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


Versions in Kipling’s handwriting in Notebook 1, dated 10 February 1882, in Notebook 3 and Sundry Phansies. See Andrew Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks and Sundry Phansies.

The poem was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 117, and Pinney p. 1623.

The Poem

The poem describes the changes over time in a love whose consummation would make the lovers Queen and King. It starts with the child’s blind wish, reminiscent of Kipling’s description of himself in the last verse of “The Lesson” as I, boy-lover. In verse 2, the lovers are parted. Verse 3 expresses doubt of their constancy, and the last verse implies that they will only be Queen and King after the ending – death.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved