I came across a poem on a forum, attributed to Rudyard Kipling called "THE WRATH OF THE AWAKENED SAXON" (the title seems to be often posted in caps).

A Google search indicates that where posted, this is always attributed to Kipling. My skepticism comes from the fact that it's almost exclusively posted (and attributed to Kipling) by... very politically motivated individuals. Searching through several lists that claim to be comprehensive collections of his work, none of them seem to include this poem. Is this poem deliberately omitted due to possibly objectionable content (unlikely due to him being controversial anyway), or was this written by somebody else and attributed to Kipling?

This website resists my attempts at formatting, so here is the top result for the poem (on startpage anyway), with a website name that makes me doubt its neutrality:

http://www.europeanamericansunited.org/school1/Fiction/kipling/awakened.htm

And here is a copy of the poem:

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy -- willing to wait.
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low.
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show.
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud.
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddently bred.
It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date.
That the Saxon began to hate.

I really don't care about the politics of the posters, but if anybody has actual information on this poem's authorship it would be appreciated. I already heavily doubt that he wrote this poem.

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The poem has been altered from what Kipling actually wrote.

You can find the original here on Project Gutenberg — in A Diversity of Creatures, by Rudyard Kipling (1917).

The original title was The Beginnings. And all the instances of the English in Kipling's poem have been replaced by the Saxon. For instance (quote can be seen on WikiSource as well):

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the English began to hate.

became

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

To put the poem into context, Kipling wrote it during World War I, probably after the death of his son John Kipling in that war.

  • 5
    There is no need to resort to !@#$%^&* Google Books, it's available at Project Gutenberg. Do you have any idea who changed "English" to "Saxon", or what was the point of the change? – user14111 Aug 8 '17 at 4:20
  • This makes sense, the poem sounded too much like Kipling to be a total forgery. – Rusty Aug 9 '17 at 6:20
  • 1
    @SZN: Maybe there isn't any difference in Gaelic, but there might be in the psuedo-history promulgated by adherents of the alt-right. (I'm not about to start reading their stuff to find out whether there is.) – Peter Shor Dec 27 '17 at 13:40
  • 4
    @SZN: If you think there isn't any significance to the change, then why on earth did anybody make it? Kipling wrote the poem during WW I, probably after his son died in the war. And what he intended it to mean was that the English would no longer tolerate the atrocities of the Germans. By "Saxon", the alt-right mean "white", and the ones to hate are the minorities. See this answer. It's not a trivial change. – Peter Shor Dec 27 '17 at 16:45
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    @SZN: The alt-right uses Saxon instead of white man because if they used white man, everybody would realize how offensive and bigoted they were. Whereas if they use coded language that only they can understand, people are less likely to get upset. – Peter Shor Jul 21 at 15:30

I have read a printed version of the Saxon version in the late 1980's. I do not know who changed it or when, but it was around before the "alt-right" came into existence as a recognized thing. Possibly it was changed by a pre-"alt-right" political author with similar views. I like both versions. I was not aware that what I had read was not the original until recently, so it is a challenge to think of it as English instead of Saxon for me. I don't see anything nefarious in it. Poetry, myths, folk tales and even famous literature has always gradually morphed over time as views and language changes. I still like to know the original, but change is unavoidable.

  • 3
    Welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. Please be aware that this is a question & answer site that expects fact-based answers, not a forum for posting personal opinions that don't answer the question. – Christophe Strobbe Feb 14 at 19:20
  • 1
    If they had said white man instead of Saxon, would you see anything nefarious? Saxon is the alt-right's code for white man. – Peter Shor Jul 26 at 0:36

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