[October 25th 2017]
The poem, without a title, and without verses 5 and 6, forms the heading to the final chapter of The Naulahka, published in December 1892. It is listed in ORG as no 549A. ORG notes an alternative title: "The Law and the Lady".
This poem reflects the relationships in the final chapter of the novel. Tarvin, the hero of the book, has done things that Kate Sheriff disapproves of. He does not understand what he has done wrong, but he is prepared to follow her code of morals just because it is hers.
The first two serses echo a sentence on p. 318 of the book: 'She could not know ... how entirely he must always define morality as what pleased Kate.'
argosies large merchant ships.
spiced sail the argosies (from Asia) were richly loaded with spices
Sans French for 'without'.
sore bond tightly bound to his Lady’s Law.
freest free with no other limit on his conduct
©Philip Holberton 2017 All rights reserved