The Beginnings

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"The Beginnings" in A Diversity of Creatures

"The Beginnings" is a 1917 poem by the English writer Rudyard Kipling. The poem is about how the English people, although naturally peaceful, slowly become filled with a hate which will lead to the advent of a new epoch.

The first four stanzas have four lines each with alternate rhymes, while the fifth (and final) stanza has five lines. The last line of every stanza ends with "... the English began to hate". The context is the anti-German sentiment in Britain during World War I.[1][2] Kipling was known for never portraying Germans in a positive light, and had been the first to use the word "Hun" as a slur for Germans.[3]

The poem first appeared in Kipling's 1917 collection A Diversity of Creatures, where it accompanies the short story "Mary Postgate". The story had originally been published in 1915, but without the poem.[1]

An altered version of the poem has been spread online as "The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon". In the altered version, all instances of the word "English" have been replaced with "Saxon".[4]


  1. ^ a b Booth, Howard John (2011). The Cambridge Companion to Rudyard Kipling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 87. ISBN 9780521199728.
  2. ^ "Jingoism was only one front in Rudyard Kipling's war". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  3. ^ The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 65. ISBN 9780199282661.
  4. ^ Shor, Peter (2017-08-08). "Did Rudyard Kipling Write 'The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon'?". Stack Exchange. Retrieved 2017-09-15.

External links[edit]

Works related to "The Beginnings" at Wikisource