[September 20th 2019]
There are versions handwritten by Kipling in Notebooks 1& 3, with title “His Consolation”, dated 26 May 1882. A third version, with the title “Their Consolation”, was enclosed with a letter to Mrs. Tavenor Perry dated 28 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. 145, and Pinney p. 1656.
Mrs. Tavenor Perry was a family friend. When Kipling was at Westward Ho! and his mother in India, she was a kind of mother-substitute whom he addressed as ‘Mater’ in his letters from school.
One of a number of love-sonnets Kipling wrote about this time addressed to Flo Garrard, the breautiful young art student with whom the young Kipling had become infatuated in the summer of 1880, when he was fourteen, and she a year older.
This one looks towards the end of Life, when Death little tarrieth - will not wait long - and the lovers will understand that Love is stronger than all earthly Death.
'ere' in line 4 should read 'e’er' - short for ever as in the next line.
©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved