Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

The White Man's Burden

Poem 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 mad 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 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!) 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 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 judgment of your peers!

Comments about The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (7/28/2019 10:11:00 PM)

    While the phrase 'Take up the white man's burden' is repeated effectively, there is something patronizing and condescending about it. Especially when he adds that the superior white man has to contend with, 'Your new-caught sullen peoples/ Half devil and half child'. This is not flattering to the races which Britain colonized. far from it.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • demonise (3/13/2019 8:00:00 AM)

    thanks for the information(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Allen (2/22/2018 6:46:00 AM)

    I lift it up(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jake Baskin (9/25/2008 7:36:00 PM)

    Well, you can't say it isn't well written.

    It's comforting to know this same guy wrote Gunga Din, in which he admits in the end, despite the fact that Gunga Din was a slave man for the army, and the author had tendencies to beat him savagely, Gunga Din was still a better man.(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
Read all 4 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: freedom, hate, pride, work, peace, child, hope, light, night, children, son

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002