Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rudyard Kipling's "The Vampire"

A fool there was and he made his prayer

(Even as you or I!)

To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair,

(We called her the woman who did not care),

But the fool he called her his lady fair--

(Even as you or I!)

Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste,

And the work of our head and hand

Belong to the woman who did not know

(And now we know that she never could know)

And did not understand!

A fool there was and his goods he spent,

(Even as you or I!)

Honour and faith and a sure intent

(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant),

But a fool must follow his natural bent

(Even as you or I!)

Oh, the toil we lost and the spoil we lost

And the excellent things we planned

Belong to the woman who didn't know why

(And now we know that she never knew why)

And did not understand!

The fool was stripped to his foolish hide,

(Even as you or I!)

Which she might have seen when she threw him aside--

(But it isn't on record the lady tried)

So some of him lived but the most of him died--

(Even as you or I!)

``And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame

That stings like a white-hot brand--

It's coming to know that she never knew why

(Seeing, at last, she could never know why)

And never could understand!''

I just read this poem while waiting for the computer to wake up. Its from a new book that I got: "Rudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror & Fantasy." I really liked the introduction by Neil Gaiman, where he talks about the "need" to "defend" his admiration for Kipling. I, in a sense, feel the same sort of inclination about HP Lovecraft (not the most accepting individual on the block.) At the end of his essay Gaiman quotes Stephen King: "Trust the tale, not the teller."

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