Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
The Prodigal Son
 
(WESTERN VERSION)

HERE come I to my own again,
Fed, forgiven and known again,
Claimed by bone of my bone again
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me,        5
But the husks have greater zest for me,
I think my pigs will be best for me,
So I’m off to the Yards afresh.
 
I never was very refined, you see,
(And it weighs on my brother’s mind, you see)        10
But there’s no reproach among swine, d’you see,
For being a bit of a swine.
So I’m off with wallet and staff to eat
The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat,
But glory be!—there’s a laugh to it,        15
Which isn’t the case when we dine.
 
My father glooms and advises me,
My brother sulks and despises me,
And Mother catechises me
Till I want to go out and swear.        20
And, in spite of the butler’s gravity,
I know that the servants have it I
Am a monster of moral depravity,
And I’m damned if I think it’s fair!
 
I wasted my substance, I know I did,        25
On riotous living, so I did,
But there’s nothing on record to show I did
More than my betters have done.
They talk of the money I spent out there—
They hint at the pace that I went out there—        30
But they all forget I was sent out there
Alone as a rich man’s son.
 
So I was a mark for plunder at once,
And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once,
But I didn’t give up and knock under at once,        35
I worked in the Yards, for a spell,
Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs,
And shared their milk and maize with hogs,
Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs
And—I have that knowledge to sell!        40
 
So back I go to my job again,
Not so easy to rob again,
Or quite so ready to sob again
On any neck that’s around.
I’m leaving, Pater. Good-bye to you!        45
God bless you, Mater! I’ll write to you….
I wouldn’t be impolite to you,
But, Brother, you are a hound!
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors