Treasure Island

Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The Oldest Song


For before Eve was Lilith. -- Old Tale.


"These were never your true love's eyes.
Why do you feign that you love them?
You that broke from their constancies,
And the wide calm brows above them!

This was never your true love's speech.
Why do you thrill when you hear it?
You that have ridden out of its reach
The width of the world or near it!

This was never your true love's hair, --
You that chafed when it bound you
Screened from knowledge or shame or care,
In the night that it made around you!"

"All these things I know, I know.
And that's why my heart is breaking!"
"Then what do you gain by pretending so?"
"The joy of an old wound waking."

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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