The Internet Poetry Archive

The White Man's Burden

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 hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden -
   No tawdry 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 !) towards 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 cry or whisper,
   By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
   Shall weigh your Gods 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 judgement of your peers.

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