Joseph Rudyard Kipling

Picture courtesy of: Wikipedia.Org

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,'ll be a Man, my son!

by Joseph Rudyard Kipling, "If--"


²Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865, son of John Lockwood Kipling, an artist and teacher of architectural sculpture, and his wife Alice Macdonald. His mother was one of the talented and beautiful Macdonald sisters, four of whom married remarkable men, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Poynter, Alfred Baldwin, and John Lockwood Kipling himself.

Kipling had a very happy childhood, learned Hindi from his nurse, and he also learned stories of jungle animals, until he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after a pampered lifestyle as a colonial.

¹ "Then came a new small house smelling of aridity and emptiness, and a parting in the dawn with Father and Mother, who said that I must learn quickly to read and write so that they might send me letters and books.

I lived in that house for close on six years. It belonged to a woman who took in children whose parents were in India."

"It was an establishment run with the full vigour of the Evangelical as revealed to the Woman. I had never heard of Hell, so I was introduced to it in all its terrors—I and whatever luckless little slavey might be in the house, whom severe rationing had led to steal food. Once I saw the Woman beat such a girl who picked up the kitchen poker and threatened retaliation. Myself I was regularly beaten. The Woman had an only son of twelve or thirteen as religious as she. I was a real joy to him, for when his mother had finished with me for the day he (we slept in the same room) took me on and roasted the other side. "

"Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told any one how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. Also, badly-treated children have a clear notion of what they are likely to get if they betray the secrets of a prison-house before they are clear of it."

"In justice to the Woman I can say that I was adequately fed."

Kipling started wearing glasses at a early age, around age eleven. After his stay at, what Kipling calls, the house of desolation, and some time with his family, He stated attending school in England, 1878-1882.

He returned to India at the age of seventeen to work as a journalist and editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. Kipling wrote sketches and verses which at first were used as fillers for unused editorial space. Many were later published in Departmental Ditties (1886). At this time, he also created his soldiers three, and Irishman, a Cockney, and a Yorkshireman, the bases for his 1888 humorous tale Soldiers Three and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

After the death of an American friend and literary collaborator, Wolcott Balestier, he married Wolcott's sister Carrie in 1892. After a world trip, he returned with Carrie to her family home in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA, with the aim of settling down there. It was in Brattleboro, deep in New England, that he wrote Captains Courageous and The Jungle Books, and where their first two children, Josephine and Elsie, were born.
He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published Captains Courageous. Their son John was born in North End House, the holiday home of Rudyard's aunt, Georgiana Burne-Jones, and soon they moved into The Elms. Tragically, Josephine died while the family were on a visit to the United States in early 1899. By now Kipling had come to be regarded as the People's Laureate and the poet of Empire, and he produced some of his most memorable poems and stories in Rottingdean. Seeking seclusion, he moved to a lovely seventeenth century house called Bateman's near Burwash, where he spent his remaining years.
Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies, which included the poem "If-", and other well-known volumes of stories, were written there, and express Kipling's deep sense of the ancient continuity of place and people in the English countryside.

In 1900, Kipling went to South Africa to report the Boer War for an English newspaper, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories. Kipling's poem, "The Absent-Minded Beggar" had raised vast sums of money for the benefit of British soldiers in the war.

Kim, Kipling's most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901, he gives a colorful and dramatic picture of the complicated life of the Indian People, as seen through the eyes of the poor orphan boy, Kim.

His poems became famous for their lively, swinging rhythm. Typical are "Gunga Din" which tells of the courage of an Indian boy who is shot while carrying water to British soldiers in the thick of battle and "Mandalay" tries to capture the strange atmosphere of the east.

The Kipling family moved to Sussex permanently in 1902, and he devoted the rest of his life to writing poetry and short stories, including his most famous poem, "If--". The Kipling's son John died in the Battle of Loos in 1915, at the age of 18.

He had declined most of the many honors which had been offered him, including a knighthood, the Poet Laureateship, and the Order of Merit, but accepted the Nobel prize for literature in 1907.

²Kipling gained renown throughout the world as a poet and storyteller. He was also known as a leading supporter of the British Empire. As apparent from his stories and poems, Kipling interested himself in the romance and adventure which he found in Great Britain's colonial expansion.
As time goes on more people are coming to appreciate his mastery of poetry and prose, and the sheer range of his work. His autobiography Something of Myself was written in 1935, the last year of his life and was published posthumously.

Kipling died on January 18, 1936; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.

Rikki Tikki Tavi
The Mother's Son
The Children's Song
A Legend of Truth
The Burden


To view more of Kipling's poems:

To read the Kipling's Autobiography "Something Of Myself" visit:
Something Of Myself


Some more of his poems includes:
Alnaschar and the Oxen , The Anvil, Appeal, Arithmetic on the Frontier, Army Headquarters, At his Execution, "Back to the Army again", The Ballad of Ahmed Shah, The Ballad of Boh Da Thone, The Ballad of East and West, The Ballad of the King's Mercy, The Ballad of Minepit Shaw , "Banquet Night" , The Bee Boy's Song, The Beginnings , The Bells and Queen Victoria, Big Steamers , The Birthright, 'Bobs', Boots, A British-Roman Song , "Brown Bess", The Burden, The Camel's Hump, Cells, The Centaurs , The Changelings, Chant-Pagan, The Children , Cities and Thrones and Powers , A Code of Morals , Cold Iron, The Companions, The Conundrum of the Workshops The Craftsman, Danny Deever, Dane-geld, The Dawn Wind, The Deep Sea Cables, Delilah, The Destroyers, The Disciple, The Dutch in the Medway, The Dykes, The 'eathen, Edgehill Fight, En-Dor , The Exiles' Line, The Explorer, The Fabulists, The Fifth River , Fifty North and Forty West , The Files , The Finest Story in the World , The Flowers, "For All We Have and Are" , Ford o' Kabul River , The Four Angels , Fox-hunting, Frankie's Trade , Fuzzy-Wuzzy, Gallio's Song, Gipsy Vans, The Gipsy Trail , The Glory of the Garden, Gehazi, General Summary, Gethsemane, The Gods of the Copybook Headings, The Grave of the Hundred Head, Song of the Dane Women, "His Apologies", The Holy War , Hymn of Breaking Strain , Hymn to Physical Pain , I keep six honest serving men..., In the Neolithic Age, The Instructor, The Irish Guards, James I, Jane's Marriage, Jobson's Amen, The King's Job , The Ladies, The Land , The Last Chantey, The Last Ode, The Last of the Light Brigade, The last rhyme of True Thomas, "Late Came the God", A Legend of the Foreign Office, A Legend of Truth , (to Departmental Ditties) , L'Envoi (to The Story of the Gadsbys), Lichtenberg, Loot, Lord Roberts, The Long Trail, The Lowestoft Boat, "Lukannon", The Mare's Nest, Maxims of Baloo, McAndrew's Hymn, The "Mary Gloster", The Merchantmen, Merrow Down, "The Men that Fought at Minden" Mesopotamia , Mine Sweepers , The Mother Lodge, Mother o' Mine , The Mother's Son , Mowgli's Song agains People , Municipal, My Boy Jack, My Father's Chair, My Lord the Elephant, My Rival, Naaman's Song , A new Auld Lang Syne, Norman and Saxon, Ode, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, Old Man Kangaroo , Old Mother Laidinwool, One Viceroy resigns, Oonts, Our fathers of old , The Oxen , Pagett, M.P., The Palace , A Pict Song , Pink Dominoes, The Pirates in England, "Pussy can sit by the fire...", The Plea of the Simla Dancers, Poor Honest Men, The Post that Fitted, The Portent, Poseidon's Law, The Prayer of Miriam Cohen, The Power of the Dog , Prelude (to Departmental Ditties), The Press , The Prodigal Son , Prophets at Home , Public Waste, Puck's Song , The Rabbi's Song, Rahere , The Recall, Recessional, The Reeds of Runnymede, The Return , A Ripple Song , The River's Tale, The Roman Centurion's Song, The Rowers, The Runes on Weland's Sword, The Runners, Russia to the Pacifists, The Sack of Valhalla, Sappers , The Sea and the Hills, The Secret of the Machines, The Settler, A School Song, Shillin' a Day , Sir Richard's Song, Song of the Galley-slaves, A Song of Kabir, The Sons of the Suburbs, A Smuggler's Song , A Song to Mithras, The Sons of Martha, The Story of Uriah, Study of an Elevation, A St Helena Lullaby, The Supports , The Survival, That Day, A Three-part Song, The Thousandth Man, Thorkild's Song, To the Companions, To Thomas Atkins, "Together" , Tommy , A Translation , A Tree Song, The Truce of the Bear, A Truthful Song, The Two-sided Man , Untimely, The Vampire, The Verdicts, The Vineyard, What Happened , The Way through the Woods, We and They , The Wet Litany , 'When 'Omer smote 'is Bloomin' Lyre', The White Man's Burden, With Drake in the Tropics, The Young British Soldier,


[Poet's Corner Index]


Reference, Research and Source Information

¹ Fron the book Something Of Myself by Kipling


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