What Are Some Notable Lines in the Poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling?


Quick Answer

"If" features many well-quoted lines, but one of the most well-known is "If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same." Rudyard Kipling wrote his most beloved poem "If" in 1909.

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Rudyard Kipling's "If" is a poem written in four eight-line stanzas. One of the more notable pieces of advice in the poem is the first two lines, "If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you." Another frequently quoted line from the poem is "If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools."

Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem for his son John, who died at the Battle of Loos during World War I. Kipling noted in his autobiography "Something of Myself" that the inspiration for the poem came from his close friend Leander Starr Jameson. He explained that he drew inspiration for the advice given in the poem from Jameson's character. Some experts say that the poem was a response to Jameson's failed raid against the Boers in 1895 and his subsequent return to Cape Colony. He became the prime minister of the colony in 1904.

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