Poem 4: “If” . . . by Rudyat Kipling

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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 when 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 them 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 and not 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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