The trouble is in this fallen time no one can tell a good pastiche. Kipling’s conceit is to write this pastiche as if Chaucer was looking at cars and the new motor vehicle laws.
The Consolations of Memory
Done out of Boethius by Geoffrey Chaucer
— The Muse Among the Motors (1900-1930)
Blessed was our first age and morning-time. Then were no
waies tarren, ne no cars numberen, but each followed his owne
playinge-busyness to go about singly or by large interspaces,
for to leden his viage after his luste and layen under clene hedge.
Jangling there was not, nor the overtaking wheele, and all those
now cruel clarions were full-hushed and full-still. Then nobile
horses, lest they should make the chariots moveable to run by
cause of this new feare, we did not press, and were apayed by
sweete thankes of him that drave. There was not cursings ne
adventure of death blinded bankes betweene, but good-fellowship
of yoke-mates at ignorance equal, and a one pillar of dust cov-
ered all exodus…. But, see now how the blacke road hath
strippen herself of hearte and beauty where the dumbe lampe of
Tartarus winketh red, etc.