April

Boating

The Pope of Rome he could not win
From pleasant meat and pleasant sin
These who, in honour’s hope, endure
Lean days and lives enforced pure.
These who, replying not, submit
Unto the curses of the Pit
Which he that rides (O greater shame!)
Flings forth by number not by name …
Could Triple Crown or Jesuit’s oath
Do what yon shuffle-stocking doth!

 

Notes on the text

 

boating In the collected version of this verse, Kipling headed it— more appropriately— ‘Rowing’. It is a scene of extreme effort on the river, more like training on the Thames than leisurely boating in Hyde Park. A modern coach would probably be riding a bicycle and shouting instructions through a megaphone.