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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


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


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


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)

A Nativity


The Babe was laid in the Manger
     Between the gentle kine—
All safe from cold and danger—

     “But it was not so with mine,
                        (With mine! With mine!)
“Is it well with the child, is it well?”
     The waiting mother prayed.
“For I know not how he fell,
     And I know not where he is laid.”

A Star stood forth in Heaven;
     The Watchers ran to see
The Sign of the Promise given—

     “But there comes no sign to me.
                        (To me! To me!)
My child died in the dark.
     Is it well with the child, is it well?
There was none to tend him or mark,
      And I know not how he fell.”

The Cross was raised on high;
     The Mother grieved beside—

“But the Mother saw Him die
     And took Him when He died.
                        (He died! He died!)
“Seemly and undefiled
     His burial-place was made—
Is it well, is it well with the child?
     For I know not where he is laid.”

On the dawning of Easter Day
     Comes Mary Magdalene;
But the Stone was rolled away,
     And the Body was not within—
(Within! Within!)
“Ah, who will answer my word?”
     The broken mother prayed.
“They have taken away my Lord,
     And I know not where He is Laid.”

The Star stands forth in Heaven.
     The watchers watch in vain
For Sign of the Promise given
     Of peace on Earth again—

                        (Again! Again!)
“But I know for Whom he fell”—
     The steadfast mother smiled,
“Is it well with the child—is it well?
     It is well—it is well with the child!”

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

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
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!
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