KIPLING, RUDYARD. Autograph manuscript signed ("Rudyard Kipling from a bad memory"), a fair copy of "A Saint Helena Lullaby," his poem on the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Hill, Stratford-on-Avon, n.d. 2 pages, small 4to, stationery with imprinted address at top of first page, minute tears at edges, otherwise in fine condition.
KIPLING'S NAPOLEONIC LULLABY
An attractively penned fair copy of the full 8 four-line stanzas of Kipling's wistful poem on Napoleon, the first stanza reading: "How far is Saint Helena from a child at play? --What makes you want to wander there, with all the world between? Oh, mother call him to you, or else he'll run away. (No one thinks of winter, when the grass is green.)" The first line of each following stanza evokes a key moment in Napoleon's rise and fall: "How far is Saint Helena from a fight in Paris street?," "...from the field of Austerlitz?," "...from an Emperor of France?," "...from the Cape of Trafalgar?," "...from the Beresina ice?," and "...from the field of Waterloo?", concluding: "How far is Saint Helena from the gates of Heaven's grace? That no one knows --that no one knows, & no one ever will. But -- fold his hand across his breast & cover up his face. And after all your trapesing, child, lie still." The poem was first published in the periodical, The Delineator, August 1910, and was first collected in Rewards and Fairies (1910) along with "If."
Provenance: Written by the poet at the request of the grandmother of the present owner.