Rudyard Kipling: Poems

Rudyard Kipling: Poems Character List

Gunga Din

The simple-minded and scantily-dressed water-carrier (or bhishti) from the poem of the same name, Gunga Din saves the life of the soldier narrating the poem but loses his own life. The soldier expresses his thanks and admiration for the steadfast Gunga Din.


The Afghan warrior in "Ballad of East and West," Kamal is powerful and wise. He steals the Colonel's mare and is followed by the Colonel's son into the desert. He shows the Colonel's son mercy and the two acknowledge respect for each other's courage and nobility. Kamal returns the mare and gives his own son as a companion to the Colonel's son.

The Colonel's son

Defending his father's honor, the Colonel's son pursues Kamal into the desert but is nearly killed by the effort. He and Kamal realize their commonalities in spite of their differences of race and background, and the Colonel's son tells Kamal he can keep the prized mare.

Danny Deever

The young soldier in the eponymous poem who is hung in the morning for shooting his comrade while he slept.


The young soldier who questions the sergeant as to why all of the soldiers are gathering outside; he is told that it is for the hanging of Danny Deever. Files is curious and saddened by the reality of Danny's death.

The Colour-Sergeant

The officer in "Danny Deever" who informs Files-on-Parade what is happening that morning of the hanging. He seems mournful, but maintains his stoicism.


A nickname given to the Beja warriors in the poem of the same name, the Fuzzy-Wuzzies were considered heathens by the British but also excellent fighters who matched or exceeded their own skills. By breaking through the infantry square, they earned the grudging respect of the British.

Narrator of "Mandalay"

A young English soldier who waxes poetic about the East, particularly Burma. He misses the clime and the smells and sights as well as a "Burma girl". He contrasts the pleasant, languid land with the cold rain and coarse women of London.


The boy mentioned in the poem "My Boy Jack" who has been lost at war. He is commonly assumed to refer to Kipling's own son John who died during WWI.

The Thousandth Man

The one man in the poem of the same name who will actually be a valuable and steadfast friend and who will stick to a man closer than a brother.

Tommy Atkins

A nickname for all the young British soldiers, Tommy in the eponymous poem laments the poor treatment of soldiers during peacetime and contrasts it with their acclaim and support during times of war. He is bitter and resentful.

The King

King George V, who in "The King's Pilgrimage" visits WWI memorials in France.

The Master-singer

From the poem "The Last of the Light Brigade"; intended to be Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote the 1854 poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade". The last twenty veterans of the charge, who have been treated most poorly by England, appeal to the poet to add another verse to his poem calling attention to their plight. Tennyson agrees and shames the English people with his new addendum.