I Believe


(notes by Philip Holberton, drawing on the work of
Andrew Rutherford and Thomas Pinney)

the poem

[September 4th 2019]


There are two versions handwritten by Kipling in Notebooks 1 & 3, dated 9 May 1882. See Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks.

The poem was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 143, and Pinney p. 1652.

The Poem

This is a classical Shakespearean sonnet. Kipling wrote a number of love sonnets at about this time. This one is addressed to the spirit of Love, while most of the others are more openly addressed to Flo Garrard, with whom the young Kipling had become infatuated in the summer of 1880, when he was fourteen, and she a year older.

In Notebook 1 the last couplet reads:
O Love faint not, the end is very near,
That makes thy mistress by this woe more dear.


ęPhilip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved