good
For such as cannot use one bed too long,
But must get 'ence, the same as I 'ave done,
An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die,
So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all --
The different ways that different things are done,
An' men an' women lovin' in this world --
Takin' our chances as they come along,
An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good?
In cash or credit -- no, it aren't no good;
You 'ave to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die,
Unless you lived your life but one day long,
Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all,
But drew your tucker some'ow from the world,
An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I 'aven't done?
I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good,
In various situations round the world --
For 'im that doth not work must surely die;
But that's no reason man should labour all
'Is life on one same shift; life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done,
For something in my 'ead upset me all,
Till I 'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good,
An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die,
An' met my mate -- the wind that tramps the world!
It's like a book, I think, this bloomin' world,
Which you can read and care for just so long,
But presently you feel that you will die
Unless you get the page you're readin' done,
An' turn another -- likely not so good;
But what you're after is to turn 'em all.
Gawd bless this world!Whatever she 'ath done --
Excep' when awful long -- I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"
Editor 1 Interpretation
Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal: A Masterpiece in Rhyme and Rhythm
Rudyard Kipling, one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, has left an indelible mark on literature with his powerful and evocative works. Among his many poems, "Sestina of the Tramp-Royal" stands out as a masterpiece that showcases his skill in rhyme and rhythm.
The poem is a sestina, a form of poetry with a strict structure of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a triplet. Each stanza uses the same six end-words, which are repeated in a specific pattern throughout the poem. This creates a complex interweaving of sound and meaning that is both challenging and rewarding for the reader.
A Tramp's Life
The poem tells the story of a tramp, a wanderer who roams the countryside in search of work and adventure. The tramp is a symbol of freedom, but also of poverty and hardship. He is a man with no fixed abode, no family, and no possessions except the clothes on his back and the tools of his trade.
Kipling portrays the tramp as a hero of sorts, a man who lives by his wits and his courage. He is not afraid of hard work, and he takes pride in his ability to survive in the face of adversity. He is a man of the road, a friend to all who share his life, and a foe to those who would try to control him.
The Power of Rhyme
The poem's structure is an intricate web of rhyme and repetition that creates a powerful sense of unity and coherence. The six end-words are "day," "way," "work," "time," "road," and "end," and they are repeated in a specific pattern throughout the poem. This pattern creates a sense of circularity and inevitability that reflects the tramp's life on the road.
The repetition of the end-words also creates a sense of unity between the six stanzas, as each stanza uses the same end-words in a different order. This creates a sense of variation and development that keeps the poem fresh and engaging.
The Tramp's Philosophy
The tramp's life is not an easy one, and Kipling does not shy away from portraying the hardships and dangers that the tramp faces. He is a man who is always on the move, always looking for the next job or the next adventure. He sleeps rough, eats what he can find, and faces the elements with stoicism and courage.
Despite his hardships, the tramp remains optimistic and philosophical. He sees himself as part of a larger community of tramps, all of whom share his life and his values. He believes in the "code of the road," a set of unwritten rules that govern the behavior of tramps towards each other.
A Poem of Resistance
The poem can also be read as a political statement, a critique of the social and economic conditions that force men like the tramp to live on the road. Kipling portrays the tramp as a victim of a system that values property and profit over human life and dignity.
The tramp is a symbol of resistance, a man who refuses to be cowed by poverty and oppression. He is a reminder that there is more to life than material possessions, and that the human spirit can triumph over even the greatest adversity.
A Call to Action
The poem's final triplet is a call to action, a plea for the reader to recognize the value and dignity of the tramp's life. Kipling exhorts the reader to "Pray that I may be / Even as the poorest here / That I may abide the uttermost bitterness of dearth and thrift."
This final plea is a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy and solidarity in the face of poverty and hardship. It is a call to recognize the humanity of those who live on the margins of society, and to work towards a world where all people are valued and respected.
"Sestina of the Tramp-Royal" is a masterpiece of form and content, a poem that showcases Kipling's skill as a poet and his deep empathy for the human condition. Its structure and language create a powerful sense of unity and coherence, while its themes of freedom, resistance, and solidarity resonate with readers to this day.
This poem is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, social justice, or the human spirit. It is a testament to the power of art to inspire and challenge us, and to the enduring relevance of Kipling's work.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Rudyard Kipling's "Sestina of the Tramp-Royal" is a classic poem that explores the life of a tramp and the challenges he faces in his daily life. The poem is written in the form of a sestina, a complex poetic form that requires the repetition of six end-words in a specific pattern. The poem is a powerful commentary on the social and economic conditions of the time, and it continues to resonate with readers today.
The poem begins with the tramp introducing himself and his life on the road. He describes himself as a "tramp-royal," a term that suggests a certain level of pride and dignity in his chosen lifestyle. He explains that he travels from place to place, never staying in one place for too long. He also describes the challenges he faces, including hunger, cold, and the constant threat of violence.
The first stanza of the poem sets the stage for the rest of the poem, introducing the reader to the tramp and his world. The repetition of the end-words "road," "load," and "go" creates a sense of movement and urgency, emphasizing the tramp's constant need to keep moving.
In the second stanza, the tramp describes the people he meets on his travels. He meets all kinds of people, from the wealthy to the poor, and he observes their lives and struggles. He sees the rich living in luxury while the poor struggle to survive. He also sees the effects of war and violence, and he feels a sense of sadness and despair.
The repetition of the end-words "way," "day," and "say" in the second stanza creates a sense of repetition and routine, emphasizing the tramp's daily encounters with different people and situations.
In the third stanza, the tramp reflects on his own life and the choices he has made. He acknowledges that he could have chosen a different path, but he has chosen to live as a tramp. He feels a sense of freedom and independence, but he also feels the weight of his choices.
The repetition of the end-words "time," "prime," and "climb" in the third stanza creates a sense of progression and growth, emphasizing the tramp's journey and his personal development.
In the fourth stanza, the tramp describes the natural world around him. He observes the changing seasons and the beauty of the landscape. He also sees the destructive power of nature, such as floods and storms.
The repetition of the end-words "spring," "king," and "thing" in the fourth stanza creates a sense of rhythm and harmony, emphasizing the natural cycles of life and the beauty of the world around us.
In the fifth stanza, the tramp reflects on the passage of time and the inevitability of death. He knows that his life as a tramp will not last forever, and he wonders what will become of him when he can no longer travel.
The repetition of the end-words "fall," "all," and "small" in the fifth stanza creates a sense of finality and closure, emphasizing the tramp's acceptance of his own mortality.
In the final stanza, the tramp returns to the beginning of the poem, repeating the first line and bringing the poem full circle. He acknowledges that his life as a tramp is not easy, but he also feels a sense of pride and dignity in his chosen lifestyle.
The repetition of the end-words "road," "load," and "go" in the final stanza creates a sense of closure and resolution, emphasizing the tramp's acceptance of his life on the road.
Overall, "Sestina of the Tramp-Royal" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the life of a tramp and the challenges he faces. The use of the sestina form creates a sense of repetition and rhythm, emphasizing the tramp's daily struggles and his journey through life. The poem is a timeless commentary on the social and economic conditions of the time, and it continues to resonate with readers today.
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