White Man’s Burden

The White Man’s Burden
By Rudyard Kipling

McClure’s Magazine 12 (Feb. 1899).


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.

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3 Responses to White Man’s Burden

  1. Asparagirl says:

    Thank you for posting this. Kipling’s poem is totally non-PC by today’s standards–and to be more accurate I’d change “White Man’s Burden” to “America’s Burden”–but it is still, alas, true.

  2. Robert says:

    I agree that, in today’s time, it would be more appropriately “America’s Burden” or “America, England, and Australia’s Burden”. Long live the Anglosphere!

  3. rmspringtime says:

    Thanks, I needed that.

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