The Betrothed (poem)

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"The Betrothed" is a poem by Rudyard Kipling, first published in book form in Departmental Ditties (1886).

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!