Tag Archive: kipling


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 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 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!

– Rudyard Kipling

The Looking Glass

The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old.
Her petticoat was satin, and her stomacher was gold.
Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass,
Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!

The Queen was in her chamber, a-combing of her hair.
There came Queen Mary’s spirit and It stood behind her char,
Singing “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will stand behind you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As lovely or unlucky or as lonely as I was!”

The Queen was in her chamber, a-weeping very sore.
There came Lord Leicester’s spirit and It scratched upon the door,
Singing “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will walk beside you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass,
As hard and unforgiving or as wicked as you was!”

The Queen was in her chamber, her sins were on her head.
She looked the spirits up and down and statelily she said: –
“Backwards and forwards and sideways though I’ve been,
Yet I am Harry’s daughter and I am England’s Queen!”
And she saw her day was over and she saw her beauty pass
In the cruel looking-glass, that can always hurt a lass
More hard than any ghost there is or any man there was!

– Rudyard Kipling

Blue Roses

Roses red and roses white
Plucked I for my love’s delight.
She would none of all my posies–
Bade me gather her blue roses.

Half the world I wandered through,
Seeking where such flowers grew.
Half the world unto my quest
Answered me with laugh and jest.

Home I came at wintertide,
But my silly love had died
Seeking with her latest breath
Roses from the arms of Death.

It may be beyond the grave
She shall find what she would have.
Mine was but an idle quest–
Roses white and red are best!

– Rudyard Kipling

The Dying Chauffeur

Wheel me gently to the garage, since my car and I must part–
No more for me the record and the run.
That cursed left-hand cylinder the doctors call my heart
Is pinking past redemption — I am done!

They’ll never strike a mixture that’ll help me pull my load.
My gears are stripped–I cannot set my brakes.
I am entered for the finals down the timeless untimed Road
To the Maker of the makers of all makes!

– Rudyard Kipling

The Changelings

Or ever the battered liners sank
With their passengers to the dark,
I was head of a Walworth Bank,
And you were a grocer’s clerk.

I was a dealer in stocks and shares,
And you in butters and teas;
And we both abandoned our own affairs
And took to the dreadful seas.

Wet and worry about our ways–
Panic, onset and flight–
Had us in charge for a thousand days
And thousand-year-long night.

We saw more than the nights could hide–
More than the waves could keep–
And–certain faces over the side
Which do not go from our sleep.

We were more tired than words can tell
While the pied craft fled by,
And the swinging mounds of the Western swell
Hoisted us Heavens-high…

Now there is nothing — not even our rank–
To witness what we have been;
And I am returned to my Walworth Bank,
And you to your margarine!

– Rudyard Kipling

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