Rudyard Kipling, 1865 – 1936 was an English short story writer, poet and novelist. He was born in India where his artist father was an art school principal.
In 1871 the family returned to England but after only six months his parents returned to India leaving six year old Rudyard and his three year old sister as boarders with the Holloway family in Southsea. For five years he was bullied and physically mistreated at this foster home leaving him psychologically scarred and with a sense of betrayal.
In 1882 Kipling returned to India where he spent the next seven years working in various capacities as a journalist and editor and he started to write about India itself. In 1889 he returned to England and in 1892 married Caroline Balestier and they moved to Vermont in America, but after a quarrel with her family, moved back to England in 1896. They had three children, but their daughter Josephine died of pneumonia at the age of six. Many of his children’s books were originally written for her.
Kipling turned down many honours in his life time including a knighthood and poet laureate, but he did accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, he was the first English Author to be so honoured.
His son died in action in 1915 and Kipling had great difficulty accepting his sons death.
Kipling died on the 18th January 1936 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.
His inspirational and motivational poem”If” is a set of rules for “grown up” living and contains mottos and maxims for life. It is also a blueprint for personal integrity, behaviour and self-development and is still relevant today.
If – Rudyard Kipling
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 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 ’em 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—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!