The Vampire

Rudyard Kipling

The verses—as suggested by the painting by Philip Burne-Jones,
first exhibited at the new gallery in London in 1897.
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!

Poems by This Author

Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling
You may talk o' gin an' beer
If— by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Mother o' Mine by Rudyard Kipling
If I were hanged on the highest hill
Seal Lullaby by Rudyard Kipling
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us
The Conundrum of the Workshops by Rudyard Kipling
When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden's green and gold
The Power of the Dog by Rudyard Kipling
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
Tomlinson by Rudyard Kipling
Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost at his house in Berkeley Square
Untitled [You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old] by Rudyard Kipling
You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old

Further Reading

Lamia [Left to herself]
by John Keats
Christabel [excerpt]
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Pocket Vampire
by Dorothy Barresi
The Bride of Corinth [From my grave to wander]
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Distant Moon
by Rafael Campo
The Giaour [Unquenched, unquenchable]
by George Gordon Byron
The Vampire
by Conrad Aiken
The Vampire
by Madison Julius Cawein
The Vampire Bride [I am come—I am come!]
by Henry Thomas Liddell
The Vampyre
by John Stagg