The Betrothed (poem)
It is a tongue-in-cheek work by the young bachelor Kipling, who affected a very worldly-wise stance. In it, he takes as his epigraph the report of evidence in a breach of promise case, "You must choose between me and your cigar". The poem simply has a narrator musing on the difference between his fiancée Maggie and his habit of smoking cigars:
- For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
- The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o' Teen.
He weighs up Maggie's looks, and what she will be at fifty; the limitations of monogamy against "a harem of dusky beauties"; and the relatively unknown woman against the tried and tested "Counsellors" and "comforters". His conclusion is:
- And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a Smoke.
- Light me another Cuba - I hold to my first-sworn vows,
- If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for Spouse!
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