In 1909 Rudyard Kipling (1865-1939), English short-story writer, poet and novelist (remembered mostly for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and for his tales for children) published his now-famous poem “If” in a collection entitled Rewards and Fairies. The poem was not well-received, possibly because of its moralizing tone, its too-neat solution to life’s problems, and its orderly, rhymed verses at a time when Romantic poets were experimenting with freer forms of verse.
The poem, however, has lived on in the body of popular literature and has inspired and motivated many a reader. The easy-to-read style makes the poem’s thought-provoking personal and private themes easily accessible to, and enjoyed by, even those who do not consider themselves poetry lovers.
Remain humble, avoid extremes, and enjoy the joys of life at every opportunity. Rise above hopelessness and find goodness in even the darkest circumstance. Follow your dreams, but be realistic in your approach. Find goodness in every man. And much more…. Enjoy.
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by Rudyard Kipling (1909)
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!