If by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

If by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

If by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

When I first saw the title ‘If,’ I thought about the song written by David A. Gates in 1971. Originally popularized by the group Bread, the song charted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 when released as a single in 1971. I grew up listening to this beautiful song. However, I am not sharing about the song ‘If’ by David A. Gates today.

What I am sharing is an inspiring poem If by Rudyard Kipling. It was said by Rudyard Kipling in his autobiography “Something of Myself” (1937) that the poem ‘If’ was inspired by Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, who in 1895 led about 500 of his countrymen in a failed raid against the Boers in Southern Africa. It was subsequently called the Jameson Raid. “This defeat increased the tensions that ultimately led to the Second Boer War. The British press, however, portrayed Jameson as a hero in the middle of the disaster, and the actual defeat as a British victory.” (according to Wikisource)

Although Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem ‘If’ in 1895, it has stood the test of time and its wisdom referred to countless times. If by Rudyard Kipling not only serve as an inspiring read, but may also serve as maxims for life – guidelines for one’s integrity, characters and determination at all time. The lines “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same” are inscribed above the entryway to Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.

If by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

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 imposters 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 King – 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!

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8 thoughts on “If by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

  1. Matt Urdan

    Hey bk, very nice posts…this is the first time I really looked at your blog. This post on the Rudyard Kipling poem is awesome, as is your post on Memorial Day…

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by MTMD and comment on my new look. That’s why I’m here now, and I will be back.
    Everyone, thank you so much for your overwhelmingly positive comments and the validation on the new look of Meltwater. Torrents. Meanderings. Delta. If you need help adding a sidebar, updating your site, or if you’re ready for a new look, Zoe is the one to turn to. I’ve never met a web designer so friendly, customer-service oriented, responsive and competent. And did I say affordable? You will not be disappointed with any work you hire her to perform.

    Matt, Zoe could knock it out for you in a heartbeat!


    Matt Urdans last blog post..Red Wings Take Game One!

  2. Emelyn

    Hey BK, this is my favorite “Typing Master” typing test. Ha ha, I always choose this as my drill whenever I get the chance to practice typing. Just hadn’t had the chance to copy it. He he he, can I copy it? Don’t worry it’s just for personal consumption. He he.

  3. Ben

    Very cool poem. Such good maxims to live by. I think my favorite was “if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue.” That is one area where I fall short. I’m not always myself. Sometimes I bend to the will of what I know I shouldn’t. Thanks for the great poem!
    .-= BenΒ΄s last blog ..More Thoughts on Life From the Mountainside =-.