Your patience, sirs

(notes by Sharad Keskar Philip Holberton and Daniel Hadas)


These lines are the heading to chapter IV of “The Naulahka” . They are to be found in The Definitive Edition of Kipling’s Verse (1940) and later collections.


This poem is a play on one the three temptations of Christ in the desert. See Matthew 4.8-10  :[D.H.]

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[a]”

Notes on the text

The burnt mountain is Mount Etna, in Sicily.

Sula stands for Topaz.

Prey to the galleys of the Algerine Algiers was the home of the notorious Barbary pirates, who infested the Mediterranean for centuries.

For love of her for love of Kate: the necklace, the Naulahka, is in Rhatore, the Indian city where Kate is going as a nurse. Tarvin can use it both to get the railroad to Topaz and as an excuse to follow Kate.


©Sharad Keskar aniel Hadas and Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved