Caroline Taylor

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


There is a typescript of this poem in Cornell University Library. It was written in the late summer of 1889, during Kipling’s stay with Mrs Edmonia Hill’s family in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

It is not collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford (p. 462) and Pinney (p. 1952).


Caroline Taylor was one of Edmonia’s two sisters. Kipling became engaged to her during his stay in Beaver in August 1889, though they broke up by the end of the year, when Kipling was in London and the sisters were on their way to India to rejoin Professor Hill.

Caroline had attempted to rake up the fallen leaves which lay deep on the paths round the college, of which her father, Dr. Taylor, was President. She over-tired herself, and Kipling improvised this poem while conversing with her father that afternoon.

The poem is an echo of the best-known poem of John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92),
“Barbara Frietchie”.


©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved