Another bit on Wilfred Scawen Blunt

He was also a poet. His most famous work is Satan Absolved from 1899, which has a wonderful little section composed as a sort of response to Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden. Not to linger on the subject of Kipling’s appreciation for imperialism, Scawen Blunt’s take on the subject is this:

The ignoble shouting crowds, the prophets of their Press,
Pouring their daily flood of bald self-righteousness,
Their poets who write big of the “White Burden.” Trash!
The White Man’s Burden, Lord, is the burden of his cash.
—There. Thou hast heard the truth. Thy world, Lord God of Heaven,
Lieth in the hands of thieves who pillage morn and even.

It goes without saying that this is miles away from Kipling’s idea of the white man’s burden, and the still-current view of the “white man” (Western nations) as the carrier of “civilization” in the form of democracy, in a process which is at best a sort of blind attempt to spread enlightenment through brutality, and at worst something much darker.


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