Limits and Renewals

The Penalty

Rudyard Kipling

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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