Kipling’s Gentlmen-Rankers

Kipling was one of the most powerful English poets of his generation. He capture the voice of the British Empire. That voice spoke not only with the power of the imperial dream, but also spoke with the hesitation of doubts about the morality of that dream. And it even spoke sometimes with sorrow over the price the British placed upon themselves and the people they conquered for the Empire.
Many see his poetry and writings from just a few points in his life. But if you look upon the entirety of his career, you can see a growing awareness that for every boon brought by the Empire there was a bane, sometimes in very heavy price.

 #UK #Kipling #Britain #BritishEmpire #AnglicCiv

Rudyard Kipling


To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,
 To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
 And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who has run his own six horses,
 And faith he went the pace and went it blind,
And the world was more than kin while he held the ready tin,
 But to-day the Sergeant's something less than kind.
    We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
       Baa!  Baa!  Baa!
    We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
    Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
    Damned from here to Eternity,
    God ha' mercy on such as we,
       Baa!  Yah!  Bah!
Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen slops,
 And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers tell,
To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops
 And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your troop,
 And branded with a blasted worsted spur,
When you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy living cleanly
 Who blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".
If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep,
 And all we know most distant and most dear,
Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep,
 Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters
 And the horror of our fall is written plain,
Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed ceiling,
 Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain?
We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
 We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
 God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
 Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
 And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
    We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
       Baa!  Baa!  Baa!
    We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
    Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
    Damned from here to Eternity,
    God ha' mercy on such as we,
       Baa!  Yah!  Bah!


I Build a Pole Lathe (to keep my horse company)

The forest of England came to be vital to the economic well being of the nation. Many of the techniques used there were also used in Europe as well. The medieval forest of England were managed ecology zones, with the idea of industry and agriculture being a very large part.

Mick Grewcock

I guess it was inevitable.

You see, for countless centuries woodlands and forests have been places of work, of industry. Yet our little plot saw no work save mowing the meadows and some tree management.

I built a shave horse – my ‘horse’ – to aid me when working on longbow staves but soon found that the device occupied too much space in the garden. It looked oddly ill at ease, like a shire let loose on a lawn. So I bundled it into the Defender and took it to the wood. And lo, it looked instantly at home in a glade under a massive oak.

A shave horse is an ancient kind of foot operated clamp, freeing up the hands to work on green or seasoned wood – pressure applied by the feet firmly clamping the wood in place whilst it is worked by draw knife or spokeshave.


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Armistice and After: The Legacy of the WWI Generation in the U.S.

The Great War, aka World War One, truly changed the course of human history. The experience of those who fought in it would have a huge impact on both their later decisions, which lead to WW2, and their children.

The Angry Staff Officer

“This is the great reward of service, to live, far out and on, in the life of others.”
– Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

I came upon this quote about four years ago – near the 100th anniversary of Chamberlain’s death – and right around the time that France, Germany, the UK (and the Commonwealth Countries) were beginning to commemorate the centennial of the First World War. It has stayed with me over the past four years, as I, too, began my own journey towards the Armistice – though I did not know it then. I was recently home from Afghanistan, my own piece of war, and in search of something to throw my mind into to turn it towards peace. And, paradoxically, I found the generation of the U.S. in World War I silently awaiting me. Waiting for their stories to be told. Asking me to “live, far out and on,”…

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The Glorious Cause, a short review

The history book, The Glorious Cause, by Prof. Robert Middlekauff is a thick, detailed examination of the American War of Independence. The book tries to layout the details of the war, plus the causes through the reaction of the 13 colonies and the politics of England.


The book covers events from the year 1763 AD to 1789 AD. These years cover from the end of the French & Indian war, the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War, up through the Constitutional Convention and general acceptance of the American Constitution.


Through these topics, Prof. MiddleKauff has tried to look at the roots of the revolution and the consequences of the war. This attempts to place the war in a larger context, helping the reader to comprehend how other events in Europe influenced the American colonist to the point of war. The approach also gives the reader some suggested ideas of how the foundations of the United states of American were laid, not just in the political domain, but also the cultural and economic domains as well.


The chapters covering the war do not start till page 255. In attempting to lay a foundation for the war, the author covers many events and persons. He discusses the elements of King George III’s reign, which started in 1760, and how this began to shift royal policies toward the colonies. By this point the 13 colonies had existed for over a century so were a well established society.


Prof. Middlekauff lays out how the colonies disgruntled reaction to these policy changes were the first embers of revolution. Yet, the author does not bias in favor of the colonials. He shows why many of those royal policies were taken in reaction to budgetary difficulties the British government was having after several years of fighting European wars.


The war is covered in excellent detail up through page 570. His analysis of the war looks at the battles, strategy of each side, and the personalities of the major leaders. Once the War of Independence started to pull in European allies in France and Spain, the author attempts to layout why those nations went to war, how France favored the colonial cause, but Spain was more ambivalent toward the American’s cause.


Prof Middlekauff then spends a 150 pages laying out the aftermath of the war, and the struggles for the 13 colonies to try and form a proper central government. This goes through elements of the Constitutional convention, why it was called, and the debates on the ratification of the American Constitution.


Overall, this is an excellent but lengthy read on one of the most pivotal event of modern history, the founding of the United States of America.


glorious cause cover

The Scottish poet Robert Burns

Now a light heartened cultural post:

As we move solidly into the holidays with Halloween merely days away, let’s look beyond to a tradition that has become a stable of New YEar’s Eve around the English speaking world, and that is the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

Many singers know the first verse well:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.”

Below the Scottish Youtuber Mosco Moon explains how the Scots see this celebrated poet of their country.

And for the rest of the of the song:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.


For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.


And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago

And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.


We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.


We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.


And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.


#Scotland #Scots #NewYear #NewYearEve #UK #Britain #Celtic #poetry





Does Odin’s title mean Allfather


Dr. Crawford discusses how the title interpretation for Alfǫðr given in the Prose Eddas for Odin/Wodan/Wotan/Othann might not be corrected. Instead of meaning All Father it might mean something closer to All Orderer.
The Germanic myths play such a large part in Anglic culture because of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England in the 600s, followed by the Danish Great Pagan Army of the Viking Era.
These myths, legends, cultures, and events would go on to inspire many later English creative things such as Dr. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth stories. Tolkien’s own notes show how the Rohann social and martial structure was inspired by aspects of the old Ango-Saxon culture of post Roman Britain.
#Nordic #mythology #Odin #Anglic #Britian #English

Past and Present discussions of closer ties among the English speaking world

This idea has gotten bounced around for over a hundred years. The 19th century saw the idea of the Imperial Federation suggested. The late 20th century saw talk of the Anglosphere. And there is suggestions of the CANZUK International in the past decade.

Either way there are common cultural roots between all the nations that make up the Anglic Civilization. They have close military, diplomatic, and cultural ties. It is an easy step for people to try and imagine closer commercial and political ties.


Roman Politics

To many modern people, the ancient politics of Roman seem archaic and even arcane. But such unique systems of politics where various interests were represented by checks and balances, with complex systems of power sharing, were inspirations to the American Founding Fathers when they were first trying to create a government for the United States.


Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.