The White Man’s Burden

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Here is a hodge-podge of the White Man’s Burden, including imperialism, alcohol, women, in-laws, war, clothing, taxes, education, politicians and even himself!

THE POET’S CALL

“We Ask American Manhood What Its First Duty in This Matter Is”

There was a ringing poem of Kipling’s printed in the News yesterday. Like much of his verse, it has the searching quality. It cannot be evaded. The same stern logic that speaks through his poem “An American” that speaks through his “Song of the English” and through his “Recessional,” speaks through this, “The White Man’s Burden:”

Take up the White Man’s Burden —
Ye dare not stoop to less —
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Through all this time of uncertainty, this time in which the American people apparently are halting in their course, there is one great characteristic element in the situation which cannot be explained away, and which, as the poet seems to reveal with prophetic insight, is not going to be dodged, unless to our everlasting degradation, and that is the responsibility which has been thrust upon us. It has the double quality. It is not something we sought. It is something that sought us. For years we had seen the suffering of a helpless people at our very doors until we could almost arraign ourselves for cruel indifference. Finally, with as pure a motive as ever a nation undertook anything, we attempted to relieve that suffering.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” we were just where we find ourselves today. We had crushed the remnant of Spain’s authority in the Philippines, driven her from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Never, we believe, has history recorded an instance in which a nation was confronted with such responsibility so clearly without premeditation, or intention of its own, as in this instance. With no desire to say a word for expansion or against expansion, we ask American manhood, we ask the higher self of this land, what its full duty in the matter is. The poet asks it with searching inquiry:

Take up the White Man’s burden!
Have done with childish days —
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.

Indianapolis News.

The Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona) Feb 18, 1899

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Take up the white man’s burden
Lift up the white man, too,
He has dallied with the booze can
And a small bottle or two.
He has fallen down by the wayside;
Far away from his own abode;
It seems that the white man’s burden
Is a very unwieldy load.

Take up the white man’s burden
And help the poor chap to stand,
Once  he possessed his senses
And had a pull in the land;
Once he was upright and sober,
Was able to talk and to think,
But the war with the Filipinos
Has driven the white man to drink.

Take up the white man’s burden
And bear it away to a cell,
‘Twill be better away from the rumsters
Who would aid it to trip and fall;
Who gloat o’er the bond i? that feller
The slaves of King Alcohol.

Take up the white man’s burden
When the maudlin night is o’er,
When the head of the suff’ring white man
With expansion’s swelled and sore;
Take the victim to his fireside
Where a broomstick’s lying in wait
And then if you know your business
You’ll escape ere it is too late.

— Bradford Era.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Feb 14, 1899

***

***

Wow, Mr. Henderson, tell us how you really feel:

OUR “WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.”

[With no Apologies to R. Kipling.]

[By W.J. Henderson.]

“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
What hollow words are these?
‘Tis the croak of the ink-pot raven
That flits on the seven seas.
“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Why, who are you to prate
To those who swept the desert
From Maine to the Golden Gate?

Who gnawed the crusts of famine
Beneath Virginia skies,
Till the white man’s blood ran water,
But never the white man’s eyes?
“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Who set their backs to the main,
And sent the sons of the forest
To skulk on the treeless plain?

Who harried the fiends of torture,
And gave their sons to fight
With the poisoned arrow by daytime,
The brank and the knife by night?
Who shackled the scalp-locked chieftains,
And bade them abide in peace,
And housed them and clothed them and taught them,
And gave them the land’s increase?

Who fondled their sons and daughters
and showed them the way of life,
While their fathers crept out of the mountains
To flood the valleys with strife?
Got look at the long, red roster
Of dead in our rank and file;
Yet we nurture and pray and are waiting
At Hampton and Carlisle.

Who struck the fetters of thralldom
From off the limbs of the limbs of the slave,
And thundered the anthem of freedom
Through cloister and choir and nave?
We gave the blood of our fathers —
We children who cast out Spain —
To pay white debt to the black man,
and we split our home in twain.

“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Gods! was a Lincoln’s death
The pause of a life of shadow,
The end of an empty breath?
An era of white men’s burdens
Ran out with that one life’s sand,
And the sweat of that day is yet heavy
On the brow of our southern land.

“Take up the White Man’s BUrden!”
Oh, well have we borne our share
Till our heart-strings cracked with the straining;
But we knew not how to despair.
And now if the load has grown greater,
Well, we have grown greater, too.
We’ll tread our measure in South and East,
And we’ll ask no help of you.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Feb 17, 1899

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
A man asked me today
“I hear so much about it,
What is it, anyway?
Is it debt, or money, or a jag,
That a burden makes of life,
Or — his voice dropped to a whisper —
“Does it mean his wife?”

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
About the first is clothes,
He starts in life quite minus,
As everybody knows.
But soon begins a struggle
To get the latest style,
And when they’re bought and paid for
To wear them with a smile.

Another of his burdens,
And one that’s hard to bear,
Is getting proper food to eat,
Which requires greatest care.
To all the cook’s enticements,
To all the pastry’s lures,
He falls a willing victim —
Then takes dyspepsia cures.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
Go ask the plumber bold,
The iceman and the coal man
Who revel in the cold.
The funny man and the poet,
The politician shrewd,
The deadbeat and his mother-in-law,
The masher and the dude.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
The war inquiry boards,
The yowlers ‘gainst expansion,
The yellow journal hordes.
The only thing surprising
That cause for wonder gives,
Is how, ‘neath all his burdens,
The average white man lives.

— Topeka Capital.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 21, 1899

***

Here, let me relieve you of that turkey, I mean burden:

***

Someone isn’t very fond of his wife’s family:

ANOTHER VERSION.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And blow in your hard-earned tin
For codfish and canned tomatoes
To fatten your wife’s lean kin;
Her aunts and her wicked uncles
Are coming to drive you wild;
These half-starved, sullen people,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And fill your house with bunks,
That kinfolks may sleep in comfort;
They’re coming with bags and trunks.
They’re coming to stay all summer,
To die in your yard next fall —
These half-shot, sullen people,
Half stomach and half gall.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And sit on the porch and swear,
For kinfolks will use the sofa,
And loaf in your easy chair.
They’ll cut all the pies and doughnuts,
And you must subsist on prunes —
These fine-haired, silken kinfolks,
Half pelicans and half loons.

Thrown down the white man’s burden,
And get a breech-loading dog,
And mangle the first relation
(Half crocodile and half hog)
Who comes with his ten valises
And seventeen tourist trunks
To eat up your canned provisions
And sleep in your ill-spared bunks.

— Atchison Globe.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 28, 1899

Below, the women’s libbers jump on the parody bandwagon:

THE LADY SPEAKS.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And put yoru own away;
‘Tis only right that woman
Should run affairs today;
We want to sit in congress,
We’re bound to be supreme
In everything that’s going,
And that’s no idle dream.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And drive him from the scene;
He’s growing pale and puny,
And “parts his hair between.”
Come on, O sturdy sisters,
Let’s show slow-going man
How we would run the nation
On the bargain-county plan.

— Exchange.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 4, 1899

One of the TRUE White Man’s Burdens:

“THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.”

(Bjorge Djenison.)

What is the “White Man’s Burden?”
It surely can’t be coons;
Though Kipling oft avers it is
In very rhythmic tunes.

What is the white man’s burden?
The preacher thinks it’s sin,
The poor man thinks it’s poverty,
The banker thinks it’s tin.

What is the white man’s burden?
The coward thinks it’s fear,
The brave man thinks it’s bravery,
The brewer thinks it’s beer.

What is the white man’s burden?
To the question will return,
Perchance, by often asking,
The truth we may yet learn.

What is the white man’s burden?
The fat man thinks it’s girth,
The lean man thinks it’s leanness,
The joker thinks it’s mirth.

What is the white man’s burden?
The mourner thinks it’s grief,
The soldier thinks it’s discipline,
But Alger thinks it’s beef.

What is the white man’s burden?
The aged think it’s years,
The youngster suffers for his youth,
The weeping with their tears.

What is the white man’s burden?
Ere he’s laid upon the shelf
Ere Father Time has cut him down,
He’ll know it is himself.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 15, 1899

***

Still a burden after all these years:

This one is kind of amusing:

GETS COLTISH AT ONE HUNDRED TEN

Indian Stumbles When Attempting to Take up the White Mans’ Burden

Captain Jones fell from grace yesterday at the age of 110 years. He assimilated too much liquid refreshment and was gently escorted to the city bastile although the police declare he felt younger than ever.

According to the declaration of Chief Hillhouse, this is the first time Captain Jones, a redman, native of Nevada, has ever been “pinched” or even known to take a drink. He is known about the city because of his appearance with his wife on the streets dispensing pictures to those who will buy.

At the age of 110 which he gave at headquarters, his qualities of absorption seem unimpaired although he was found slightly wanting when it came to carrying the white man’s burden.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Nov 10, 1913

I think it could be said that  we stepped up and took on that burden and then some:

“The White Man’s Burden.”

Rudyard Kipling recently told an American visitor in London that when he wrote “The White Man’s Burden” he had America in mind, not Great Britain. America’s isolation has now ceased. She is responsible with the other nations who helped whip Germany for the orderly and safe conduct of the world. She must take upon her own shoulders a large share of the burden. If this means additional privileges it means also vastly augmented responsibilities. Upon England and America together rests the chief duty of a decent place in which to live and work.

— Lothrop Stoddard in the World’s Work.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 3, 1919

The most painful (and never ending) of the burdens:

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

Taxes
More taxes
And some more taxes.

The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) Sep 22, 1933

And golf!

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One Response to “The White Man’s Burden”

  1. More of the “White Man’s Burden” « YesterYear Once More Says:

    […] White Man’s Burden post. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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