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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Penalty

"The Tender Achilles"
From "Limits and Renewals" (1932)
Once in life I watched a Star;
  But I whistled, "Let her go!
There are others, fairer far,
  Which my favouring skies shall show
Here I lied, and herein I
Stood to pay the penalty.

Marvellous the Planets shone   
  As I ranged from coast to coast--
But beyond comparison
  Rode the Star that I had lost.
I had lied, and only I
Did not guess the penalty!  .  .  .

When  my  Heavens  were  turned  to  blood,
  When the dark had filled my day,
Furthest, but most faithful, stood
  That lone Star I cast away.
I had loved myself, and I
Have not lived and dare not die!

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