In 1897 the Kiplings settled in Rottingdean, a village on the British coast near Brighton. The outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the Boer War in 1899 turned Kipling’s attention to colonial affairs. He began to publish a number of solemn poems in standard English in the London Times. The most famous of these, “Recessional” (July 17, 1897), issued a warning to Englishmen to consider their accomplishments in the Diamond Jubilee year of Queen Victoria’s reign with humility and awe rather than pride and arrogance. The equally well-known “White Man’s Burden” (Feb. 4, 1899) clearly expressed the attitudes toward empire implicit in the stories in The Day’s Work (1898) and A Fleet in Being (1898). He referred to less highly developed peoples as “lesser breeds” and considered order, discipline, sacrifice, and humility to be the essential qualities of colonial rulers. These views have been denounced as racist, elitist, and jingoistic. But for Kipling, the term “white man” indicated citizens of the more highly developed nations, whose duty it was to spread law, literacy, and morality throughout the world.
During the Boer War, Kipling spent several months in South Africa, where he raised funds for soldiers’ relief and worked on an army newspaper, the Friend. In 1901 Kipling published Kim, the last and most charming of his portrayals of Indian life. But anti-imperialist reaction following the end of the Boer War caused a decline in Kipling’s popularity. When he published The Five Nations, a book of South African verse, in 1903, he was attacked in parodies, caricatures, and serious protests as the opponent of a growing spirit of peace and democratic equality. Kipling retired to “Bateman’s,” a house near Burwash, a secluded village in Essex
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