Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The Winners - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

("The Story of the Gadsbys")

What the moral? Who rides may read.
When the night is thick and the tracks are blind
A friend at a pinch is a friend, indeed,
But a fool to wait for the laggard behind.
Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne,
He travels the fastest who travels alone.

White hands cling to the tightened rein,
Slipping the spur from the booted heel,
Tenderest voices cry " Turn again!"
Red lips tarnish the scabbarded steel,
High hopes faint on a warm hearth-stone--
He travels the fastest who travels alone.

One may fall but he falls by himself--
Falls by himself with himself to blame.
One may attain and to him is pelf--
Loot of the city in Gold or Fame.
Plunder of earth shall be all his own
Who travels the fastest and travels alone.

Wherefore the more ye be helpen-.en and stayed,
Stayed by a friend in the hour of toil,
Sing the heretical song I have made--
His be the labour and yours be the spoil.
Win by his aid and the aid disown--
He travels the fastest who travels alone!

Comments about The Winners by Rudyard Kipling

  • Rookie Bernard Kay (1/20/2009 5:12:00 PM)

    I'm not sure Kipling wrote poetry. The first hardback I bought - age 16 - was
    'The Definitive Edition of RUDYARD KIPLING'S VERSE' (1946 Edition)
    I think 'VERSE' is accurate. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie Thomas Vaudin (8/4/2008 8:44:00 AM)

    This is one of the best poems I have had the pleasure of reading. I think Rudyard Kipling is one of the best poets in history. I would recommend this poem to anyone and everyone. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: friend, alone, city, song, red, night, travel, hope

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

[Hata Bildir]