Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Rudyard Kipling

English Novelist, Poet, Short-Story Writer, Artist, Teacher of Architectural Sculpture, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

"We have fed our sea for a thousand years And she calls us, still unfed, Though there's never a wave of all her waves But marks our English dead."

"We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth, We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung, And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth. God help us, for we knew the worst too young!"

"We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart; But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: It's clever, but is it Art?"

"We're poor little lambs who've lost our way, Baa! Baa! Baa! We're little black sheep who've gone astray, Baa-aa-aa! Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree, Damned from here to Eternity, God ha' mercy on such as we, Baa! Yah! Bah!"

"We pulled for you when the wind was against us and the sails were low. Will you never let us go?"

"We have had an Imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire yet!"

"We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice peg, We have learned to bottle our parent twain in the yelk of an addled egg. We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart, But the devil never whoops, as he of old; It's clever, but is it art?"

"What should they know of England, who only England know?"

"What is the flag of England? Ye have but my breath to dare, Ye have but my waves to conquer. Go forth, for it is there."

"What are the bugles blowin' for? said Files-on-Parade. To turn you out, to turn you out, the Colour-Sergeant said. They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away, An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'."

"What stands if Freedom fail? What dies of England live?"

"What you do when you don't have to, determines what you will do when you can no longer help it."

"When next he came to me he was drunk—royally drunk on many poets for the first time revealed to him. His pupils were dilated, his words tumbled over each other, and he wrapped himself in quotations—as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of emperors."

"When earth's last picture is painted, and the tubes are twisted and dried, When the oldest colors have faded, and the youngest critic has died, We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it-lie down for an eon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall set us to work anew! And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair; They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair; They shall find real saints to draw from-Magdalene, Peter, and Paul; They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all! And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame; But each for the joy of working, and each, in his separate star Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!"

"When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck, Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck, Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck And march to your front like a soldier. Front, front, front like a soldier... If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white, Remember it's ruin to run from a fight: So take open order, lie down, and sit tight, And wait for supports like a soldier. Wait, wait, wait like a soldier. When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier. Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, So-oldier of the Queen!"

"When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre, / He'd 'eard men sing by land an' sea; / An' what he thought 'e might require, / 'E went an' took - the same as me!"

"When the cabin port-holes are dark and green Because of the seas outside; When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between) And the steward falls into the soup-tureen, And the trunks begin to slide; When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap, And Mummy tells you to let her sleep, And you aren't waked or washed or dressed, Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed) You're ‘Fifty North and Forty West!'"

"When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden's green and gold, Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould; And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart, Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty, but is it Art?""

"When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, And neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken, It may be fair words shall prevail"

"When the Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried."

"When young lips have drunk deep of the bitter waters of hate, suspicion and despair, all the love in the world will not wholly take away that knowledge. Though it may turn darkened eyes for a while to the light, and teach faith where no faith was."

"When the Hymalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride, He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside. But the she-bear thus accosted, rends the peasant tooth and nail,For the female of the species is more deadly than the male. "

"When you're left wounded on Afganistan's plains and the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains, And go to your God like a soldier"

"Who are neither children nor gods, but men in a world of men!"

"When your Daemon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait, and obey."

"When you've shouted `Rule Britannia', when you've sung `God save the Queen', / When you've finished killing Kruger with your mouth."

"Whose plinths are laid at midnight and whose streets are packed at morn;"

"Who hath desired the Sea?—the sight of salt water unbounded—The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber wind-hounded?"

"Winds of the World, give answer! They are whimpering to and fro—And what should they know of England who only England know?"

"Ye thought? Ye are not paid to think."

"You may write it on his tombstone, You may cut it on his card, That a young man married is a young man marred"

"You must learn to forgive a man when he's in love. He's always a nuisance."

"You just don't know how to use the English language."

"You may talk o' gin and beer When you're quartered safe out 'ere, An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it; But when it comes to slaughter You will do your work on water, An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it…So I'll meet 'im later on At the place where 'e is gone— Where it's always double drill and no canteen. 'E'll be squattin' on the coals Givin' drink to poor damned souls,"

"You may have noticed that many religious people are deeply suspicious. They seem"

"You haf too much Ego in your Cosmos"

"You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"

"You perceive, do you not, that our national fairy tales reflect the inmost desires of the Briton and the Gaul? "

"Your new-caught, sullen peoples / Half devil and half child."

"Youth had been a habit of hers for so long, that she could not part with it."