"If–" … a Poem by Rudyard Kipling … read by Alice B. Clagett

Revised; originally published on 18 October 2014 

Dear Ones,

Here is Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If,” and a story about my Latin teacher …



Hello, Dear Ones, It’s Alice.

I had a poem to read for you, called “If–“, by Rudyard Kipling. And I had a quick story to tell you about it before I speak the poem …

When I was in high school, I was in a Latin class, and the teacher there used to make us memorize a portion of this poem. And when things got rough in class, she would take her ruler, and she would wave it in the air, and she would recite part of the poem “If–“, by Rudyard Kipling. [laughs]

She was a pretty cool lady. She taught me a lot of Latin. And right before she was going on a trip to Italy, she taught us all Italian for a couple of weeks, just to get ready. [laughs] We didn’t learn much Italian, but we learned a lot of Latin.

And with that in mind, here’s the 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!” (1)

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars


(1) “If–,” by Rudyard Kipling, from “A Choice of Kipling’s Verse,” 1943. This poem is in the public domain per https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/If%E2%80%94 ..


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Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


English poetry, Rudyard Kipling, principles of living, manhood, If–, poems, Alice’s stories, stories, stories by Alice,

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