In the stupid early years of this century,
the blimps, having at last discovered someone who could be called a poet
and who was on their side, set Kipling on a pedestal, and some of his
more sententious poems, such as 'If', were given almost biblical status.
And yet the 'Fascist' charge has to be answered, because the first clue
to any understanding of Kipling, morally or politically, is the fact that
he was NOT a Fascist.
George Orwell: Rudyard Kipling -- Index page
Eliot should be so much on the defensive in the
long essay with which he prefaces this selection of Kipling's poetry,
but it was not to be avoided, because before one can even speak about
Kipling one has to clear away a legend that has been created by two sets
of people who have not read his works.