Pompano Beach, Florida – Having tucked a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book into our Safari bag in advance of things to come. Expecting alligators (possibly crocs) long legged birds, possibly, a nocturnal panther as we will–later–venture into the Florida Everglades. And wanting to pursue what an 1898 London Book Review applauded, as ” Kipling’s Jungle Book carries us into a new wonderland. Where the spell is never broken; Mowgli (the man cub) learns the secrets of the jungle. Where a definite power of gentleness develops with the jungle’s creatures.” While an 1898 edition of the Atlantic monthly heralded Kipling this way. “This fine British author has really done something for us. He’s made us aware of the substance that connects our earthly cousins the animals. Jungle Book is truly a far reaching book. It looks brazenly to the future.”
And, having a temporary residence in what we’re calling our Kipling Cottage at Pompano; I was fortunate in meeting with a vacationing professor from Clemson University as we looked at Victorian writers and poets.
Brought forward is that Kipling (1865-1936) did meet with another esteemed poet everyone knows as Robert Browning (1812-1889). They had come to meet in London. May even have shared the following work (Sea morning) by Browning. Wherein Browning describes “a path of gold” before sailors at sea. Interesting to note Browning was born in 1812 a year of strife between the United States and a newly developing Canada to the North. While here we are, in this 21st century, aligning a few travel stories with English author Rudyard Kipling who becomes one of our themes on this expedition. Also having copied out, this week, a very short piece by Browning. Where these two former poets of another era assume a little space and time with us on what is still referred to as South Florida’s Gold Coast.
It was, besides, a fine Kipling reflection when I mentioned to the Clemson English teacher how our Legionnaires, in Thunder Bay, honoured Kipling in reading his classic poem IF. In commemorating this last year’s 100th Anniversary of World War One.
IF was penned for Kipling’s son John who had enlisted in the Allied front on continental Europe. It has such an unrelenting never-give up attitude. So much so it has gained a reputation being used at Presidential inaugurations, Royal Celebrations and the Olympics being shown on global networks.
But, here is Browning’s attractive rendering peering across salt water as he took ships to Italy. Browning personified a vignette from his voyages this way.
Round the cape of a sudden came the sea, And the sun looked over the mountain’s rim: And straight was path of gold for him, And the need of a world of men for me.
Both Browning and Kipling wrote in an age where the Great British Empire gave their writers and artists a chance to feel blessed. As well the greater the Empire’s success, the more blessed, again, its creators felt.