Saturday, April 24, 2010

Death Of Youth in Kipling's Epitaphs

Kipling's Epitaphs are interesting little poems. Short and sentimental, they all have a similar tone describing needless young death. I often find it difficult to cope with death, and these short poems give an insight into Kipling's personal feelings about war and death. "The Coward," is particularly striking, "I could not look on Death, which being known, / Men led me to him, blindfold and alone." Is death the coward, or is the narrator? A common theme in the epitaphs is the lack of choice, especially in, "The Beginner," where Kipling describes the death of his own son, "On the first hour of my first day / In the front trench I fell." Death comes for us all, but in these poems Kipling asks why so many young men must die for no reason.

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