The Last Bargain

Original Text: 
Sir Rabindranath Tagore, The Crescent Moon (London: Macmillan, 1918): 81-82. PR 6039 A2C7 Robarts Library
1"Come and hire me," I cried, while in the morning I was walking on the stone-paved road.
2Sword in hand, the King came in his chariot.
3He held my hand and said, "I will hire you with my power."
4But his power counted for nought, and he went away in his chariot.
5In the heat of the midday the houses stood with shut doors.
6I wandered along the crooked lane.
7An old man came out with his bag of gold.
8He pondered and said, "I will hire you with my money."
9He weighed his coins one by one, but I turned away.
10It was evening. The garden hedge was all aflower.
11The fair maid came out and said, "I will hire you with a smile."
12Her smile paled and melted into tears, and she went back alone into the dark.
13The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke waywardly.
14A child sat playing with shells.
15He raised his head and seemed to know me, and said, "I hire you with nothing."
16From thenceforward that bargain struck in child's play made me a free man.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: