IF, by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

One of my favorite poems.

From Project Gutenberg's Etext of Verses 1889-1896
text and .zip files linked at Books Online


    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 imposters 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 wornout 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 breath 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! 
This and lots more Kipling are at The Poetry Archives. See also Gunga Din.

Do you want some more literature on the web? Take a gander at the Reading Room and indexes at the Phoenix Bar & Grill.