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The last section of the Jungle Book is a song by the animals serving in the army in India, split into sections for each animal. For the first four sections the verses closely mirror well known tunes that could have been played by the army at the time, but is there any known tune (either composed by Kipling or borrowed from another song of the time period) that fits the final two sections?

"Elephants of the Gun-Teams" and "Gun-Bullocks" are set to the first two verses of The British Grenadiers:

ELEPHANTS OF THE GUN-TEAMS

WE LENT to Alexander the strength of Hercules,
The wisdom of out foreheads, the cunning of our knees.
We bowed our necks to service—they ne’er were loosed again,—
Make way there, way for the ten-foot teams
Of the Forty-Pounder train!

GUN-BULLOCKS

Those heroes in their harnesses avoid a cannon-ball,
And what they know of powder upsets them one and all;
Then we come into action and tug the guns again,—
Make way there, way for the twenty yoke
Of the Forty-Pounder train!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EDQBeRx0Iw

"Cavalry Horses" is set to Bonnie Dundee:

CAVALRY HORSES

By the brand on my withers, the finest of tunes
Is played by the Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons,
And it’s sweeter than ‘Stables’ or ‘Water’ to me,
The Cavalry Canter of ‘Bonnie Dundee!’
Then feed us and break us and handle and groom,
And give us good riders and plenty of room,
And launch us in column of squadron and see
The Way of the War-horse to ‘Bonnie Dundee!’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoIXTPLppd0

"Screw-Gun Mules" is set to The Lincolnshire Poacher:

SCREW-GUN MULES

As me and my companions were scrambling up a hill,
The path was lost in rolling stones, but we went forward still;
For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere,
And it’s our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!

Good luck to every sergeant, then, that lets us pick our road!
Bad luck to all the driver-men that cannot pack a load!
For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere,
And it’s our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5aow0x_u9I

However, "Commissariat Camels" and "All The Beasts Together" have no known tune that I could find. This is indicated in the song itself, as the camels even state that they don't have an official marching song like other sections of the army:

COMMISSARIAT CAMELS

We haven’t a camelty tune of our own
To help us trollop along,
But every neck is a hair-trombone
(Rtt-ta-ta-ta! is a hair-trombone!)
And this is our marching-song:
Can’t! Don’t! Shan’t! Won’t!
Pass it along the line!
Somebody’s pack has slid from his back,
’Wish it were only mine!
Somebody’s load has tipped off in the road—
Cheer for a halt and a row!
Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
Somebody’s catching it now!

ALL THE BEASTS TOGETHER

Children of the Camp are we,
Serving each in his degree;
Children of the yoke and goad,
Pack and harness, pad and load.
See our line across the plain,
Like a heelrope bent again,
Reaching, writhing, rolling far,
Sweeping all away to war!
While the men that walk beside,
Dusty, silent, heavy-eyed,
Cannot tell why we or they
March and suffer day by day.

Children of the Camp are we,
Serving each in his degree;
Children of the yoke and goad,
Pack and harness, pad and load.

Despite this, did Kipling have a tune in mind for the camels? And does the last section have a tune? I have found a tune composed for the words of the last verse from around 2017, but is there anything contemporaneous with the Jungle Book? (I'd also be interested if anyone has recorded the song using the known music; all the versions of it I can find online are mere recitations of the words, with no attempt to match them to their music.)

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  • Would [song-lyrics] be better than [poetry] here?
    – bobble
    Jul 8 at 14:52
  • I was wondering that, but the song lyrics tag seems to be about interpretation of the lyrics; Rudyard Kipling is better known as a poet, and the song is normally treated as a poem, I think.
    – Showsni
    Jul 8 at 15:15
  • If the song is generally understood as a poem, then that would be correct. But [song-lyrics] is not only for interpretation; it's a "type of work" catch-all tag, similar to [short-stories], [poetry], or [essays]. (At least, that's what I assumed)
    – bobble
    Jul 8 at 15:19
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The Kipling Society offers no indication that "Commissariat Camels" or "All the Beasts Together" have corresponding tunes.

In their page devoted to the "Parade Song", the same songs as indicated in the OP are given, with no suggestions for either of the final two songs.

Further, the very thorough "Musical Settings of Kipling’s Verse" lists all of the "Parade Songs" except the final two.

Given the source and the thoroughness of the research, it seems reasonable to conclude that no tune was intended for either "Commissariat Camels" or "All the Beasts Together".


FWIW, "All the Beasts Together" can be fit to "The Friendly Beasts" (YouTube). The song itself dates to the 12th century, but the familiar English lyrics were only written in the 1920s, so it's a stretch at best. (Wikipedia)

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The last verse is in trochaic tetrameter, and there are numerous hymns in this meter (see this list) and probably countless other songs which you could borrow the music from.

For example:

Christ from Whom All Blessings Flow, by Charles Wesley,

has the same meter.

Can we select one of these as the one which Kipling based the music on? Probably not ... as the other answer says, nobody has so far, and the clues to the music in the first four verses are very clear, so one suspects that Kipling may not have had a single song in mind that he based the last verse on.

The following lines from Christ from Whom All Blessings Flow have a few similarities with the lyrics of Kipling's last verse, but it's certainly not close enough to identify it as the inspiration.:

Jesus, we thy members are
...
Move and actuate and guide,
Diverse gifts to each divide;
Placed according to Thy will,
Let us all our work fulfill.

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  • Can you provide evidence for either of these being what was intended/what makes sense, beyond the meter? (As you note, there are "numerous" hymns with the same meter)
    – bobble
    Jul 9 at 20:30
  • @Bobbie: one of the verses from Christ from Whom All Blessings Flow might have been the inspiration for Kipling's lyrics, but this is pretty speculative.
    – Peter Shor
    Jul 13 at 15:24

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