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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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Written by 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!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Song of Travel

 Where's the lamp that Hero lit
 Once to call Leander home?
Equal Time hath shovelled it
 'Neath the wrack of Greece and Rome.
Neither wait we any more That worn sail which Argo bore.
Dust and dust of ashes close All the Vestal Virgin's care; And the oldest altar shows But an older darkness there.
Age-encamped Oblivion Tenteth every light that shone.
Yet shall we, for Suns that die, Wall our wanderings from desire? Or, because the Moon is high, Scorn to use a nearer fire? Lest some envious Pharaoh stir, Make our lives our sepulcher? Nay! Though Time with petty Fate Prison us and Emperors, By our Arts do we create That which Time himself devours-- Such machines as well may run 'Gainst the Horses of the Sun.
When we would a new abode, Space, our tyrant King no more, Lays the long lance of the road At our feet and flees before, Breathless, ere we overwhelm, To submit a further realm!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Ballad of the Red Earl

 (It is not for them to criticize too minutely
the methods the Irish followed, though they might deplore some of
their results.
During the past few years Ireland had been going through what was tantamount to a revolution.
-- EARL SPENCER) Red Earl, and will ye take for guide The silly camel-birds, That ye bury your head in an Irish thorn, On a desert of drifting words? Ye have followed a man for a God, Red Earl, As the Lod o' Wrong and Right; But the day is done with the setting sun Will ye follow into the night? He gave you your own old words, Red Earl, For food on the wastrel way; Will ye rise and eat in the night, Red Earl, That fed so full in the day? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, And where did the wandering lead? From the day that ye praised the spoken word To the day ye must gloss the deed.
And as ye have given your hand for gain, So must ye give in loss; And as ye ha' come to the brink of the pit, So must ye loup across.
For some be rogues in grain, Red Earl, And some be rogues in fact, And rogues direct and rogues elect; But all be rogues in pact.
Ye have cast your lot with these, Red Earl; Take heed to where ye stand.
Ye have tied a knot with your tongue, Red Earl, That ye cannot loose with your hand.
Ye have travelled fast, ye have travelled far, In the grip of a tightening tether, Till ye find at the end ye must take for friend The quick and their dead together.
Ye have played with the Law between your lips, And mouthed it daintilee; But the gist o' the speech is ill to teach, For ye say: "Let wrong go free.
" Red Earl, ye wear the Garter fair, And gat your place from a King: Do ye make Rebellion of no account, And Treason a little thing? And have ye weighed your words, Red Earl, That stand and speak so high? And is it good that the guilt o' blood, Be cleared at the cost of a sigh? And is it well for the sake of peace, Our tattered Honour to sell, And higgle anew with a tainted crew -- Red Earl, and is it well? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, On a dark and doubtful way, And the road is hard, is hard, Red Earl, And the price is yet to pay.
Ye shall pay that price as ye reap reward For the toil of your tongue and pen -- In the praise of the blamed and the thanks of the shamed, And the honour o' knavish men.
They scarce shall veil their scorn, Red Earl, And the worst at the last shall be, When you tell your heart that it does not know And your eye that it does not see.

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Written by Rudyard Kipling |



God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law— Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding, calls not Thee to guard, For frantic boast and foolish word— Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

To the True Romance

 Thy face is far from this our war,
 Our call and counter-cry,
I shall not find Thee quick and kind,
 Nor know Thee till I die,
Enough for me in dreams to see
 And touch Thy garments' hem:
Thy feet have trod so near to God
 I may not follow them.
Through wantonness if men profess They weary of Thy parts, E'en let them die at blasphemy And perish with their arts; But we that love, but we that prove Thine excellence august, While we adore discover more Thee perfect, wise, and just.
Since spoken word Man's Spirit stirred Beyond his belly-need, What is is Thine of fair design In thought and craft and deed; Each stroke aright of toil and fight, That was and that shall be, And hope too high, wherefore we die, Has birth and worth in Thee.
Who holds by Thee hath Heaven in fee To gild his dross thereby, And knowledge sure that he endure A child until he die -- For to make plain that man's disdain Is but new Beauty's birth -- For to possess in loneliness The joy of all the earth.
As Thou didst teach all lovers speech And Life all mystery, So shalt Thou rule by every school Till love and longing die, Who wast or yet the Lights were set, A whisper in the Void, Who shalt be sung through planets young When this is clean destroyed.
Beyond the bounds our staring rounds, Across the pressing dark, The children wise of outer skies Look hitherward and mark A light that shifts, a glare that drifts, Rekindling thus and thus, Not all forlorn, for Thou hast borne Strange tales to them of us.
Time hath no tide but must abide The servant of Thy will; Tide hath no time, for to Thy rhyme The ranging stars stand still -- Regent of spheres that lock our fears, Our hopes invisible, Oh 'twas certes at Thy decrees We fashioned Heaven and Hell! Pure Wisdom hath no certain path That lacks thy morning-eyne, And captains bold by Thee controlled Most like to Gods design; Thou art the Voice to kingly boys To lift them through the fight, And Comfortress of Unsuccess, To give the dead good-night -- A veil to draw 'twixt God His Law And Man's infirmity, A shadow kind to dumb and blind The shambles where we die; A rule to trick th' arithmetic Too base of leaguing odds -- The spur of trust, the curb of lust, Thou handmaid of the Gods! O Charity, all patiently Abiding wrack and scaith! O Faith, that meets ten thousand cheats Yet drops no jot of faith! Devil and brute Thou dost transmute To higher, lordlier show, Who art in sooth that lovely Truth The careless angels know! Thy face is far from this our war, Our call and counter-cry, I may not find Thee quick and kind, Nor know Thee till I die.
Yet may I look with heart unshook On blow brought home or missed -- Yet may I hear with equal ear The clarions down the List; Yet set my lance above mischance And ride the barriere -- Oh, hit or miss, how little 'tis, My Lady is not there!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Song of the Women

 How shall she know the worship we would do her?
 The walls are high, and she is very far.
How shall the woman's message reach unto her Above the tumult of the packed bazaar? Free wind of March, against the lattice blowing, Bear thou our thanks, lest she depart unknowing.
Go forth across the fields we may not roam in, Go forth beyond the trees that rim the city, To whatsoe'er fair place she hath her home in, Who dowered us with walth of love and pity.
Out of our shadow pass, and seek her singing -- "I have no gifts but Love alone for bringing.
" Say that we be a feeble folk who greet her, But old in grief, and very wise in tears; Say that we, being desolate, entreat her That she forget us not in after years; For we have seen the light, and it were grievous To dim that dawning if our lady leave us.
By life that ebbed with none to stanch the failing By Love's sad harvest garnered in the spring, When Love in ignorance wept unavailing O'er young buds dead before their blossoming; By all the grey owl watched, the pale moon viewed, In past grim years, declare our gratitude! By hands uplifted to the Gods that heard not, By fits that found no favor in their sight, By faces bent above the babe that stirred not, By nameless horrors of the stifling night; By ills foredone, by peace her toils discover, Bid Earth be good beneath and Heaven above her! If she have sent her servants in our pain If she have fought with Death and dulled his sword; If she have given back our sick again.
And to the breast the wakling lips restored, Is it a little thing that she has wrought? Then Life and Death and Motherhood be nought.
Go forth, O wind, our message on thy wings, And they shall hear thee pass and bid thee speed, In reed-roofed hut, or white-walled home of kings, Who have been helpen by ther in their need.
All spring shall give thee fragrance, and the wheat Shall be a tasselled floorcloth to thy feet.
Haste, for our hearts are with thee, take no rest! Loud-voiced ambassador, from sea to sea Proclaim the blessing, mainfold, confessed.
Of those in darkness by her hand set free.
Then very softly to her presence move, And whisper: "Lady, lo, they know and love!"

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

For All We Have And Are

 For all we have and are,
For all our children's fate,
Stand up and take the war.
The Hun is at the gate! Our world has passed away In wantonness o'erthrown.
There is nothing left to-day But steel and fire and stone! Tough all we knew depart, The old Commandments stand: -- "In courage keep your heart, In strength lift up your hand.
" Once more we hear the word That sickened earth of old: -- "No law except the Sword Unsheathed and uncontrolled.
" Once more it knits mankind, Once more the nations go To meet and break and bind A crazed and driven foe.
Comfort, content, delight, The ages' slow-bought gain, They shrivelled in a night.
Only ourselves remain To face the naked days In silent fortitude, Through perils and dismays Renewed and re-renewed.
Though all we made depart, The old Commandments stand: -- "In patience keep your heart, In strength lift up your hand.
" No easy hope or lies Shall bring us to our goal, But iron sacrifice Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all -- One life for each to give.
What stands if Freedom fall? Who dies if England live?

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Charm

 Take of English earth as much
As either hand may rightly clutch.
In the taking of it breathe Prayer for all who lie beneath.
Not the great nor well-bespoke, But the mere uncounted folk Of whose life and death is none Report or lamentation.
Lay that earth upon thy heart, And thy sickness shall depart! It shall sweeten and make whole Fevered breath and festered soul.
It shall mightily restrain Over-busied hand and brain.
It shall ease thy mortal strife 'Gainst the immortal woe of life, Till thyself, restored, shall prove By what grace the Heavens do move.
Take of English flowers these -- Spring's full-vaced primroses, Summer's wild wide-hearted rose, Autumn's wall-flowerr of the close, And, thy darkness to illume, Winter's bee-thronged ivy-bloom.
Seek and serve them where they bide From Candlemas to Christmas-tide, For these simples, used aright, Can restore a failing sight.
These shall cleanse and purify Webbed and inward-turning eye; These shall show thee treasure hid, Thy familiar fields amid; And reveal (which is thy need) Every man a King indeed!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Ballad of Burial

 ("Saint Proxed's ever was the Church for peace")
If down here I chance to die,
 Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of "I"
 To the Hills for old sake's sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
 In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry --
 This observe for old sake's sake.
To the railway station hie, There a single ticket take For Umballa -- goods-train -- I Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly Spite of clamor coolies make; Thus in state and dignity Send me up for old sake's sake.
Next the sleepy Babu wake, Book a Kalka van "for four.
" Few, I think, will care to make Journeys with me any more As they used to do of yore.
I shall need a "special" break -- Thing I never took before -- Get me one for old sake's sake.
After that -- arrangements make.
No hotel will take me in, And a bullock's back would break 'Neath the teak and leaden skin Tonga ropes are frail and thin, Or, did I a back-seat take, In a tonga I might spin, -- Do your best for old sake's sake.
After that -- your work is done.
Recollect a Padre must Mourn the dear departed one -- Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don't go down at once.
I trust You will find excuse to "snake Three days' casual on the bust.
" Get your fun for old sake's sake.
I could never stand the Plains.
Think of blazing June and May Think of those September rains Yearly till the Judgment Day! I should never rest in peace, I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease, To the Hills for old sake's sake.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal

 Speakin' in general, I'ave tried 'em all 
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I'ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get 'ence, the same as I'ave done, An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die, So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all— The different ways that different things are done, An' men an' women lovin' in this world; Takin' our chances as they come along, An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good? In cash or credit—no, it aren't no good; You've to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die, Unless you lived your life but one day long, Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all, But drew your tucker some'ow from the world, An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I'aven't done? I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good, In various situations round the world For 'im that doth not work must surely die; But that's no reason man should labour all 'Is life on one same shift—life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done, For something in my 'ead upset it all, Till I'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good, An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die, An' met my mate—the wind that tramps the world! It's like a book, I think, this bloomin, world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die Unless you get the page you're readi'n' done, An' turn another—likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn'em all.
Gawd bless this world! Whatever she'oth done— Excep' When awful long—I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Man Who Could Write

 Boanerges Blitzen, servant of the Queen,
Is a dismal failure -- is a Might-have-been.
In a luckless moment he discovered men Rise to high position through a ready pen.
Boanerges Blitzen argued therefore -- "I, With the selfsame weapon, can attain as high.
" Only he did not possess when he made the trial, Wicked wit of C-lv-n, irony of L--l.
[Men who spar with Government need, to back their blows, Something more than ordinary journalistic prose.
] Never young Civilian's prospects were so bright, Till an Indian paper found that he could write: Never young Civilian's prospects were so dark, When the wretched Blitzen wrote to make his mark.
Certainly he scored it, bold, and black, and firm, In that Indian paper -- made his seniors squirm, Quated office scandals, wrote the tactless truth -- Was there ever known a more misguided youth? When the Rag he wrote for praised his plucky game, Boanerges Blitzen felt that this was Fame; When the men he wrote of shook their heads and swore, Boanerges Blitzen only wrote the more: Posed as Young Ithuriel, resolute and grim, Till he found promotion didn't come to him; Till he found that reprimands weekly were his lot, And his many Districts curiously hot.
Till he found his furlough strangely hard to win, Boanerges Blitzen didn't care to pin: Then it seemed to dawn on him something wasn't right -- Boanerges Blitzen put it down to "spite"; Languished in a District desolate and dry; Watched the Local Government yearly pass him by; Wondered where the hitch was; called it most unfair.
That was seven years ago -- and he still is there!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A School Song

 "Let us now praise famous men"--
 Men of little showing-- 
For their work continueth, 
And their work continueth, 
Broad and deep continues,
 Greater then their knowing!

Western wind and open surge
 Took us from our mothers--
Flung us on a naked shore
(Twelve bleak houses by the shore.
Seven summers by the shore! ) 'Mid two hundred brothers.
There we met with famous men Set in office o'er us; And they beat on us with rods-- Faithfully with many rods-- Daily beat us on with rods, For the love they bore us! Out of Egypt unto Troy-- Over Himalaya-- Far and sure our bands have gone-- Hy-Brazil or Babylon, Islands of the Southern Run, And Cities of Cathaia! And we all praise famous men-- Ancients of the College; For they taught us common sense-- Tried to teach us common sense-- Truth and God's Own Common Sense, Which is more than knowledge! Each degree of Latitude Strung about Creation Seeth one or more of us (Of one muster each of us), Diligent in that he does, Keen in his vocation.
This we learned from famous men, Knowing not its uses, When they showed, in daily work-- Man must finish off his work-- Right or wrong, his daily work-- And without excuses.
Servant of the Staff and chain, Mine and fuse and grapnel-- Some, before the face of Kings, Stand before the face of Kings; Bearing gifts to divers Kings-- Gifts of case and shrapnel.
This we learned from famous men Teaching in our borders, Who declared it was best, Safest, easiest, and best-- Expeditious, wise, and best-- To obey your orders.
Some beneath the further stars Bear the greater burden: Set to serve the lands they rule, (Save he serve no man may rule ), Serve and love the lands they rule; Seeking praise nor guerdon.
This we learned from famous men, Knowing not we learned it.
Only, as the years went by-- Lonely, as the years went by-- Far from help as years went by, Plainer we discerned it.
Wherefore praise we famous men From whose bays we borrow-- They that put aside To-day-- All the joys of their To-day-- And with toil of their To-day Bought for us To-morrow! Bless and praise we famous men-- Men of little showing-- For their work continueth, And their work continueth, Broad and deep continueth, Great beyond their knowing!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

Song of the Wise Children


When the darkened Fifties dip to the North,
 And frost and the fog divide the air,
And the day is dead at his breaking-forth,
 Sirs, it is bitter beneath the Bear!

Far to Southward they wheel and glance,
 The million molten spears of morn --
The spears of our deliverance
 That shine on the house where we were born.
Flying-fish about our bows, Flying sea-fires in our wake: This is the road to our Father's House, Whither we go for our souls' sake! We have forfeited our birthright, We have forsaken all things meet; We have forgotten the look of light, We have forgotten the scent of heart.
They that walk with shaded brows, Year by year in a shining land, They be men of our Father's House, They shall receive us and understand.
We shall go back by the boltless doors, To the life unaltered our childhood knew -- To the naked feet on the cool, dark floors, And the high-ceiled rooms that the Trade blows through: To the trumpet-flowers and the moon beyond, And the tree-toad's chorus drowning all -- And the lisp of the split banana-frond That talked us to sleep when we were small.
The wayside magic, the threshold spells, Shall soon undo what the North has done -- Because of the sights and the sounds and the smells That ran with our youth in the eye of the sun.
And Earth accepting shall ask no vows, Nor the Sea our love, nor our lover the Sky.
When we return to our Father's House Only the English shall wonder why!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Death-Bed

This is the State above the Law.
The State exists for the State alone.
" [This is a gland at the back of the jaw, And an answering lump by the collar-bone.
], Some die shouting in gas or fire; Some die silent, by shell and shot.
Some die desperate, caught on the wire - Some die suddenly.
This will not.
"Regis suprema voluntas Lex" [It will follow the regular course of--throats.
] Some die pinned by the broken decks, Some die sobbing between the boats.
Some die eloquent, pressed to death By the sliding trench as their friends can hear Some die wholly in half a breath.
Some--give trouble for half a year.
"There is neither Evil nor Good in life Except as the needs of the State ordain.
" [Since it is rather too late for the knife, All we can do is to mask the pain.
] Some die saintly in faith and hope-- One died thus in a prison-yard-- Some die broken by rape or the rope; Some die easily.
This dies hard.
"I will dash to pieces who bar my way.
Woe to the traitor! Woe to the weak! " [Let him write what he wishes to say.
It tires him out if he tries to speak.
] Some die quietly.
Some abound In loud self-pity.
Others spread Bad morale through the cots around .
This is a type that is better dead.
"The war was forced on me by my foes.
All that I sought was the right to live.
" [Don't be afraid of a triple dose; The pain will neutralize all we give.
Here are the needles.
See that he dies While the effects of the drug endure.
What is the question he asks with his eyes?-- Yes, All-Highest, to God, be sure.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Tale of Two Cities

 Where the sober-colored cultivator smiles
 On his byles;
Where the cholera, the cyclone, and the crow
 Come and go;
Where the merchant deals in indigo and tea,
 Hides and ghi;
Where the Babu drops inflammatory hints
 In his prints;
Stands a City -- Charnock chose it -- packed away
 Near a Bay --
By the Sewage rendered fetid, by the sewer
 Made impure,
By the Sunderbunds unwholesome, by the swamp
 Moist and damp;
And the City and the Viceroy, as we see,
 Don't agree.
Once, two hundered years ago, the trader came Meek and tame.
Where his timid foot first halted, there he stayed, Till mere trade Grew to Empire, and he sent his armies forth South and North Till the country from Peshawur to Ceylon Was his own.
Thus the midday halt of Charnock -- more's the pity! Grew a City.
As the fungus sprouts chaotic from its bed, So it spread -- Chance-directed, chance-erected, laid and built On the silt -- Palace, byre, hovel -- poverty and pride -- Side by side; And, above the packed and pestilential town, Death looked down.
But the Rulers in that City by the Sea Turned to flee -- Fled, with each returning spring-tide from its ills To the Hills.
From the clammy fogs of morning, from the blaze Of old days, From the sickness of the noontide, from the heat, Beat retreat; For the country from Peshawur to Ceylon Was their own.
But the Merchant risked the perils of the Plain For his gain.
Now the resting-place of Charnock, 'neath the palms, Asks an alms, And the burden of its lamentation is, Briefly, this: "Because for certain months, we boil and stew, So should you.
Cast the Viceroy and his Council, to perspire In our fire!" And for answer to the argument, in vain We explain That an amateur Saint Lawrence cannot fry: "All must fry!" That the Merchant risks the perils of the Plain For gain.
Nor can Rulers rule a house that men grow rich in, From its kitchen.
Let the Babu drop inflammatory hints In his prints; And mature -- consistent soul -- his plan for stealing To Darjeeling: Let the Merchant seek, who makes his silver pile, England's isle; Let the City Charnock pitched on -- evil day! Go Her way.
Though the argosies of Asia at Her doors Heap their stores, Though Her enterprise and energy secure Income sure, Though "out-station orders punctually obeyed" Swell Her trade -- Still, for rule, administration, and the rest, Simla's best.