Treasure Island

Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Delilah


We have another viceroy now, -- those days are dead and done
Of Delilah Aberyswith and depraved Ulysses Gunne.


Delilah Aberyswith was a lady -- not too young --
With a perfect taste in dresses and a badly-bitted tongue,
With a thirst for information, and a greater thirst for praise,
And a little house in Simla in the Prehistoric Days.

By reason of her marriage to a gentleman in power,
Delilah was acquainted with the gossip of the hour;
And many little secrets, of the half-official kind,
Were whispered to Delilah, and she bore them all in mind.

She patronized extensively a man, Ulysses Gunne,
Whose mode of earning money was a low and shameful one.
He wrote for certain papers, which, as everybody knows,
Is worse than serving in a shop or scaring off the crows.

He praised her "queenly beauty" first; and, later on, he hinted
At the "vastness of her intellect" with compliment unstinted.
He went with her a-riding, and his love for her was such
That he lent her all his horses and -- she galled them very much.

One day, THEY brewed a secret of a fine financial sort;
It related to Appointments, to a Man and a Report.
'Twas almost wortth the keeping, -- only seven people knew it --
And Gunne rose up to seek the truth and patiently ensue it.

It was a Viceroy's Secret, but -- perhaps the wine was red --
Perhaps an Aged Concillor had lost his aged head --
Perhaps Delilah's eyes were bright -- Delilah's whispers sweet --
The Aged Member told her what 'twere treason to repeat.

Ulysses went a-riding, and they talked of love and flowers;
Ulysses went a-calling, and he called for several hours;
Ulysses went a-waltzing, and Delilah helped him dance --
Ulysses let the waltzes go, and waited for his chance.

The summer sun was setting, and the summer air was still,
The couple went a-walking in the shade of Summer Hill.
The wasteful sunset faded out in turkis-green and gold,
Ulysses pleaded softly, and . . . that bad Delilah told!

Next morn, a startled Empire learnt the all-important news;
Next week, the Aged Councillor was shaking in his shoes.
Next month, I met Delilah and she did not show the least
Hesitation in affirming that Ulysses was a "beast."

* * * * *

We have another Viceroy now, those days are dead and done --
Off, Delilah Aberyswith and most mean Ulysses Gunne!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Peters Pan (6/18/2008 7:59:00 PM)

    Kipling always has a way of producing a humorous and sarcastic representation of the people living around us, showing, with amazing accuracy, how each one is a source of power in that they have CHOICES. Human power, especially in traditional, classical philosophy (as well as real life) is always linked back to the unique human ability to make choices based on REASON, not INSTINCT. Kipling portrays this accurately and comprehensibly... something I can't always say for his, perhaps, philosophical betters.

    A Philosopher-Poet! (Report) Reply

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