Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

If


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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# 7 poem on top 500 Poems

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  • Rookie - 72 Points Nadia Robb (1/21/2015 9:56:00 AM)

    This poem is full of encouragement. Well executed and honest, this poem is one of the great ones! Told as if you are getting a final summary of the lessons his own life has revealed to him and what one could take from similar experiences. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 543 Points James Fitzpatrick (1/1/2015 10:16:00 PM)

    He must have been bitter about the war and losing his son, yet he was still about to write to express how he felt he should feel. A hard thing to do, and although he was a colonialist he was still a historian in what he left in most of what he wrote.

    In whatever age you live this can still be classed a masterpiece.... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 15,299 Points Mandolyn ... (10/28/2014 6:01:00 PM)

    the opening two lines read so off-kilter - i'm surprised he got away with that.
    language was more proper back then.
    i must remind myself of this,
    as i do admire
    this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,403 Points Kay Staley (10/28/2014 9:21:00 AM)

    There is no doubt why this is a classic although I wish it had a dark side that contrasted what would happen if you didn't do the things that the author suggests. Then the reader may be more motivated to follow the advice. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,363 Points Savita Tyagi (10/28/2014 7:06:00 AM)

    A poem of sound advise and wisdom. These are the rules an individual needs to live by. A life long training in virtue. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,587 Points John Richter (10/20/2014 7:58:00 AM)

    Every line in this poem rings so true, even in todays world. Kipling outlined all of life's turmoil and successes, and did it in a most personal way. I think he'll be added to my favorite poets list.... I find this to be an exceptionally well written poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 341 Points Chris Howie (10/11/2014 8:49:00 PM)

    I wish my dad would write a poem to me, at all, let alone one this fantastic. Great stuff. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 978 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (10/5/2014 2:32:00 AM)

    Kipling's 'If' is the most translated English poem of all time. The poem goes deep into the stoic philosophy and serves as an enduring piece of inspiration.

    'If you can fill the unforgiving minute/ With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, ': the mood of the entire poem couldn't have been better summed up. Indeed, no minute that goes by ever comes back, but if that minute is well lived and well spent, there should be no regrets. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Michael Taylor (9/8/2014 12:10:00 PM)

    Obviously, an inspirational poem. I like to memorize it using the following method. I first identify any patterns. I noted that it is ' a-b-a-b' for 8 quatrains or 32 lines. I managed to find an image for each quatrain. Then I rehearse and write out each quatrain on a flash card. I attempt to recall each image with each quatrain. I write them out until I remember a train of 8 images and the corresponding 8 quatrains. I learn to recall the train of images and quatrains through repetition. It is a pretty good memory technique. Then I like to sit quietly and slowly remember the poem, line by line, with my eyes closed, sitting on a chair in a quiet room. It is a simple way to meditate on inspirational writing. (Report) Reply

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