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About this poet

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, to a British family. When he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after living a pampered lifestyle as a colonial. 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 published his first collection of verse, Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, in 1886 and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

In the early 1890s some of his poems were published in William Ernest Henley's National Observer and later collected in to Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), an immensely popular collection which contained "Gunga Din" and "Mandalay." In 1892 Kipling married and moved to Vermont, where he published the two Jungle Books and began work on Kim. He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published another novel, Captains Courageous. Kipling visited South Africa during the Boer War, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories. Kim, Kipling's most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901. 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—". He died on January 18, 1936; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Barrack-Room Ballads (1892)
Departmental Ditties and Other Verses (1886)
The Five Nations (1903)

Auto/Biography

Something of Myself for My Friends Known and Unknown (1937)

Fiction

Captains Courageous (1897)
Just-So Stories (1902)
Kim (1902)
Plain Tales from the Hills (1888)
Stalky & Co. (1899)
The Jungle Book (1894)
The Light That Failed (1891)
The Second Jungle Book (1895)

Poetry & Prose

A Diversity of Creatures (1917)
Rewards and Fairies (1910)

The Vampire

Rudyard Kipling, 1865 - 1936

The verses—as suggested by the painting by Philip Burne-Jones,
first exhibited at the new gallery in London in 1897.

A fool there was and he made his prayer
   (Even as you or I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair,
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair—
   (Even as you or I!)

Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste,
   And the work of our head and hand
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
   And did not understand!

A fool there was and his goods he spent,
   (Even as you or I!)
Honour and faith and a sure intent
(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant),
But a fool must follow his natural bent
   (Even as you or I!)

Oh, the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
   And the excellent things we planned
Belong to the woman who didn't know why
(And now we know that she never knew why)
   And did not understand!

The fool was stripped to his foolish hide,
   (Even as you or I!)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside—
(But it isn't on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died—
   (Even as you or I!)

And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame
   That stings like a white-hot brand—
It's coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing, at last, she could never know why)
   And never could understand!

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, "If".

by this poet

poem
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us, 
   And black are the waters that sparkled so green. 
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us 
   At rest in the hollows that rustle between. 
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow; 
   Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease! 
The
poem
You may talk o' gin an' beer   
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,   
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;   
But if it comes to slaughter   
You will do your work on water,            
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.   
Now in Injia's sunny clime,   
Where I used to spend
poem
When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,   
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mold;   
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,   
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art?"