Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/110

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

96

THE BETROTHED

Which is the better portion—bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties fifty tied in a string?


Counsellors cunning and silent—comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride.


Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eye-lids close.


This will the fifty give me, asking naught in return,
With only a Suttee's passion—to do their duty and burn.


This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.


The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty, will send me my brides again.