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Tear Jerker / Rudyard Kipling

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  • The Roman Centurion's Song.
    Legate, I come to you in tears — My cohort ordered home!
    I've served in Britain forty years! What should I do in Rome?
    Here is my heart, my soul, my mind—the only life I know.
    I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go!
  • "My Boy Jack," about all the red tape surrounding his trying to get word of how his son died. (It's not directly about Kipling's son, who was an infantryman while the subject of the poem was a sailor, but it was certainly influenced by Kipling's experiences).
  • "The Power of the Dog" makes it clear that owning a dog will eventually break your heart:
    When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
    • So does "His Apologies":
      Master, pity Thy Servant! He is deaf and three parts blind.
      He cannot catch Thy Commandments. He cannot read Thy Mind.
      Oh, leave him not to his loneliness, nor make him that kitten's scorn.
      He hath had none other God than Thee since the year that he was born.
    • And then it gets worse: in the final verse the poor, sick, senile animal is begging his Lord — not merely his Master — to hurry up with the Lightning and make it all stop.
  • The entire novel of the Light That Failed. It follows a man named Dick who was raised in an abusive manner. He goes to war in the Soudan, returns to England broke. He has unrequited love with at least two women. He does find some success as an artist, but then he goes blind, due to having been grazed across the head by a blow he received during the war. Then he enters a second war in the Soudan, still blind, only to get shot in the head and killed.
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  • The later verses of "Gentlemen-Rankers" portray the Despair Event Horizon all too well.
    If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep,
    And all we know most distant and most dear,
    Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep,
    Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?
    When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters
    And the horror of our fall is written plain,
    Every secret, self-revealing on the aching whitewashed ceiling,
    Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain?
  • More than a few of the Plain Tales from the Hills turn out this way, such as "Lispeth," "Thrown Away," "Beyond the Pale," "A Bank-Fraud," "In the Pride of His Youth," and "The Story of Muhammad Din."