Top 11 Best Rudyard Kipling Famous Poems

Top 11 Best Rudyard Kipling Famous Poems
Rudyard Kipling

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If - Poem 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!



A Child's Garden - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Now there is nothing wrong with me

Except -- I think it's called T.B.

And that is why I have to lay

Out in the garden all the day.


Our garden is not very wide

And cars go by on either side,

And make an angry-hooty noise

That rather startles little boys.


But worst of all is when they take

Me out in cars that growl and shake,

With charabancs so dreadful-near

I have to shut my eyes for fear.


But when I'm on my back again,

I watch the Croydon aeroplane

That flies across to France, and sings

Like hitting thick piano-strings.


When I am strong enough to do

The things I'm truly wishful to,

I'll never use a car or train

But always have an aeroplane;


And just go zooming round and round,

And frighten Nursey with the sound,

And see the angel-side of clouds,

And spit on all those motor-crowds!



A Code Of Morals - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Now Jones had left his new-wed bride to keep his house in order,

And hied away to the Hurrum Hills above the Afghan border,

To sit on a rock with a heliograph; but ere he left he taught

His wife the working of the Code that sets the miles at naught.


And Love had made him very sage, as Nature made her fair;

So Cupid and Apollo linked , per heliograph, the pair.

At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --

At e'en, the dying sunset bore her busband's homilies.


He warned her 'gainst seductive youths in scarlet clad and gold,

As much as 'gainst the blandishments paternal of the old;

But kept his gravest warnings for (hereby the ditty hangs)

That snowy-haired Lothario, Lieutenant-General Bangs.


'Twas General Bangs, with Aide and Staff, who tittupped on the way,

When they beheld a heliograph tempestuously at play.

They thought of Border risings, and of stations sacked and burnt --

So stopped to take the message down -- and this is whay they learnt --


"Dash dot dot, dot, dot dash, dot dash dot" twice. The General swore.

"Was ever General Officer addressed as 'dear' before?

"'My Love,' i' faith! 'My Duck,' Gadzooks! 'My darling popsy-wop!'

"Spirit of great Lord Wolseley, who is on that mountaintop?"


The artless Aide-de-camp was mute; the gilded Staff were still,

As, dumb with pent-up mirth, they booked that message from the hill;

For clear as summer lightning-flare, the husband's warning ran: --

"Don't dance or ride with General Bangs -- a most immoral man."


[At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --

But, howsoever Love be blind, the world at large hath eyes.]

With damnatory dot and dash he heliographed his wife

Some interesting details of the General's private life.


The artless Aide-de-camp was mute, the shining Staff were still,

And red and ever redder grew the General's shaven gill.

And this is what he said at last (his feelings matter not): --

"I think we've tapped a private line. Hi! Threes about there! Trot!"


All honour unto Bangs, for ne'er did Jones thereafter know

By word or act official who read off that helio.

But the tale is on the Frontier, and from Michni to Mooltan

They know the worthy General as "that most immoral man."



Angutivaun Taina - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Our gloves are stiff with the frozen blood,

Our furs with the drifted snow,

As we come in with the seal--the seal!

In from the edge of the floe.


Au jana! Aua! Oha! Haq!

And the yelping dog-teams go;

And the long whips crack, and the men come back,

Back from the edge of the floe!


We tracked our seal to his secret place,

We heard him scratch below,

We made our mark, and we watched beside,

Out on the edge of the floe.


We raised our lance when he rose to breathe,

We drove it downward--so!

And we played him thus, and we killed him thus,

Out on the edge of the floe.


Our gloves are glued with the frozen blood,

Our eyes with the drifting snow;

But we come back to our wives again,

Back from the edge of the floe!


Au jana! Aua! Oha! Haq!

And the loaded dog-teams go;

And the wives ran hear their men come back,

Back from the edge of the floe!



Cleared - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Help for a patriot distressed, a spotless spirit hurt,

Help for an honourable clan sore trampled in the dirt!

From Queenstown Bay to Donegal, O listen to my song,

The honourable gentlemen have suffered grievous wrong.


Their noble names were mentioned -- O the burning black disgrace! --

By a brutal Saxon paper in an Irish shooting-case;

They sat upon it for a year, then steeled their heart to brave it,

And 'coruscating innocence' the learned Judges gave it.


Bear witness, Heaven, of that grim crime beneath the surgeon's knife,

The honourable gentlemen deplored the loss of life!

Bear witness of those chanting choirs that burk and shirk and snigger,

No man laid hand upon the knife or finger to the trigger!


Cleared in the face of all mankind beneath the winking skies,

Like ph]oenixes from Ph]oenix Park (and what lay there) they rise!

Go shout it to the emerald seas -- give word to Erin now,

Her honourable gentlemen are cleared -- and this is how: --


They only paid the Moonlighter his cattle-hocking price,

They only helped the murderer with counsel's best advice,

But -- sure it keeps their honour white -- the learned Court believes

They never gave a piece of plate to murderers and thieves.


They never told the ramping crowd to card a woman's hide,

They never marked a man for death -- what fault of theirs he died? --

They only said 'intimidate', and talked and went away --

By God, the boys that did the work were braver men than they!


Their sin it was that fed the fire -- small blame to them that heard --

The 'bhoys' get drunk on rhetoric, and madden at a word --

They knew whom they were talking at, if they were Irish too,

The gentlemen that lied in Court, they knew, and well they knew.


They only took the Judas-gold from Fenians out of jail,

They only fawned for dollars on the blood-dyed Clanna-Gael.

If black is black or white is white, in black and white it's down,

They're only traitors to the Queen and rebels to the Crown.


'Cleared', honourable gentlemen! Be thankful it's no more: --

The widow's curse is on your house, the dead are at your door.

On you the shame of open shame, on you from North to South

The hand of every honest man flat-heeled across your mouth.


'Less black than we were painted'? -- Faith, no word of black was said;

The lightest touch was human blood, and that, you know, runs red.

It's sticking to your fist to-day for all your sneer and scoff,

And by the Judge's well-weighed word you cannot wipe it off.


Hold up those hands of innocence -- go, scare your sheep together,

The blundering, tripping tups that bleat behind the old bell-wether;

And if they snuff the taint and break to find another pen,

Tell them it's tar that glistens so, and daub them yours again!


'The charge is old'? -- As old as Cain -- as fresh as yesterday;

Old as the Ten Commandments -- have ye talked those laws away?

If words are words, or death is death, or powder sends the ball,

You spoke the words that sped the shot -- the curse be on you all.


'Our friends believe'? -- Of course they do -- as sheltered women may;

But have they seen the shrieking soul ripped from the quivering clay?

They! -- If their own front door is shut,

they'll swear the whole world's warm;

What do they know of dread of death or hanging fear of harm?


The secret half a county keeps, the whisper in the lane,

The shriek that tells the shot went home behind the broken pane,

The dry blood crisping in the sun that scares the honest bees,

And shows the 'bhoys' have heard your talk -- what do they know of these?


But you -- you know -- ay, ten times more; the secrets of the dead,

Black terror on the country-side by word and whisper bred,

The mangled stallion's scream at night, the tail-cropped heifer's low.

Who set the whisper going first? You know, and well you know!


My soul! I'd sooner lie in jail for murder plain and straight,

Pure crime I'd done with my own hand for money, lust, or hate,

Than take a seat in Parliament by fellow-felons cheered,

While one of those 'not provens' proved me cleared as you are cleared.


Cleared -- you that 'lost' the League accounts -- go, guard our honour still,

Go, help to make our country's laws that broke God's law at will --

One hand stuck out behind the back, to signal 'strike again';

The other on your dress-shirt-front to show your heart is clane.


If black is black or white is white, in black and white it's down,

You're only traitors to the Queen and rebels to the Crown.

If print is print or words are words, the learned Court perpends: --

We are not ruled by murderers, but only -- by their friends.



Mother O' Mine - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If I were hanged on the highest hill,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose love would follow me still,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!


If I were drowned in the deepest sea,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose tears would come down to me,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!


If I were damned of body and soul,

I know whose prayers would make me whole,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!



A Servant When He Reigneth - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Three things make earth unquiet

And four she cannot brook

The godly Agur counted them

And put them in a book --

Those Four Tremendous Curses

With which mankind is cursed;

But a Servant when He Reigneth

Old Agur entered first.

An Handmaid that is Mistress

We need not call upon.

A Fool when he is full of Meat

Will fall asleep anon.

An Odious Woman Married

May bear a babe and mend;

But a Servant when He Reigneth

Is Confusion to the end.


His feet are swift to tumult,

His hands are slow to toil,

His ears are deaf to reason,

His lips are loud in broil.

He knows no use for power

Except to show his might.

He gives no heed to judgment

Unless it prove him right.


Because he served a master

Before his Kingship came,

And hid in all disaster

Behind his master's name,

So, when his Folly opens

The unnecessary hells,

A Servant when He Reigneth

Throws the blame on some one else.


His vows are lightly spoken,

His faith is hard to bind,

His trust is easy boken,

He fears his fellow-kind.

The nearest mob will move him

To break the pledge he gave --

Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth

Is more than ever slave!



Mary, Pity Women! - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

You call yourself a man,

For all you used to swear,

An' leave me, as you can,

My certain shame to bear?

I 'ear! You do not care --

You done the worst you know.

I 'ate you, grinnin' there. . . .

Ah, Gawd, I love you so!


Nice while it lasted, an' now it is over --

Tear out your 'eart an' good-bye to your lover!

What's the use o' grievin', when the mother that bore you

(Mary, pity women!) knew it all before you?


It aren't no false alarm,

The finish to your fun;

You -- you 'ave brung the 'arm,

An' I'm the ruined one;

An' now you'll off an' run

With some new fool in tow.

Your 'eart? You 'aven't none. . . .

Ah, Gawd, I love you so!


When a man is tired there is naught will bind 'im;

All 'e solemn promised 'e will shove be'ind 'im.

What's the good o' prayin' for The Wrath to strike 'im

(Mary, pity women!), when the rest are like 'im?


What 'ope for me or -- it?

What's left for us to do?

I've walked with men a bit,

But this -- but this is you.

So 'elp me Christ, it's true!

Where can I 'ide or go?

You coward through and through! . . .

Ah, Gawd, I love you so!


All the more you give 'em the less are they for givin' --

Love lies dead, an' you cannot kiss 'im livin'.

Down the road 'e led you there is no returnin'

(Mary, pity women!), but you're late in learnin'!


You'd like to treat me fair?

You can't, because we're pore?

We'd starve? What do I care!

We might, but ~this~ is shore!

I want the name -- no more --

The name, an' lines to show,

An' not to be an 'ore. . . .

Ah, Gawd, I love you so!


What's the good o' pleadin', when the mother that bore you

(Mary, pity women!) knew it all before you?

Sleep on 'is promises an' wake to your sorrow

(Mary, pity women!), for we sail to-morrow!



Mandalay - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,

There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:

"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"

Come you back to Mandalay,

Where the old Flotilla lay:

Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?

On the road to Mandalay,

Where the flyin'-fishes play,

An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!


'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,

An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat -- jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,

An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,

An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:

Bloomin' idol made o'mud --

Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd --

Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!

On the road to Mandalay . . .


When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,

She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "~Kulla-lo-lo!~"

With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek agin' my cheek

We useter watch the steamers an' the ~hathis~ pilin' teak.

Elephints a-pilin' teak

In the sludgy, squdgy creek,

Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!

On the road to Mandalay . . .


But that's all shove be'ind me -- long ago an' fur away,

An' there ain't no 'busses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;

An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:

"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."

No! you won't 'eed nothin' else

But them spicy garlic smells,

An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;

On the road to Mandalay . . .


I am sick o' wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,

An' the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;

Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,

An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?

Beefy face an' grubby 'and --

Law! wot do they understand?

I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!

On the road to Mandalay . . .


Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,

Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;

For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be --

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;

On the road to Mandalay,

Where the old Flotilla lay,

With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!

On the road to Mandalay,

Where the flyin'-fishes play,

An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!



In Springtime - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

My garden blazes brightly with the rose-bush and the peach,

And the koil sings above it, in the siris by the well,

From the creeper-covered trellis comes the squirrel's chattering speech,

And the blue jay screams and flutters where the cheery sat-bhai dwell.

But the rose has lost its fragrance, and the koil's note is strange;

I am sick of endless sunshine, sick of blossom-burdened bough.

Give me back the leafless woodlands where the winds of Springtime range --

Give me back one day in England, for it's Spring in England now!


Through the pines the gusts are booming, o'er the brown fields blowing chill,

From the furrow of the ploughshare streams the fragrance of the loam,

And the hawk nests on the cliffside and the jackdaw in the hill,

And my heart is back in England 'mid the sights and sounds of Home.

But the garland of the sacrifice this wealth of rose and peach is,

Ah! koil, little koil, singing on the siris bough,

In my ears the knell of exile your ceaseless bell like speech is --

Can you tell me aught of England or of Spring in England now?



The Young British Soldier - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East

'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,

An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased

Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.

Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

So-oldier ~OF~ the Queen!


Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,

You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,

An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:

A soldier what's fit for a soldier.

Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .


First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,

For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --

Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --

An' it's bad for the young British soldier.

Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .


When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --

Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,

For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,

An' it crumples the young British soldier.

Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .


But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:

You ~must~ wear your 'elmet for all that is said:

If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,

An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.

Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .


If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,

Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;

Be handy and civil, and then you will find

That it's beer for the young British soldier.

Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .


Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --

A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,

For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,

Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.

'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .


If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath

To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --

Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,

An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.

Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .


When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,

Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,

Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck

And march to your front like a soldier.

Front, front, front like a soldier . . .


When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,

Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;

She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,

An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.

Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .


When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,

The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,

Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,

For noise never startles the soldier.

Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .


If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,

Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:

So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,

And wait for supports like a soldier.

Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .


When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,

And the women come out to cut up what remains,

Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Go, go, go like a soldier,

Go, go, go like a soldier,

Go, go, go like a soldier,

So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

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