“A Weed, One Weed, and only One had I”

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


This is a letter to his aunt Edith Macdonald, dated 11 July 1884, now in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Kipling tells her about the projected volume Echoes and mentions his own parodies of Tennyson and Browning. He goes on:

Tennyson lends himself to parody only too quickly [he gives the text below]. But this is frivol and drivel and my letter must come to an end.

It was never collected by Kipling but is to be found in Rutherford (p. 222) and Pinney (p. 1727).

Notes on the Text


A Weed a cigar or cheroot.

Rutherford has identified the Tennyson poems parodied:

[Verse 1]

…and only one had I: “A rose, but one, none other rose had I” from Pelleas and Ettarre, lines 391-400.

[Verse 2]

Ay, ay, O ay: “Ay, ay, O ay – the winds that bend the brier” from The Last Tournament, lines 724-32.

[Verse 3]

that shall be mine no more: the days that are no more… song from The Princess Part iv.



©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved