The Penalty

A poem by 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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