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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
Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost at his house in Berkeley Square,
And a Spirit came to his bedside and gripped him by the hair—
A Spirit gripped him by the hair and carried him far away,
Till he heard as the roar of a rain-fed ford the roar of the Milky Way:
Till he heard the roar of the Milky Way die down and
poem
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
 
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
poem
You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old, 
Or your head will be sunk by your heels; 
And summer gales and Killer Whales 
   Are bad for baby seals. 
Are bad for baby seals, dear rat, 
   As bad as bad can be. 
But splash and grow strong, 
And you can't be wrong, 
   Child of the Open Sea!