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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 |



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 |

The Settler


(South African War ended, May, 1902)

 Here, where my fresh-turned furrows run,
 And the deep soil glistens red,
 I will repair the wrong that was done
 To the living and the dead.
Here, where the senseless bullet fell, And the barren shrapnel burst, I will plant a tree, I will dig a well, Against the heat and the thirst.
Here, in a large and a sunlit land, Where no wrong bites to the bone, I will lay my hand in my neighbour's hand, And together we will atone For the set folly and the red breach And the black waste of it all; Giving and taking counsel each Over the cattle-kraal.
Here will we join against our foes-- The hailstroke and the storm, And the red and rustling cloud that blows The locust's mile-deep swarm.
Frost and murrain and floods let loose Shall launch us side by side In the holy wars that have no truce 'Twixt seed and harvest-tide.
Earth, where we rode to slay or be slain, Our love shall redeem unto life.
We will gather and lead to her lips again The waters of ancient strife, From the far and fiercely guarded streams And the pools where we lay in wait, Till the corn cover our evil dreams And the young corn our hate.
And when we bring old fights to mind, We will not remember the sin-- If there be blood on his head of my kind, Or blood on my head of his kin-- For the ungrazed upland, the untilled lea Cry, and the fields forlorn: " The dead must bury their dead, but ye- Ye serve an host unborn.
" Bless then, Our God, the new-yoked plough And the good beasts that draw, And the bread we eat in the sweat of our brow According to Thy Law.
After us cometh a multitude-- Prosper the work of our hands, That we may feed with our land's food The folk of all our lands! Here, in the waves and the troughs of the plains, Where the healing stillness lies, And the vast, benignant sky restrains And the long days make wise-- Bless to our use the rain and the sun And the blind seed in its bed, That we may repair the wrong that was done To the living and the dead!

More great poems below...

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

Soldier Soldier

 "Soldier, soldier come from the wars,
Why don't you march with my true love?"
"We're fresh from off the ship an' 'e's maybe give the slip,
An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" New love! True love! Best go look for a new love, The dead they cannot rise, an' you'd better dry your eyes, An' you'd best go look for a new love.
"Soldier, soldier come from the wars, What did you see o' my true love?" "I seed 'im serve the Queen in a suit o' rifle-green, An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, Did ye see no more o' my true love?" "I seed 'im runnin' by when the shots begun to fly -- But you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, Did aught take 'arm to my true love?" "I couldn't see the fight, for the smoke it lay so white -- An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, I'll up an' tend to my true love!" "'E's lying on the dead with a bullet through 'is 'ead, An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, I'll down an' die with my true love!" "The pit we dug'll 'ide 'im an' the twenty men beside 'im -- An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, Do you bring no sign from my true love?" "I bring a lock of 'air that 'e allus used to wear, An' you'd best go look for a new love.
" "Soldier, soldier come from the wars, O then I know it's true I've lost my true love!" "An' I tell you truth again -- when you've lost the feel o' pain You'd best take me for your true love.
" True love! New love! Best take 'im for a new love, The dead they cannot rise, an' you'd better dry your eyes, An' you'd best take 'im for your true love.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

A Tree Song

1200) Of all the trees that grow so fair, Old England to adorn, Greater are none beneath the Sun, Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs, (All of a Midsummer morn!) Surely we sing no little thing, In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Oak of the Clay lived many a day, Or ever AEneas began.
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home, When Brut was an outlaw man.
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town (From which was London born); Witness hereby the ancientry Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Yew that is old in churchyard-mould, He breedeth a mighty bow.
Alder for shoes do wise men choose, And beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled, And your shoes are clean outworn, Back ye must speed for all that ye need, To Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth Till every gust be laid, To drop a limb on the head of him That anyway trusts her shade: But whether a lad be sober or sad, Or mellow with ale from the horn, He will take no wrong when he lieth along 'Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight, Or he would call it a sin; But--we have been out in the woods all night, A-conjuring Summer in! And we bring you news by word of mouth- Good news for cattle and corn-- Now is the Sun come up from the South, With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good sirs (All of a Midsummer morn): England shall bide ti11 Judgment Tide, By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Last Department

 Twelve hundred million men are spread
 About this Earth, and I and You
 Wonder, when You and I are dead,
 "What will those luckless millions do?"

None whole or clean, " we cry, "or free from stain
Of favour.
" Wait awhile, till we attain The Last Department where nor fraud nor fools, Nor grade nor greed, shall trouble us again.
Fear, Favour, or Affection -- what are these To the grim Head who claims our services? I never knew a wife or interest yet Delay that pukka step, miscalled "decease"; When leave, long overdue, none can deny; When idleness of all Eternity Becomes our furlough, and the marigold Our thriftless, bullion-minting Treasury Transferred to the Eternal Settlement, Each in his strait, wood-scantled office pent, No longer Brown reverses Smith's appeals, Or Jones records his Minute of Dissent.
And One, long since a pillar of the Court, As mud between the beams thereof is wrought; And One who wrote on phosphates for the crops Is subject-matter of his own Report.
These be the glorious ends whereto we pass -- Let Him who Is, go call on Him who Was; And He shall see the mallie steals the slab For currie-grinder, and for goats the grass.
A breath of wind, a Border bullet's flight, A draught of water, or a horse's firght -- The droning of the fat Sheristadar Ceases, the punkah stops, and falls the night For you or Me.
Do those who live decline The step that offers, or their work resign? Trust me, To-day's Most Indispensables, Five hundred men can take your place or mine.

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.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Gift of the Sea

 The dead child lay in the shroud,
 And the widow watched beside;
And her mother slept, and the Channel swept
 The gale in the teeth of the tide.
But the mother laughed at all.
"I have lost my man in the sea, And the child is dead.
Be still," she said, "What more can ye do to me?" The widow watched the dead, And the candle guttered low, And she tried to sing the Passing Song That bids the poor soul go.
And "Mary take you now," she sang, "That lay against my heart.
" And "Mary smooth your crib to-night," But she could not say "Depart.
" Then came a cry from the sea, But the sea-rime blinded the glass, And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said, "'Tis the child that waits to pass.
" And the nodding mother sighed.
"'Tis a lambing ewe in the whin, For why should the christened soul cry out That never knew of sin?" "O feet I have held in my hand, O hands at my heart to catch, How should they know the road to go, And how should they lift the latch?" They laid a sheet to the door, With the little quilt atop, That it might not hurt from the cold or the dirt, But the crying would not stop.
The widow lifted the latch And strained her eyes to see, And opened the door on the bitter shore To let the soul go free.
There was neither glimmer nor ghost, There was neither spirit nor spark, And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said, "'Tis crying for me in the dark.
" And the nodding mother sighed: "'Tis sorrow makes ye dull; Have ye yet to learn the cry of the tern, Or the wail of the wind-blown gull?" "The terns are blown inland, The gray gull follows the plough.
'Twas never a bird, the voice I heard, O mother, I hear it now!" "Lie still, dear lamb, lie still; The child is passed from harm, 'Tis the ache in your breast that broke your rest, And the feel of an empty arm.
" She put her mother aside, "In Mary's name let be! For the peace of my soul I must go," she said, And she went to the calling sea.
In the heel of the wind-bit pier, Where the twisted weed was piled, She came to the life she had missed by an hour, For she came to a little child.
She laid it into her breast, And back to her mother she came, But it would not feed and it would not heed, Though she gave it her own child's name.
And the dead child dripped on her breast, And her own in the shroud lay stark; And "God forgive us, mother," she said, "We let it die in the dark!"

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Trade

 They bear, in place of classic names,
 Letters and numbers on their skin.
They play their grisly blindfold games In little boxes made of tin.
Sometimes they stalk the Zeppelin, Sometimes they learn where mines are laid, Or where the Baltic ice is thin.
That is the custom of "The Trade.
" Few prize-courts sit upon their claims.
They seldom tow their targets in.
They follow certain secret aims Down under, Far from strife or din.
When they are ready to begin No flag is flown, no fuss is made More than the shearing of a pin.
That is the custom of "The Trade.
" The Scout's quadruple funnel flames A mark from Sweden to the Swin, The Cruiser's thund'rous screw proclaims Her comings out and goings in: But only whiffs of paraffin Or creamy rings that fizz and fade Show where the one-eyed Death has been That is the custom of "The Trade.
" Their feats, their fortunes and their fames Are hidden from their nearest kin; No eager public backs or blames, No journal prints the yarn they spin (The Censor would not let it in! ) When they return from run or raid.
Unheard they work, unseen they win.
That is the custom of "The Trade.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

As the Bell Clinks

 As I left the Halls at Lumley, rose the vision of a comely
Maid last season worshipped dumbly, watched with fervor from afar;
And I wondered idly, blindly, if the maid would greet me kindly.
That was all -- the rest was settled by the clinking tonga-bar.
Yea, my life and hers were coupled by the tonga coupling-bar.
For my misty meditation, at the second changin-station, Suffered sudden dislocation, fled before the tuneless jar Of a Wagner obbligato, scherzo, doublehand staccato, Played on either pony's saddle by the clacking tonga-bar -- Played with human speech, I fancied, by the jigging, jolting bar.
"She was sweet," thought I, "last season, but 'twere surely wild unreason Such tiny hope to freeze on as was offered by my Star, When she whispered, something sadly: 'I -- we feel your going badly!'" "And you let the chance escape you?" rapped the rattling tonga-bar.
"What a chance and what an idiot!" clicked the vicious tonga-bar.
Heart of man -- oh, heart of putty! Had I gone by Kakahutti, On the old Hill-road and rutty, I had 'scaped that fatal car.
But his fortune each must bide by, so I watched the milestones slide by, To "You call on Her to-morrow!" -- fugue with cymbals by the bar -- You must call on Her to-morrow!" -- post-horn gallop by the bar.
Yet a further stage my goal on -- we were whirling down to Solon, With a double lurch and roll on, best foot foremost, ganz und gar -- "She was very sweet," I hinted.
"If a kiss had been imprinted?" -- "'Would ha' saved a world of trouble!" clashed the busy tonga-bar.
"'Been accepted or rejected!" banged and clanged the tonga-bar.
Then a notion wild and daring, 'spite the income tax's paring, And a hasty thought of sharing -- less than many incomes are, Made me put a question private, you can guess what I would drive at.
"You must work the sum to prove it," clanked the careless tonga-bar.
"Simple Rule of Two will prove it," litled back the tonga-bar.
It was under Khyraghaut I muse.
"Suppose the maid be haughty -- (There are lovers rich -- and roty) -- wait some wealthy Avatar? Answer monitor untiring, 'twixt the ponies twain perspiring!" "Faint heart never won fair lady," creaked the straining tonga-bar.
"Can I tell you ere you ask Her?" pounded slow the tonga-bar.
Last, the Tara Devi turning showed the lights of Simla burning, Lit my little lazy yearning to a fiercer flame by far.
As below the Mall we jingled, through my very heart it tingled -- Did the iterated order of the threshing tonga-bar -- Truy your luck -- you can't do better!" twanged the loosened tongar-bar.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

South Africa

Lived a woman wonderful,
 (May the Lord amend her!)
Neither simple, kind, nor true,
But her Pagan beauty drew
Christian gentlemen a few
 Hotly to attend her.
Christian gentlemen a few From Berwick unto Dover; For she was South Africa, Ana she was South Africa, She was Our South Africa, Africa all over! Half her land was dead with drouth, Half was red with battle; She was fenced with fire and sword Plague on pestilence outpoured, Locusts on the greening sward And murrain on the cattle! True, ah true, and overtrue.
That is why we love her! For she is South Africa, And she is South Africa, She is Our South Africa, Africa all over! Bitter hard her lovers toild, Scandalous their paymen, -- Food forgot on trains derailed; Cattle -- dung where fuel failed; Water where the mules had staled; And sackcloth for their raiment! So she filled their mouths with dust And their bones with fever; Greeted them with cruel lies; Treated them despiteful-wise; Meted them calamities Till they vowed to leave her! They took ship and they took sail, Raging, from her borders -- In a little, none the less, They forgat their sore duresse; They forgave her waywardness And returned for orders! They esteemed her favour more Than a Throne's foundation.
For the glory of her face Bade farewell to breed and race -- Yea, and made their burial-place Altar of a Nation! Wherefore, being bought by blood, And by blood restored To the arms that nearly lost, She, because of all she cost, Stands, a very woman, most Perfect and adored! On your feet, and let them know This is why we love her! For she is South Africa, She is Our South Africa, Is Our Own 5outh Africa, Africa all over!

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 Miracles

 I sent a message to my dear --
 A thousand leagues and more to Her --
The dumb sea-levels thrilled to hear,
 And Lost Atlantis bore to Her.
Behind my message hard I came, And nigh had found a grave for me; But that I launched of steel and flame Did war against the wave for me.
Uprose the deep, by gale on gale, To bid me change my mind again -- He broke his teeth along my rail, And, roaring, swung behind again.
I stayed the sun at noon to tell My way across the waste of it; I read the storm before it fell And made the better haste of it.
Afar, I hailed the land at night -- The towers I built had heard of me -- And, ere my rocket reached its height, Had flashed my Love the word of me.
Earth sold her chosen men of strength (They lived and strove and died for me) To drive my road a nation's length, And toss the miles aside for me.
I snatched their toil to serve my needs -- Too slow their fleetest flew for me -- I tired twenty smoking steeds, And bade them bait a new for me.
I sent the lightnings forth to see Where hour by hour She waited me.
Among ten million one was She, And surely all men hated me! Dawn ran to meet me at my goal -- Ah, day no tongue shall tell again! And little folk of little soul Rose up to buy and sell again!

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Jacket

 Through the Plagues of Egyp' we was chasin' Arabi,
 Gettin' down an' shovin' in the sun;
An' you might 'ave called us dirty, an' you might ha' called us dry,
 An' you might 'ave 'eard us talkin' at the gun.
But the Captain 'ad 'is jacket, an' the jacket it was new -- ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the wettin' of the jacket is the proper thing to do, Nor we didn't keep 'im waitin' very long.
One day they gave us orders for to shell a sand redoubt, Loadin' down the axle-arms with case; But the Captain knew 'is dooty, an' he took the crackers out An' he put some proper liquor in its place.
An' the Captain saw the shrapnel, which is six-an'-thirty clear.
('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) "Will you draw the weight," sez 'e, "or will you draw the beer?" An' we didn't keep 'im waitin' very long.
For the Captain, etc.
Then we trotted gentle, not to break the bloomin' glass, Though the Arabites 'ad all their ranges marked; But we dursn't 'ardly gallop, for the most was bottled Bass, An' we'd dreamed of it since we was disembarked: So we fired economic with the shells we 'ad in 'and, ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) But the beggars under cover 'ad the impidence to stand, An' we couldn't keep 'em waitin' very long.
And the Captain, etc.
So we finished 'arf the liquor (an' the Captain took champagne), An' the Arabites was shootin' all the while; An' we left our wounded 'appy with the empties on the plain, An' we used the bloomin' guns for pro-jec-tile! We limbered up an' galloped -- there were nothin' else to do -- ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the Battery came a-boundin' like a boundin' kangaroo, But they didn't watch us comin' very long.
As the Captain, etc.
We was goin' most extended -- we was drivin' very fine, An' the Arabites were loosin' 'igh an' wide, Till the Captain took the glassy with a rattlin' right incline, An' we dropped upon their 'eads the other side.
Then we give 'em quarter -- such as 'adn't up and cut, ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the Captain stood a limberful of fizzy -- somethin' Brutt, But we didn't leave it fizzing very long.
For the Captain, etc.
We might ha' been court-martialled, but it all come out all right When they signalled us to join the main command.
There was every round expended, there was every gunner tight, An' the Captain waved a corkscrew in 'is 'and.
But the Captain 'ad 'is jacket, etc.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |


 To the City of Bombay

The Cities are full of pride,
 Challenging each to each --
This from her mountain-side,
 That from her burthened beach.
They count their ships full tale -- Their corn and oil and wine, Derrick and loom and bale, And rampart's gun-flecked line; City by City they hail: "Hast aught to match with mine?" And the men that breed from them They traffic up and down, But cling to their cities' hem As a child to their mother's gown.
When they talk with the stranger bands, Dazed and newly alone; When they walk in the stranger lands, By roaring streets unknown; Blessing her where she stands For strength above their own.
(On high to hold her fame That stands all fame beyond, By oath to back the same, Most faithful-foolish-fond; Making her mere-breathed name Their bond upon their bond.
) So thank I God my birth Fell not in isles aside -- Waste headlands of the earth, Or warring tribes untried -- But that she lent me worth And gave me right to pride.
Surely in toil or fray Under an alien sky, Comfort it is to say: "Of no mean city am I!" (Neither by service nor fee Come I to mine estate -- Mother of Cities to me, For I was born in her gate, Between the palms and the sea, Where the world-end steamers wait.
) Now for this debt I owe, And for her far-borne cheer Must I make haste and go With tribute to her pier.
And she shall touch and remit After the use of kings (Orderly, ancient, fit) My deep-sea plunderings, And purchase in all lands.
And this we do for a sign Her power is over mine, And mine I hold at her hands!