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


The poem is handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1, dated 21 June 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. 155, and Pinney p. 1668.

The Poem

Rutherford and Pinney note that line 8 reads ‘Hiatus of long standing’ followed by two illegible words, and there is no other version for comparison. Pinney notes that this line seems to have been inserted later. However, if it had been completed as an iambic pentameter, with the last word rhyming with ‘above’ (perhaps ‘love’) the poem would be a regular sonnet.

It describes two lovers who hear a lark singing and find her nest and For an instant… [their] souls were one. But when the mother bird alights they are separate again.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved