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Best Famous Rudyard Kipling Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Rudyard Kipling poems. This is a select list of the best famous Rudyard Kipling poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Rudyard Kipling poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Rudyard Kipling poems.

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by Rudyard Kipling | |

By the Hoof of the Wild Goat

 By the Hoof of the Wild Goat uptossed
 From the cliff where she lay in the Sun
 Fell the Stone
 To the Tarn where the daylight is lost,
 So she fell from the light of the Sun
 And alone!

 Now the fall was ordained from the first
 With the Goat and the Cliff and the Tarn,
 But the Stone
 Knows only her life is accursed
 As she sinks from the light of the Sun
 And alone!

 Oh Thou Who hast builded the World,
 Oh Thou Who hast lighted the Sun,
 Oh Thou Who hast darkened the Tarn,
 Judge Thou
 The sin of the Stone that was hurled
 By the goat from the light of the Sun,
 As she sinks in the mire of the Tarn,
 Even now--even now--even now!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Bill Awkins

 "'As anybody seen Bill 'Awkins?"
 "Now 'ow in the devil would I know?"
"'E's taken my girl out walkin',
 An' I've got to tell 'im so --
 Gawd -- bless 'im!
 I've got to tell 'im so.
" "D'yer know what 'e's like, Bill 'Awkins?" "Now what in the devil would I care?" "'E's the livin', breathin' image of an organ-grinder's monkey, With a pound of grease in 'is 'air -- Gawd -- bless 'im! An' a pound o' grease in 'is 'air.
" "An' s'pose you met Bill 'Awkins, Now what in the devil 'ud ye do?" "I'd open 'is cheek to 'is chin-strap buckle, An' bung up 'is both eyes, too -- Gawd -- bless 'im! An bung up 'is both eyes, too!" "Look 'ere, where 'e comes, Bill 'Awkins! Now, what in the devil will you say?" "It isn't fit an' proper to be fightin' on a Sunday, So I'll pass 'im the time o' day -- Gawd -- bless 'im! I'll pass 'im the time o' day!"

by 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!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

A British-Roman Song

406) "A Centurion of the Thirtieth" -- Puck of Pook's Hill My father's father saw it not, And I, belike, shall never come To look on that so-holly spot-- That very Rome-- Crowned by all Time, all Art, all Might, The equal work of Gods and Man, City beneath whose oldest height-- The Race began! Soon to send forth again a brood, Unshakable, we pray, that clings To Rome's thrice-hammered hardihood-- In arduous things.
Strong heart with triple armour bound, Beat strongly, for thy life-blood runs, Age after Age, the Empire round-- In us thy Sons Who, distant from the Seven Hills, Loving and serving much, require Thee-thee to guard 'gainst home-born ills The Imperial Fire!

by Rudyard Kipling | |


 Eyes aloft, over dangerous places,
The children follow the butterflies,
And, in the sweat of their upturned faces,
Slash with a net at the empty skies.
So it goes they fall amid brambles, And sting their toes on the nettle-tops, Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles, They wipe their brows and the hunting stops.
Then to quiet them comes their father And stills the riot of pain and grief, Saying, "Little ones, go and gather Out of my garden a cabbage-leaf.
"You will find on it whorls and clots of Dull grey eggs that, properly fed, Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of Glorious butterflies raised from the dead.
" .
"Heaven is beautiful, Earth is ugly," The three-dimensioned preacher saith; So we must not look where the snail and the slug lie For Psyche's birth.
And that is our death!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Chapter Headings

 Plane Tales From the Hills
Look, you have cast out Love! What Gods are these
You bid me please?
The Three in One, the One in Three ? Not so!
To my own Gods I go.
It may be they shall give me greater ease Than your cold Christ and tangled Trinities.
When the earth was sick and the skies were grey, And the woods were rotted with rain, The Dead Man rode through the autumn day To visit his love again.
His love she neither saw nor heard, So heavy was her shame; And tho' the babe within her stirred She knew not that he came.
The Other Man.
Cry "Murder" in the market-place, and each Will turn upon his neighbour anxious eyes Asking: "Art thou the man?" We hunted Cain Some centuries ago across the world.
This bred the fear our own misdeeds maintain To-day.
His Wedded Wife.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Cities and Thrones and Powers

 Cities and Thrones and Powers,
 Stand in Time's eye,
 Almost as long as flowers,
 Which daily die:
 But, as new buds put forth
 To glad new men,
 Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
 The Cities rise again.
This season's Daffodil, She never hears, What change, what chance, what chill, Cut down last year's; But with bold countenance, And knowledge small, Esteems her seven days' continuance, To be perpetual.
So Time that is o'er -kind, To all that be, Ordains us e'en as blind, As bold as she: That in our very death, And burial sure, Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith, "See how our works endure!"

by Rudyard Kipling | |


We thought we ranked above the chance of ill.
Others might fall, not we, for we were wise-- Merchants in freedom.
So, of our free-will We let our servants drug our strength with lies.
The pleasure and the poison had its way On us as on the meanest, till we learned That he who lies will steal, who steals will slay.
Neither God's judgment nor man's heart was turned.
Yet there remains His Mercy--to be sought Through wrath and peril till we cleanse the wrong By that last right which our forefathers claimed When their Law failed them and its stewards were bought.
This is our cause.
God help us, and make strong Our will to meet Him later, unashamed!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Cuckoo Song

 (Spring begins in southern England on the 14th April, on which date the Old Woman lets the Cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair -- locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair.
) Tell it to the locked-up trees, Cuckoo, bring your song here! Warrant, Act and Summons, please, For Spring to pass along here! Tell old Winder, if he doubt, Tell him squat and square -- a! Old Woman! Old Woman! Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a! March has searched and April tried -- 'Tisn't long to Mary now.
Not so far to Whitsuntide And Cuckoo's come to stay now! Hear the valiant fellow shout Down the orchard bare -- a! Old Woman! Old Woman! Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a! When your heart is young and gay And the season rules it -- Work your works and play your play 'Fore the Autumn cools it! Kiss you turn and turn-about, But my lad, beware -- a! Old Woman! Old Woman! Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Deep-Sea Cables

 The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar --
Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep, Or the great gray level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.
Here in the womb of the world -- here on the tie-ribs of earth Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat -- Warning, sorrow and gain, salutation and mirth -- For a Power troubles the Still that has neither voice nor feet.
They have wakened the timeless Things; they have killed their father Time; Joining hands in the gloom, a league from the last of the sun.
Hush! Men talk to-day o'er the waste of the ultimate slime, And a new Word runs between: whispering, "Let us be one!"

by Rudyard Kipling | |



Man dies too soon, beside his works half-planned.
His days are counted and reprieve is vain: Who shall entreat with Death to stay his hand; Or cloke the shameful nakedness of pain? Send here the bold, the seekers of the way-- The passionless, the unshakeable of soul, Who serve the inmost mysteries of man's clay, And ask no more than leave to make them whole.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Explanation

 Love and Death once ceased their strife
At the Tavern of Man's Life.
Called for wine, and threw -- alas! -- Each his quiver on the grass.
When the bout was o'er they found Mingled arrows strewed the ground.
Hastily they gathered then Each the loves and lives of men.
Ah, the fateful dawn deceived! Mingled arrows each one sheaved; Death's dread armoury was stored With the shafts he most abhorred; Love's light quiver groaned beneath Venom-headed darts of Death.
Thus it was they wrought our woe At the Tavern long ago.
Tell me, do our masters know, Loosing blindly as they fly, Old men love while young men die?

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Egg-Shell

 The wind took off with the sunset--
The fog came up with the tide,
When the Witch of the North took an Egg-shell
With a little Blue Devil inside.
"Sink," she said, "or swim," she said, "It's all you will bet from me.
And that is the finish of him!" she said And the Egg-shell went to sea.
The wind fell dead with the midnight-- The fog shut down like a sheet, When the Witch of the North heard the Egg-shell Feeling by hand for a fleet.
"Get!" she said, "or you're gone," she said.
, But the little Blue Devil said "No! "The sights are just coming on," he said, And he let the Whitehead go.
The wind got up with the morning-- The fog blew off with the rain, When the Witch of the North saw the Egg-shell And the little Blue Devil again.
"Did you swim?" she said.
"Did you sink:" she said, And the little Blue Devil replied: "For myself I swam, but I think," he said, "There's somebody sinking outside.

by Rudyard Kipling | |



The Garden called Gethsemane
 In Picardy it was,
And there the people came to see
 The English soldiers pass.
We used to pass -- we used to pass Or halt, as it might be, And ship our masks in case of gas Beyond Gethsemane.
The Garden called Gethsemane, It held a pretty lass, But all the time she talked to me I prayed my cup might pass.
The officer sat on the chair, The men lay on the grass, And all the time we halted there I prayed my cup might pass.
It didn't pass -- it didn't pass -- It didn't pass from me.
I drank it when we met the gas Beyond Gethsemane.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

I Keep Six Honest...

 I keep six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
 And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then, As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views; I know a person small- She keeps ten million serving-men, Who get no rest at all! She sends'em abroad on her own affairs, From the second she opens her eyes- One million Hows, two million Wheres, And seven million Whys!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Fairies Siege

 I have been given my charge to keep--
Well have I kept the same!
Playing with strife for the most of my life,
But this is a different game.
I'11 not fight against swords unseen, Or spears that I cannot view-- Hand him the keys of the place on your knees-- 'Tis the Dreamer whose dreams come true! Ask him his terms and accept them at once.
Quick, ere we anger him, go! Never before have I flinched from the guns, But this is a different show.
I'11 not fight with the Herald of God (I know what his Master can do!) Open the gate, he must enter in state, 'Tis the Dreamer whose dreams come true! I'd not give way for an Emperor, I'd hold my road for a King-- To the Triple Crown I would not bow down-- But this is a different thing.
I'11 not fight with the Powers of Air, Sentry, pass him through! Drawbridge let fall, 'tis the Lord of us all, The Dreamer whose dreams come true!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Farewell and adieu...

 Farewell and adieu to you, Harwich Ladies,
 Farewell and adieu to you, ladies ashore!
 For we've received orders to work to the eastward
 Where we hope in a short time to strafe 'em some more.
We'll duck and we'll dive like little tin turtles, We'll duck and we'll dive underneath the North Seas, Until we strike something that doesn't expect us.
From here to Cuxhaven it's go as you please! The first thing we did was to dock in a minefield, Which isn't a place where repairs should be done; And there we lay doggo in twelve-fathom water With tri-nitro-toluol hogging our run.
The next thing we did, we rose under a Zeppelin, With his shiny big belly half blocking the sky.
But what in the--Heavens can you do with six-pounders? So we fired what we had and we bade him good-bye.
Farewell and adieu, etc.
The Fringes of the Fleet.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Flight


When the grey geese heard the Fool's tread
 Too near to where they lay,
They lifted neither voice nor head,
 But took themselves away.
No water broke, no pinion whirred- There went no warning call.
The steely, sheltering rushes stirred A little--that was all.
Only the osiers understood, And the drowned meadows spied What else than wreckage of a flood Stole outward on that tide.
But the far beaches saw their ranks Gather and greet and grow By myriads on the naked banks Watching their sign to go; Till, with a roar of wings that churned The shivering shoals to foam, Flight after flight took air and turned - To find a safer home; And far below their steadfast wedge, They heard (and hastened on) Men thresh and clamour through the sedge Aghast that they were gone! And, when men prayed them come anew And nest where they were bred, "Nay, fools foretell what knaves will do," Was all the grey geese said.

by Rudyard Kipling | |


I have done mostly what most men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.
Day after day, the whole day through -- Wherever my road inclined -- Four-feet said, "I am coming with you!" And trotted along behind.
Now I must go by some other round, -- Which I shall never find -- Somewhere that does not carry the sound Of Four-Feet trotting behind.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Houses

 '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.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Greek National Anthem

 We knew thee of old,
 Oh divinely restored,
By the light of thine eyes
 And the light of they Sword.
From the graves of our slain Shall thy valour prevail As we greet thee again -- Hail, Liberty! Hail! Long time didst thou dwell Mid the peoples that mourn, Awaiting some voice That should bid thee return.
Ah, slow broke that day And no man dared call, For the shadow of tyranny Lay over all: And we saw thee sad-eyed, The tears on thy cheeks While thy raiment was dyed In the blood of the Greeks.
Yet, behold now thy sons With impetuous breath Go forth to the fight Seeking Freedom or Death.
From the graves of our slain Shall thy valour prevail As we greet thee again Hail, Liberty! Hail!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Hyaenas

 After the burial-parties leave
 And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
 To take account of our dead.
How he died and why he died Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside And dig till they come to it.
They are only resolute they shall eat That they and their mates may thrive, And they know that the dead are safer meat Than the weakest thing alive.
(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting, And a child will sometimes stand; But a poor dead soldier of the King Can never lift a hand.
) They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt Until their tushes white Take good hold in the army shirt, And tug the corpse to light, And the pitiful face is shewn again For an instant ere they close; But it is not discovered to living men -- Only to God and to those Who, being soulless, are free from shame, Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's name -- That is reserved for his kind.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

Hymn Before Action

 The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow --
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek My mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee --
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone!
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Instructor

 At times when under cover I 'ave said,
To keep my spirits up an' raise a laugh,
'Earin 'im pass so busy over-'ead--
Old Nickel-Neck, 'oo is n't on the Staff --
"There's one above is greater than us all"

Before 'im I 'ave seen my Colonel fall,
An 'watched 'im write my Captain's epitaph,
So that a long way off it could be read--
He 'as the knack o' makin' men feel small--
Old Whistle Tip, 'oo is n't on the Staff.
There is no sense in fleein'' (I 'ave fled), Better go on an' do the belly-crawl, An' 'ope' 'e '1l it some other man instead Of you 'e seems to 'unt so speshual-- Fitzy van Spitz, 'oo is n't on the Staff.
An' thus in mem'ry's cinematograph, Now that the show is over, I recall The peevish voice an' 'oary mushroom 'ead Of 'im we owned was greater than us all, 'Oo give instruction to the quick an' the dead-- The Shudderin'' Beggar--not upon the Staff!

by Rudyard Kipling | |

The Jester

 There are three degrees of bliss
At the foot of Allah's Throne
And the highest place is his
Who saves a brother's soul
At peril of his own.
There is the Power made known! There are three degrees of bliss In Garden of Paradise, And the second place is his Who saves his brother's soul By exellent advice.
For the Glory lies! There the are three degrees of bliss And three abodes of the Blest, And the lowest place is his Who had saved a soul by jest And a brother's soul in sport.
But there do the Angels resort!