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We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,
We were melted in the furnace and the pit
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,
We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.
Rudyard Kipling talks about machines and how they are manufactured, along with a message for human beings in the poem 'The Secret Life of the Machines'. The poem is written in such a way that it appears as though the machines speak for themselves to the readers. From their perspective, it is the machines that speak about how they were made, their purpose, their take on human beings etc. The machines are personified in the poem as they are given lives, and they address the readers directly.
The first stanza speaks of how machines are made or created from scratch. Machines are just equipment made by human beings to make their jobs easier. Different machines are aligned to perform different tasks. In the earlier days, human beings did most of the labour manually. Especially during the 19th century, after the World wars, most countries started using machines profusely. In Britain, this wave was called Industrial Revolution. Various Industries, including the cotton mill, the sewing machine, Telegraph, Steam engine etc., were invented in this century. Before this period, men invented machines to destroy, such as machine guns, whereas in that period, machines aided human tasks.
Steam Engine
The machines begin from scratch by saying that they were first taken from the ore-bed and the mine. Ores are natural rocks from which the minerals needed, such as iron, is extracted. In order to make machines, raw materials are needed. It can also be extracted from mines, dug from underground passages. It is then heated in a furnace or the pit to melt the mineral to make it into the material. Once the material gets extracted and heated, it needs to get a form according to the expected task. It is wrought and hammered to get it into a shape. Machines like wheels, pulleys, and levers need to be hammered. Various processes like cutting, filing are made to make the tools perfect. The thickness and texture are gauged to fit to do the tasks.
Extraction of minerals
Melting of minerals in furnace
Words with difficult meaning:
Ore-bedA sequence of rocks with minerals
MineA deep passage underground with minerals
FurnaceAn enclosed fire and heat system to melt metals
WroughtTo do something with physical efforts
HammeredTo hit with a hammer
FiledTo rub off a fragment of metal from minerals
GaugedDetermining the thickness of the sheet metal
State Council of Educational Research and Training 2019. Term 1 English Standard - 10. The Secret of the Machines - Rudyard Kipling (pp. 148-152). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.