"Tommy" is an 1890 poemby Rudyard Kipling, reprinted in his 1892 Barrack-Room Ballads . The poem addresses the ordinary British soldier of Kipling's time in a sympathetic manner. It is written from the point of view of such a soldier, and contrasts the treatment they receive from the general public during peace and during war.
The Tommy of the poem is Tommy Atkins, a generic slang name for a common British soldier. A term of uncertain origin, the name "Thomas Atkins" was used in nineteenth century War Office manuals as a placeholder name to demonstrate how forms should be filled out.In popular use, "Thomas" became the more familiar "Tommy". (In the second volume of her biography of the 1st Duke of Wellington (Wellington the Years of the Sword and its sequel) Elizabeth Longford suggests that the Duke was sent a draft paybook to approve and the Duke crossed out the original placeholder name and substituted the name of Thomas Atkins, a private in the 33rd Foot and gives some details of the man's service. She asserts that the original paybook was still in existence when she wrote the books in the 1970's)
The poem is written in a colloquial style of English,and comprises five verses of eight lines each. The second half of each verse begins with a variation of the refrain "it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that".
The narrator is a British soldier named Tommy Atkins. In the poem, the soldier talks about the respectful way he is treated by others when he is needed to fight a war and presents it as a bitter contrast against the poor treatment he receives when he is not.For example, he laments being refused service by a pub owner for being a "redcoat".
— lines 5-6
Tommy rejects both sides of this duality, saying that he and his fellow soldiers are neither "thin red 'eroes" nor "blackguards", but just ordinary men. The poem ends with a suggestion of change. The soldier calls for those who talk of improving things for soldiers to take action, and reminds the reader that "Tommy" is well aware of the way he is treated.
T. S. Eliot included the poem in his 1941 collection A Choice of Kipling's Verse .
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work.
This is a bibliography of works by Rudyard Kipling, including books, short stories, poems, and collections of his works.
"Gunga Din" is an 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling set in British India. The poem is much remembered for its final line: "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din".
"If—" is a poem by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), written circa 1895 as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson. It is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism. The poem, first published in Rewards and Fairies (1910), ch. 'Brother Square-Toes,' is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet's son, John.
Tommy Atkins is slang for a common soldier in the British Army. It was certainly well established during the nineteenth century, but is particularly associated with the First World War. It can be used as a term of reference, or as a form of address. German soldiers would call out to "Tommy" across no man's land if they wished to speak to a British soldier. French and Commonwealth troops would also call British soldiers "Tommies". In more recent times, the term Tommy Atkins has been used less frequently, although the name "Tom" is occasionally still heard; private soldiers in the British Army's Parachute Regiment are still referred to as "Toms".
Peter Franklyn Bellamy was an English folk singer. He was a founding member of The Young Tradition but also had a long solo career, recording numerous albums and touring folk clubs and concert halls. He committed suicide in 1991.
The Barrack-Room Ballads are a series of songs and poems by Rudyard Kipling, dealing with the late-Victorian British Army and mostly written in a vernacular dialect. The series contains some of Kipling's most well-known work, including the poems "Gunga Din", "Tommy", "Mandalay", and "Danny Deever", helping consolidate his early fame as a poet.
"Fuzzy-Wuzzy" is a poem by the English author and poet Rudyard Kipling, published in 1892 as part of Barrack Room Ballads. It describes the respect of the ordinary British soldier for the bravery of the Hadendoa warriors who fought the British army in the Sudan and Eritrea.
The Thin Red Line is American author James Jones's fourth novel. It draws heavily on Jones's experiences at the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse during World War II's Guadalcanal campaign. The author served in the United States Army's 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.
"Danny Deever" is an 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling, one of the first of the Barrack-Room Ballads. It received wide critical and popular acclaim, and is often regarded as one of the most significant pieces of Kipling's early verse. The poem, a ballad, describes the execution of a British soldier in India for murder. His execution is viewed by his regiment, paraded to watch it, and the poem is composed of the comments they exchange as they see him hanged.
"The Last of the Light Brigade" is a poem written in 1890 by Rudyard Kipling echoing – thirty-six years after the event – Alfred Tennyson's famous poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. Employing synecdoche, Kipling uses his poem to expose the terrible hardship faced in old age by veterans of the Crimean War, as exemplified by the cavalry men of the light brigade who charged at the Battle of Balaclava. It describes a visit by the last twenty survivors of the charge to Tennyson to reproach him gently for not writing a sequel about the way in which England was treating its old soldiers. Some sources treat the poem as an account of a real event, but other commentators class the destitute old soldiers as allegorical, with the visit invented by Kipling to draw attention to the poverty in which the real survivors were living, in the same way that he evoked Tommy Atkins in "The Absent Minded Beggar".
"The Absent-Minded Beggar" is an 1899 poem by Rudyard Kipling, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan and often accompanied by an illustration of a wounded but defiant British soldier, "A Gentleman in Kharki", by Richard Caton Woodville. The song was written as part of an appeal by the Daily Mail to raise money for soldiers fighting in the Second Boer War and their families. The fund was the first such charitable effort for a war.
"Mandalay" is a poem by Rudyard Kipling, written and published in 1890, and first collected in Barrack-Room Ballads, and Other Verses in 1892. The poem is set in colonial Burma, then part of British India. The protagonist is a Cockney working-class soldier, back in grey restrictive London, recalling the time he felt free and had a Burmese girlfriend, now unattainably far away.
A gentleman ranker is an enlisted soldier who may have been a former officer or a gentleman qualified through education and background to be a commissioned officer. It suggests that the signer was born to wealth and privilege but disgraced himself and so has enlisted as a common soldier serving far from the society that now scorns him. Compare to remittance man, often the black sheep of a "good" family, paid a regular allowance to stay abroad, far from home, where he cannot embarrass the family.
Harry Ricketts is a poet, biographer, editor, anthologist, critic, academic, literary scholar and cricket writer. He has written biographies of Rudyard Kipling and of a dozen British First World War poets.
On the Road to Mandalay is a song by Oley Speaks (1874–1948) with text by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).
The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses (1895) is the first collection of poems by Australian poet Banjo Paterson. It was released in hardback by Angus and Robertson in 1895, and features the poet's widely anthologised poems "The Man from Snowy River", "Clancy of the Overflow", "Saltbush Bill" and "The Man from Ironbark". It also contains the poet's first two poems that featured in The Bulletin Debate, a famous dispute in The Bulletin magazine from 1892-93 between Paterson and Henry Lawson.
"Boots" is a poem by English author and poet Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936). It was first published in 1903, in his collection The Five Nations.
A Choice of Kipling's Verse, made by T. S. Eliot, with an essay on Rudyard Kipling is a book first published in December 1941. It is in two parts. The first part is an essay by American-born British poet T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), in which he discusses the nature and stature of British poet Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). The second part consists of a selection of Kipling's poems made by Eliot.
Soldier, Soldier is a poem by Rudyard Kipling from Barrack-Room Ballads. The lyrics of the poem are not directly related to the traditional ballad "Soldier, soldier won't you marry me" and instead begin "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, Why don't you march with my true love?"