We’ve often argued that the world needs to read more poetry. After all, without poetry we wouldn’t consider how “Good fences make good neighbors” (Robert Frost), or ponder how “Success is counted sweetest/ By those who ne’er succeed./ To comprehend a nectar/ Requires sorest need.” (Emily Dickinson), or to remember to “Talk less/Smile more/ Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.” (Lin Manuel Miranda).
Truly, the list of great poetic works is a lengthy one, and one that is still being added to. Today, we’d like to spotlight some of the best quotes from Rudyard Kipling’s poems. Kipling, a world renowned English poet, novelist, and short story writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. We’ve noted before how he was an icon in his day, but also how his work continues to be talked about today. Let’s keep the conversation going.
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 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!
“For all we have and are”
…No easy hope or lies
Shall bring us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all—
One life for each to give.
What stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?
’Twixt my house and thy house the pathway is broad,
In thy house or my house is half the world’s hoard;
By my house and thy house hangs all the world’s fate,
On thy house and my house lies half the world’s hate.
For my house and thy house no help shall we find
Save thy house and my house—kin cleaving to kind;
If my house be taken, thine tumbleth anon.
If thy house be forfeit, mine followeth soon.
’Twixt my house and thy house what talk can there be
Of headship or lordship, or service or fee?
Since my house to thy house no greater can send
Than thy house to my house—friend comforting friend;
And thy house to my house no meaner can bring
Than my house to thy house—King counselling King.
We and They
Father, Mother, and Me
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But - would you believe it? - They look upon We
As only a sort of They !
All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!
Which of your favorite Kipling poems did we miss? Share it with us in the comments below.
*All poems courtesy of The Kipling Society.