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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 |

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!

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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 |

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 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!

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |



They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,
 The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
 Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?

They shall not return to us; the strong men coldly slain
 In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
 Are they too strong and wise to put away?

Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide--
 Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died, Shall they thrust for high employments as of old? Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour: When the storm is ended shall we find How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power By the favour and contrivance of their kind? Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends, Even while they make a show of fear, Do they call upon their debtors, and take counsel with their friends, To conform and re-establish each career? Their lives cannot repay us--their death could not undo-- The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew, Shell we leave it unabated in its place?

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 |

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 |

Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack

 (From The Jungle Book) 
As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled
 Once, twice, and again!
And a doe leaped up -- and a doe leaped up
From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup.
This I, scouting alone, beheld, Once, twice, and again! As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled Once, twice, and again! And a wolf stole back -- and a wolf stole back To carry the word to the waiting Pack; And we sought and we found and we bayed on his track Once, twice, and again! As the dawn was breaking the Wolf-pack yelled Once, twice, and again! Feet in the jungle that leave no mark! Eyes that can see in the dark -- the dark! Tongue -- give tongue to it! Hark! O Hark! Once, twice, and again! His spots are the joy of the Leopard: his horns are the Buffalo's pride -- Be clean, for the strength of the hunter is known by the gloss of his hide.
If ye find that the Bullock can toss you, or the heavy-browed Sambhur can gore; Ye need not stop work to inform us; we knew it ten seasons before.
Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister and Brother, For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is their mother.
"There is none like to me!" says the Cub in the pride of his earliest kill; But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small.
Let him think and be still.

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?