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The White Man's Burden By Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born to British parents in Bombay, India. The poem here appeared in 1899 in McClure's Magazine in the midst of a fierce debate over whether the United States should join the European scramble for empire. The same month this poem was published the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish American War and brought the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico under United States control.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born to British parents in Bombay, India. He was a prolific author and received the Nobel Literature Prize in 1907. The poem here appeared in 1899 in McClure's Magazine in the midst of a fierce debate over whether the United States should join the European scramble for empire. The same month this poem was published the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish American War and brought the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico under United States control.

The White Man's Burden
By Rudyard Kipling

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No iron rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Take up the White Man's burden!
Have done with childish days--
The lightly-proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise:
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.

Kipling, Rudyard. "The White Man's Burden." McClure's Magazine 12 (Feb. 1899).


 

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