Rudyard Kipling
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • 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! 

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) was born in India, educated in England, and in 1882 returned to India as a journalist. He was a prolific writer and became the writer and poet most closely associated with the British Empire and the common British colonial soldier, whom he glorified in many of his works.

In 1892, Kipling married Caroline Balestier and settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he wrote The Jungle Book and “Gunga Din.” Kipling lost his beloved daughter Josephine when she was a young girl and after her death the family moved back to England. His son John was killed in the First World War.

Kipling’s best known poetry is collected in Barrack Room Ballads (1892). His Jungle Book and Just So Stories remain classics of children’s literature. Rudyard Kipling received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.

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Even in adulthood, I cannot read "The Jungle Book" without weeping when Mowgli must leave his Wolf Family to return to the company of humans. It is an excruciating parting, a template for all terrible leave-takings.

Kipling's stories are the most beautiful, scary, exciting, informative and affecting in all children's lit. I never knew he wrote this book while living in the United States or that he lost two of his own children.

I have a small, now-crumbling, leather-bound volume of "The Jungle Book" that my late father bought in Paris, France, when he was a doughboy in World War I.

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