Au Revoir

 A Valentine; A Song of St. Valentine


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


There is a version handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1; for details of the notebooks see Rutherford p. 24. There is another handwritten version in the Huntington Library with the title “A Song of St. Valentine”, and a subheading To A.E.W. , and ending ‘With the Compliments of the Printer’s Devil’, dated 14 February 1884. This seems to have been sent as a valentine message to a friend, as yet unidentified.

The poem was published in the Civil and Military Gazette on 12 August 1887, under the title “Au Revoir”.
It was not collected by Kipling but is to be found in Rutherford (p. 212) and Pinney (p. 1864).

The Poem

The Feast of St Valentine, February 14th, has been celebrated in England since the 18th Century as a time when people send romantic greetings – called ‘valentines’ – to their loved ones, often anonymously.

The handwritten versions of the fourth verse begin:

There is one greeting for all
One salutation.

They also have ‘promise’ or ‘triumphs’ for ‘Pageant’ in verse 1, and ‘errant’ for ‘blue-eyed’ in verse 3.


©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved