To the Unknown Goddess (Rudyard Kipling)
Shall I fall to you hand as a victim of crafty and cantious shikar?
Have I met you and passed you already, unknowing, unthinking and blind?
Shall I meet you next season at Simla, Oh sweetest and best of your kind?
Does the P. and O. bear you to meward, or, clad in short frocks in the West,
Are you growing the charms that shall capture and torture the heart in my breast?
Will you stay in the Plains till September—my passion as warm as the day?
Will you bring me to book on the Mountains or where the thermantidotes play?
When the light of your eyes shall make pallid the mean lesser lights I pursue,
And the charm of your presence shall lure me from the love of the gay "thirteen-two;"
When the peg and the pigskin shall please not; when I buy me Calcutta-built clothes;
When I quit "the delight of wild asses;" forswearing the swearing of oaths;
As a deer to the hand of the hunter when I turn 'mid the gibes of my friends;
When the days of my freedom are numbered, and the life of the bachelor ends.
Ah Goddess! child, spinster or widow—as of old on Mars Hill when they raised
To the God whom they knew not an altar—so I, a young Pagan have praised
The Goddess I know not nor worship; yet if half that men tell me be true,
You will come in the future, and therefore these verses are written to you.
Glossary: Thermantidote (English) rudimentary air-conditioner that misted water to cool. Literally means "antidote to heat"
Place-name: Simla (already indexed)
Glossary: Shikar (already indexed)
Glossary: cantious ?
Glossary: "thirteen-two" ?
Glossary: P. and O. (P. & O.): Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. A British shipping company that ran lines connecting London to Indian ports.