Great Literature of our People. 2

rudyard-kipling-22

These are two of my favorite poems by Rudyard Kipling.

The Stranger

The Stranger within my gate, He may be true or kind, But he does not talk my talk– I cannot feel his mind. I see the face and the eyes and the mouth, But not the soul behind. The men of my own stock, They may do ill or well, But they tell the lies I am wonted to, They are used to the lies I tell; And we do not need interpreters When we go to buy or sell. The Stranger within my gates, He may be evil or good, But I cannot tell what powers control– What reasons sway his mood; Nor when the Gods of his far-off land Shall repossess his blood. The men of my own stock, Bitter bad they may be, But, at least, they hear the things I hear, And see the things I see; And whatever I think of them and their likes They think of the likes of me. This was my father’s belief And this is also mine: Let the corn be all one sheaf– And the grapes be all one vine, Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge By bitter bread and wine.

IF

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!

 

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