[September 20th 2019]
There is a version handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1, with the title “Parting” and the subheading St. Katherine’s Dock. 5 A.M. , dated 13 June 1882. St Katherine’s Dock, on the Thames just downstream of Tower Bridge, was the point of departure for many ships heading overseas. There is a version in Notebook 2 transcribed by Kipling’s parents, with the title "In the Hall."
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. 153, and Pinney p. 1664.
Two lovers are spending their last few minutes together before they are parted. He had to lie to get to the rendezvous, but it was worth it to be together for a few minutes more. They look forward to a reunion in a year and the “gorgeous web” of their life together. But the world breaks in with ten short lines - love can be bought, gold is the only thing of worth. He still maintains that Love is the only perfect gain.
Kipling wrote a number of love poems about this time, including another, undated, with the same title “Parting”. They are mostly 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. Presumably this one is a meditation on his imminent departure for India (he sailed on 20 September 1882), though he must have known that their separation would last much more than a year. When he sailed, he supposed himself to be engaged to her (Charles Carrington p. 41, on the authority of Kipling's sister 'Trix').
©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved