Kipling for the new year.

This is not in the standard collection of Kipling. I found it in a paper by Karim in jstor.

With New Year’s Day on the horizon, many people will set out to make a list of resolutions for 2018. On January 1st, 1887, Rudyard Kipling explored the human desire to make New Year’s resolutions in an uncollected poem published in the Civil and Military Gazette.

Enamul Karim introduces the second printing of Kipling’s poem “New Year’s Resolutions,” arguing that Kipling’s sentiments were still relevant because “the poem captures a universal human trait.”

In seven short stanzas, readers experience the trials and tribulations that come with resolution writing. We accompany Kipling on a journey that begins by giving up a handful of vices including alcohol, gambling, flirting, and smoking. But as he proposes each resolution (one per stanza), he quickly ends each with two sentences reneging on and justifying some exceptions to the rules.

It is saved now, from the second printing, and may be of utility next New Year. Because resolutions, as Kipling notes, fail.

New Year’s Resolutions

I am resolved throughout the year
To lay my vices on the shelf;
A godly, sober course to steer
And love my neighbours as myself-
Excepting always two or three
Whom I detest as they hate me.

I am resolved – that whist is low –
Especially with cards like mine –
It guts a healthy Bank-book – so
These earthly pleasures I resign,
Except – and here I see no sin –
When asked by others to “cut in”.

I am resolved – no more o’ dance
With ingenues – so help me Venus!
It gives the Chaperone her chance
For hinting Heaven knows what between us.
The Ballroom and the Altar stand
Too close in this suspicious land.
(N.B.) But will I (here ten names) abandon?
No, while I have a leg to stand on!

I am resolved – to sell my horses.
They cannot stay, they will not go;
They lead me into evil courses
Wherefore I mean to part with – No!
Cut out that resolution – I’ll
Try Jilt to-morrow on the mile.

I am resolved – to flirt no more,
It leads to strife and tribulation;
Not that I used to flirt before,
But as a bar against temptation.
Here I except (cut out the names)
Perfectly Platonic flames.

I am resolved – to drop my smokes,
The Trichi has an evil taste;
I cannot buy the brands of Oakes,
But, lest I take a step in haste,
And so upset my health, I choose a
“More perfect way” in pipes and Poona.

I am resolved – that vows like these,
Though lightly made, are hard to keep;
Wherefore I’ll take them by degrees,
Lest my back-slidings make me weep.
One vow a year will see me through;
And I’ll begin with Number Two.

Rudyard Kipling

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Greg Taylor
Greg Taylor
25 days ago

Real life.

Will S.
27 days ago

Great! 🙂