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My Lady’s Law

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy; notes on My Lady’s Law at the Kipling Society]

My Lady’s Law is a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s book Naulakha and was collected in his Songs From Books (Macmillan, 1914). Peter Bellamy sang it on his fourth album of songs set to Kipling’s poems, Keep on Kipling. He was accompanied by Chris Brich on guitar.


My Lady’s Law

The Law whereby my lady moves
Was never Law to me,
But ’tis enough that she approves
Whatever Law it be.

For in that Law, and by that Law,
My constant course I’ll steer;
Not that I heed or deem it dread,
But that she holds it dear.

Tho’ Asia sent for my content
Her richest argosies,
Those would I spurn, and bid return,
If that should give her ease.

With equal heart I’d watch depart
Each spiced sail from sight,
Sans bitterness, desiring less
Great gear than her delight.

Though Kings made swift with many a gift
My proven sword to hire,
I would not go nor serve ’em so,
Except at her desire.

With even mind, I’d put behind
Adventure and acclaim,
And clean give o’er, esteeming more
Her favour than my fame.

Yet such am I, yea such am I—
Sore bond and freest free,
The Law that sways my lady’s ways
Is mystery to me!