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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 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!

 

Famed for his imaginative,  fantastical,

wonderful story-telling in prose and in verse

Rudyard Kipling

is one of the most widely read authors in the English language.

To this day, his popularity remains at height.

 

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1907)

he was the first English language writer to receive this honour

and continues with the distinction of being its youngest recipient.

Hounours were heaped upon him, including the submission for knighthood

of which he refused.

Written in 1895 and first published in 1910, his poem

If

is a beautifully styled inspirational piece.

It reads as a father giving sound advice to a son:

wise words on how to achieve a positive life and manner of living-

“if” only.

The line:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

is written on the wall of the players’ entrance at Wimbledon Tennis Courts

and serves as sentiment of encouragement and integrity to fierce competitors.

Rudyard Kipling

author of The Jungle Book  (1894)

Just So Stories (1902)

(among many others)

Rudyard Kipling, portrait

(image from theguardian.com)