Rudyard Kipling



Rudyard Kipling is buried in 'Poets' Corner', Westminster Abbey, London, England. He lies next to Charles Dickens.

Burial Stone of Rudyard Kipling
Photograph by Mike Reed

Kipling was born in Bombay in India and enjoyed an idyllic and spoilt childhood. However, at the age of six his parents sent him and his sister to school in England and they lodged at a house in Southsea with a uncaring woman who they were forced to call 'Auntie Rosa'. One of Auntie Rosa's many punishments was to stop Kipling reading (his first love) and as a result he took to reading in bad light which seriously exacerbated his short sightedness.

After attending the United Services College, Westward Ho! he returned to India (Lahore) where he worked as a journalist. He soon began to get poems and stories published in the newspaper and these were later collected in the form of Departmental Ditties (1886) and Plain Tales from the Hills (1888).

Kipling was a considerable poet who had a good ear for colloquial speech - as evidenced in poems such as Tommy and Danny Deever. His poetry was very popular with the general reading public and he was seen by many as the unofficial poet laureate. His perceived association with British imperialism has, recently, led to a decline in his reputation. However, his poems If  and The Way Through the Woods are regularly voted among the nation's favourite verse.

Kipling's son John was killed at the Battle of  Loos in the First World War, but his body and grave were never clearly identified - which left Kipling with a terrible sense of uncertainty.

Kipling was also a very talented children's author and he is remembered for works such as: The Jungle Book (1894), Just So Stories (1902), Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) and Kim (1937).

Rudyard Kipling

In 1895, following the death of Tennyson, Kipling refused to accept the Poet Laureateship. He also refused a knighthood and the Order of Merit, but in 1907 he became the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Kipling suffered a haemorrhage and died in a London hospital on the 18 January 1936 (his wedding anniversary.)

Like T.S.Eliot after him, he was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium. The burial of his ashes in Westminster Abbey was  overshadowed by the fact that King George V was laid in state on exactly the same day.

Far-called, our navies melt away;
  On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Ninevah and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

From  Recessional

Read more of Kipling's poems

Rudyard Kipling Society






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