A Promise

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


There are versions handwritten by Kipling in Notebooks 1 & 3, dated 8 April 1882. See Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks.The poem was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 140, and Pinney p. 1647.

The Poem

This is one of a number of sonnets written by Kipling about this time, addressed to Flo Garrard, with whom the young Kipling had become infatuated in the summer of 1880, when he was fourteen, and she a year older. She was staying at Lorne Lodge in Southsea, and had made friends with his sister ‘Trix’.

The lovers are woeful because they are separated, but the poet promises come to her soon and comfort her with their physical reunion.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved