'Unknown' by Rudyard Kipling

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Will you conquer my heart with your beauty; my sould going out from afar?
Shall I fall to your hand as a victim of crafty and cautions shikar?

Have I met you and passed you already, unknowing, unthinking and blind?
Shall I meet you next session at Simla, O sweetest and best of your kind?

Does the P. and O. bear you to meward, or, clad in short frocks in the West,
Are you growing the charms that shall capture and torture the heart in my breast?

Will you stay in the Plains till September -- my passion as warm as the day?
Will you bring me to book on the Mountains, or where the thermantidotes play?

When the light of your eyes shall make pallid the mean lesser lights I pursue,
And the charm of your presence shall lure me from love of the gay "thirteen-two";

When the peg and the pig-skin shall please not; when I buy me Calcutta-build clothes;
When I quit the Delight of Wild Asses; foreswearing the swearing of oaths ;

As a deer to the hand of the hunter when I turn 'mid the gibes of my friends;
When the days of my freedom are numbered, and the life of the bachelor ends.

Ah, Goddess! child, spinster, or widow -- as of old on Mars Hill whey they raised
To the God that they knew not an altar -- so I, a young Pagan, have praised

The Goddess I know not nor worship; yet, if half that men tell me be true,
You will come in the future, and therefore these verses are written to you.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Unknown: A Masterpiece by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, the legendary British writer, was famous for his masterful storytelling and prowess in poetry. In his timeless classic "Unknown," Kipling takes his readers on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, courage, and perseverance. This literary analysis delves deep into the themes and symbols of "Unknown," exploring the nuances of Kipling's writing style, language, and message.


"Unknown" is a narrative poem that tells the story of a soldier who finds himself lost in a foreign land. The soldier is unnamed, and we know nothing about his background or his past. As he wanders through the unknown forest, he is haunted by the fear and uncertainty of what lies ahead. He is alone, lost, and vulnerable, and every step he takes feels like a step towards his own demise.

As the soldier progresses through the forest, he encounters various obstacles that test his courage and resolve. He comes face to face with a pack of wolves, a raging river, and a treacherous mountain pass. Each challenge brings him closer to his breaking point, but he never gives up. Despite the odds stacked against him, the soldier finds the strength to press on, driven by an unrelenting desire to survive and find his way back home.

In the end, the soldier emerges victorious, having conquered his fears and overcome the obstacles that stood in his way. He returns home as a changed man, wiser and more resilient than ever before.


The poem "Unknown" is rich in themes that will resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. Some of the key themes of the poem include:

1. The Power of Perseverance

At its core, "Unknown" is a story about the power of perseverance. The soldier in the poem faces some of the most daunting challenges imaginable, yet he never gives up. His unwavering determination and perseverance in the face of adversity are what ultimately lead him to victory. Kipling's message is clear: no matter how difficult the road ahead may seem, we must never give up hope.

2. The Fear of the Unknown

Another central theme of "Unknown" is the fear of the unknown. The soldier in the poem is lost in an unfamiliar land, and every step he takes feels like a step into the great unknown. His fear is palpable, and it is this fear that drives him to keep moving forward. Kipling's message here is that sometimes, the only way to overcome our fears is to confront them head-on.

3. The Value of Self-Reliance

Throughout the poem, the soldier is entirely self-reliant. He must rely on his own wits, strength, and resourcefulness to survive. Kipling's message here is that the greatest strength we can have is the strength to rely on ourselves. The soldier's self-reliance allows him to overcome the challenges he faces and emerge victorious in the end.

4. The Explorations of Human Nature

The poem explores the depths of human nature, and how we respond when faced with adversity. It shows how even the strongest and bravest among us can be pushed to our limits, but also how we can find the strength within ourselves to overcome even the greatest obstacles.


The poem "Unknown" is full of symbols, each of which adds depth and meaning to the story. Some of the key symbols in the poem include:

1. The Forest

The forest is the central setting of the poem and serves as a symbol of the unknown. The soldier is lost in the forest and must navigate his way through its treacherous terrain. The forest represents the uncertain and unpredictable nature of life, and the soldier's journey through it symbolizes the journey we all take through the unknown.

2. The Wolves

The wolves the soldier encounters in the forest represent danger and uncertainty. They are a symbol of the threats that await us in the unknown, and of the fear that can consume us when faced with those threats.

3. The River

The river the soldier must cross represents the obstacles we all face in life. It is a symbol of the challenges that can seem insurmountable, but which we must find a way to overcome if we are to reach our destination.

4. The Mountain Pass

The mountain pass the soldier must navigate symbolizes the heights we can reach if we are willing to endure the struggles that stand in our way. It is a symbol of the rewards that await us if we are willing to persevere through the hardships we face.

Language and Style

Kipling's writing style in "Unknown" is powerful and evocative. He uses vivid imagery and descriptive language to bring the soldier's journey to life, and his use of repetition and rhyme gives the poem a rhythmic and almost musical quality.

Kipling also employs a variety of literary devices throughout the poem, including alliteration, metaphor, and personification. These devices serve to enhance the poem's themes and symbols, and to give the story a deeper, more nuanced meaning.


In "Unknown," Rudyard Kipling has crafted a masterpiece of poetry that speaks to the human spirit and the power of perseverance. Through the soldier's journey, Kipling explores the depths of human nature and the challenges we all face in life. His use of symbolism and language adds depth and meaning to the story, making "Unknown" a timeless classic that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Unknown: A Masterpiece by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, the renowned British author, poet, and journalist, is known for his exceptional literary works that have stood the test of time. One of his most celebrated poems is "Poetry Unknown," which was first published in 1895. This poem is a masterpiece that captures the essence of poetry and its impact on the human soul. In this article, we will delve into the depths of this poem and explore its themes, literary devices, and significance.

The poem "Poetry Unknown" is a tribute to the power of poetry and its ability to inspire, uplift, and transform the human spirit. Kipling begins the poem by describing poetry as a "strange and wondrous thing" that has the power to "lift the heart and soul on high." He goes on to say that poetry is like a "magic spell" that can transport us to another world and make us forget our troubles and worries.

The theme of the poem is the transformative power of poetry. Kipling believes that poetry has the ability to change us and make us better human beings. He says that poetry can "stir the blood and quicken the pulse" and make us feel alive. He also believes that poetry can help us to see the world in a new light and give us a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Kipling uses a variety of literary devices to convey his message in "Poetry Unknown." One of the most prominent devices he uses is imagery. He paints vivid pictures with his words, such as "the wild wind's way" and "the starry sky." These images help to create a sense of wonder and awe, which is central to the theme of the poem.

Another literary device that Kipling employs is repetition. He repeats the phrase "Poetry unknown" throughout the poem, which serves to emphasize the importance of poetry and its mysterious nature. This repetition also creates a sense of rhythm and musicality, which is fitting for a poem about the power of poetry.

Kipling also uses metaphor to convey his message. He compares poetry to a "magic spell" and a "golden key" that can unlock the secrets of the universe. These metaphors help to create a sense of enchantment and mystery, which is central to the theme of the poem.

The significance of "Poetry Unknown" lies in its message of hope and inspiration. Kipling believes that poetry has the power to uplift and transform us, and this message is as relevant today as it was when the poem was first published over a century ago. In a world that can often seem dark and hopeless, poetry can provide a glimmer of light and a sense of purpose.

In conclusion, "Poetry Unknown" is a masterpiece by Rudyard Kipling that captures the transformative power of poetry. Through vivid imagery, repetition, and metaphor, Kipling conveys his message of hope and inspiration. This poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry and its ability to uplift and transform the human spirit.

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