There is a version of this verse fragment handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1. Undated, but it follows “Confession” dated 10 August , and precedes “El Dorado”, dated 16 August. The fragment is crossed out, but Rutherford notes that it is not clear when this was done. See Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks.
The verse form with its very short lines is unusual for Kipling. It is reminiscent of “The Runes on Weland’s Sword” from Puck of Pook’s Hill (p. 135), and has a similar flavour of Anglo-Saxon verse.
In verse 1, the poet claims to be a King among men on the strength of his Love’s dower.
In the incomplete verse 2, his hearers wonder what has changed him from the old days, when he was Profitless always.
©Philip Holberton 1519 All rights reserved