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


There are versions handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1, dated 19 July 1882, and Notebook 3, undated. Line 8 of verse 1 does not appear in Notebook 1. 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. 159, and Pinney p. 1673.

The Poem

‘Satiety’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as weariness or dislike of an object of desire caused by gratification or attainment.

Two lovers look back bitterly on a love they have outgrown. Kipling evidently wrote the poem at a low point in his relationship with Flo Garrard, with whom he had become infatuated in the summer of 1880, when he was fourteen, and she a year older. Kipling expresses a similar sentiment in “The Attainment”, written two months earlier.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved