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A Ballade of Jakko Hill

by Rudyard Kipling, 1919

One moment bid the horses wait,
  Since tiffin is not laid till three,
Below the upward path and strait
  You climbed a year ago with me.
  Love came upon us suddenly
  And loosed—an idle hour to kill—
A headless, harmless armoury
  That smote us both on Jakko Hill.

Ah Heaven! we would wait and wait
  Through Time and to Eternity!
Ah Heaven! we would conquer Fate
  With more than Godlike constancy!
  I cut the date upon a tree—
  Here stand the clumsy figures still:—
“10–7–85, A.D.”
  Damp in the mists on Jakko Hill.

What came of high resolve and great,
  And until Death fidelity?
Whose horse is waiting at your gate?
  Whose ’rickshaw-wheels ride over me?
  No Saint’s, I swear; and—let me see
  To-night what names your programme fill—
We drift asunder merrily,
  As drifts the mist on Jakko Hill!

Princess, behold our ancient state
  Has clean departed; and we see
’Twas Idleness we took for Fate
  That bound light bonds on you and me.
  Amen! Here ends the comedy
  Where it began in all good will,
Since Love and Leave together flee
  As driven mist on Jakko Hill!

Published in Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Inclusive Edition, 1885-1918

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.