Several white nationalist and neo-Nazi websites have published a modified version of Kipling's poem "The Beginnings." In the new version of the poem, the title was renamed to "THE WRATH OF THE AWAKENED SAXON" (often posted in all caps), and the word "English" was replaced with "Saxon". Even though the poem is modified, it is still attributed to Kipling. This poem came to my attention thanks to a question on our site.

In the comments of that question, one member of this site asked a very logical and interesting question: what is the point of changing "English" to "Saxon"? I thought that the question was a good one that didn't deserve to remain hidden in the comments section, so I'm asking it as a separate question.

One example of this poem can be found on europeanamericansunited.org (the URL is very telling). And here is a copy of the poem, if you understandably don't want to be visiting these websites:

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.

  • Neither of the answers have mentioned the title itself. I'd never seen this poem before I read this question, but I'd guess it was an attempt to make it a bit more martial. The original struck me as rather a sad poem and not really saying that it was a good thing. Perhaps the melodramatic "Wrath of the Awakened Saxon" was an attempt to make it look like it was more unambiguously in praise of Saxons hating people. Can anyone here comment on when the new title first appeared?
    – A. B.
    Feb 17, 2021 at 5:56

2 Answers 2


Given the kinds of websites that are publishing this poem, I don't think it's a stretch to say that this change has something to do with race or racism. And the thing about race and racism is that these ideas are inseparable from gender and reproduction.

There's a reason why so many states and countries worked very hard to pass anti-miscegenation laws--laws that segregated marriage. There's a reason why the justification given for lynching black men in the American south was that they had allegedly raped white women. Race is seen as something passed on through birth; according to racists, in order to maintain the white population, it's important for white men and women to marry and have white children. (Never mind that this is contradicted by modern genetics; ideology trumps science any day of the week). So if a white woman--who is seen as the rightful property of a white man--has a relationship with someone who is not white, to a racist that is problematic because they are allegedly causing the "white race" to decrease in population and die out.

This is certainly something that concerns the people who are publishing the poem. For example, the website europeanamericansunited.org has, next to pages titled "Diagramming a White America" and "Diversity is Our Weakness", a page called "Ethics and Mate Selection." The page is full of alleged scientific research about how humans "select mates" and advice for "selecting mates." The subtext--that "selecting a mate" is important to preserve the "white race" isn't stated explicitly in that particular page, but you don't have to look hard to find it:

Yes, the possibilities are endless; but those possibilities can only exist so long as the forces of Dissolution and Chaos do not succeed in their evil and genocidal plan to amalgamate the wonderful diversity of humanity into a medium-tan "United Nations Man" in their rapacious lust for power and all-consuming greed to unjustly expropriate the labor of others. They want an alienated unit of production and consumption with no history, no culture, and no future beyond created consumerist desires. A creature with no ancestry that can serve as a source of pride or a well of patriotism that could lead him to stand against his evil overlords. The medium-tan United Nations Man is NOT forward progress in the evolution of Life, but rather the surrender to entropy in the devolution to inert and homogenized matter. It is the opposite of life: it is DEATH.

Genocide is evil -- uniquely evil -- because of all the crimes that can possibly be committed, it is the ONLY crime that carries with it the very real potential of ending ALL human life. Genocide can take place through direct killing, to be sure, but can also take place through intermarriage. The disappearance of an entire race of humanity, whether a little at a time or all at once, is still the same thing. And the extinction of even ONE race of humanity could very likely mean the ultimate extinction of ALL of humanity. Chew on that for a minute.

(Taken from the page titled "The EAU View of Race"; I'm trying to avoid linking to these pages for obvious reasons, but you don't have to look hard to find the pages I'm quoting from).

To move on (finally) to a discussion of the actual poem, I think the best way to interpret the change from "the English" to "the Saxon" is that Saxon is a reference to the lineage of the "white race". Of the four words "White Anglo Saxon Protestant" (WASP is an acronym that stands for a particular group of white Americans), Saxon is the word that sounds the most like a historic group of people far off into the past. Referencing this far off ancestral group is referencing the idea of an unbroken chain of reproduction, a chain that must be continued at all cost. (As I've established in the previous paragraphs, this is something that the people publishing the poem find to be crucially important). It's not unlike a King or a Ruler basing their claim to power on the fact that they are descended from previous Kings or Rulers. The reference to the Saxons establishes whiteness' legitimacy--the "white race" has been around for a long time--and also references a need for whiteness to continue reproduce in the future.

  • 1
    "I'm trying to avoid linking to these pages for obvious reasons" - not obvious to me. What's wrong with linking directly to your source, even if it's a site you find distasteful? You're not advertising it by doing so.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 27, 2017 at 6:36
  • 1
    My conclusion--that this is a reference to the lineage of the "white race"--only works if you understand why this concept of lineage and reproduction is important to the people publishing the poem. Which is why I spent the majority of my answer explaining this.
    – user111
    Sep 27, 2017 at 13:39
  • @Randal'Thor I moved our conversation about your comment to chat, I left your original comment, since it is a critique of my answer.
    – user111
    Sep 27, 2017 at 23:26

My main guess is because the original intent of Kipling’s poem was to illustrate anti-German sentiment in the buildup to World War I (something Kipling was very much on board with).

These people who keep recirculating the wrath of the awakened Saxon are not anti-German, in fact many of them likely revel in their connection to Germanic culture. English is a national identity, limited only to the people from England really. Anglo as a term can start to encompass those in the Anglo-sphere, like North America and Australia/NZ.

But Saxon is vague, stresses the connection of Anglo people to Germany and the Germanic tribes, and can be seen as a blanket term to include all manner of white and specifically Northern European/Germanic Supremacists.

In short these racists want to be as all inclusive as possible with their bigotry

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! This seems like a good answer to the question, but do you have some evidence to back it up? E.g. for your first paragraph, is there a quote from Kipling to support this?
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 19, 2018 at 12:38
  • It wasn't the build-up to WWI. The poem was written in the middle of WW1, between 1915 and 1917, quite likely after Kipling's son had been killed in the war.
    – Peter Shor
    Jul 24, 2018 at 16:48
  • Whatever Kipling meant, when I read this answer I did go "Of course, why didn't I think of that?". Given that a lot of the websites using this poem are American, naturally it would be more appropriate for the poem not to be specifically about "the English". The alteration probably does appeal to fans of the ancient-Teutonic-master-race mythology too, but this is a very simple explanation.
    – A. B.
    Feb 17, 2021 at 5:30