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Rudyard Kipling Quotes


Rudyard Kipling
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Joseph Rudyard Kipling
  • Born: 30th December 1865, Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
  • Died: 18th January 1936, London, England
  • Resting place: Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London
  • Alma mater: United Services College at Westward Ho
  • Occupation: Journalist, author and poet
  • Nationality: British
  • Notable works: "Captains Courageous", "Gunga Din", "If", "Mandalay", "The Jungle Book" and "The White Man's Burden"
  • Notable awards: Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907
  • Marriage resume: Caroline Starr Balestier 1892 - 1936 (his death)
  • Nickname: Poet of the Empire
  • Trivia: The first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901 and he became the first English language recipient of the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature award in 1907. He was 41 and to this present day Kipling remains as the youngest ever winner of this literary award
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"A woman's guess is much more accurate than a man's certainty"

Rudyard Kipling

"To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you’ll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself"

Rudyard Kipling

"Fiction is Truth's elder sister. Obviously. No one in the world knew what truth was till some one had told a story"

Rudyard Kipling

"Never again will I spend another winter in this accursed bucket shop of a refrigerator called England"

Rudyard Kipling

"I've just read that I'm dead. Don't forget to delete me from your list of subscribers"

Rudyard Kipling

"More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies"

Rudyard Kipling

"Four things greater than all things are; Women and Horses and Power and War"

Rudyard Kipling

"Bite on the bullet, old man, and don't let them think you're afraid"

Rudyard Kipling

"If any question why we died; Tell them, because our fathers lied"

Rudyard Kipling

"Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears"

Rudyard Kipling

"I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity"

Rudyard Kipling

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"

Rudyard Kipling

"Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves"

Rudyard Kipling

"The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool"

Rudyard Kipling

"The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it"

Rudyard Kipling

"For the female of the species is more deadly than the male"

Rudyard Kipling

"For all we take we must pay, but the price is cruel high"

Rudyard Kipling

"We are everything on earth - except The Gods"

Rudyard Kipling

"A people always ends by resembling its shadow"

Rudyard Kipling

"Everyone is more or less mad on one point"

Rudyard Kipling

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Rudyard Kipling Biography

Rudyard Kipling was a child of the British empire whose experience of imperialism would have a long lasting effect on both his writing and his personal life. He was born and brought up in Bombay until the age of 5 when he returned to England to start his education in Portsmouth. He and his sister Alice were to stay at the house of a couple who cared for children of Britons who were working in India.



The next few years were to be the unhappiest time of Rudyard's life as his guardians neglected, bullied and scolded the children on a daily basis. At the age of 10 his parents sent him to a tough boarding school that specialised in preparing children for serving in the armed forces.

At 16 Kipling set sail back to India and a career as a journalist and short story writer was about to unfold as the years of travel that followed molded the mind of the young Kipling into the literary genius he was to become. For 6 years he worked for various publications and in 1889 he left India to travel and experience 4 Asian countries before crossing the Pacific to explore the U.S. and Canada until finally crossing the Atlantic to England. He settled in London where he got down to work publishing short stories, novels and some memorable poetry.

From 1890 onwards he maintained the prolific literary output but the quality of the narrative grew exponentially which led to the poems Gunga Din and Mandalay in 1890, The Jungle Book in 1894 and possibly the best poem ever written in the modern era "If" in 1910. "If" was written as a proud father speaking to his son in a tone that summed up the colonial era of Victorian stoicism, it is a spine tingling conjecture of inspiration that characterises the rectitude of perseverance against all odds.

Kipling became known as the Poet of the Empire and with the onset of WW1 he was highly active in the propaganda war against the Germans. His own son John, was 18 years of age and desperate to enlist but his poor eyesight saw him fail time after time. Rudyard intervened using his celebrity status to pull some strings and John enlisted with the Irish Guards and in 1915 after only 2 days at the Western Front he was killed in battle at Loos.

This devastated his father who never recovered from his death and he never regained the literary genius that had been unleashed for 2 decades prior to WW1. He became a tortured soul who often thought, what if, I never intervened. As you would expect from a literary genius he was good for a one liner so here is my compilation of 20 of the best Rudyard Kipling quotes

Quotes About Rudyard Kipling

The great Statesman Winston Churchill was moved to say: "No one has ever written like Kipling before and his work, with all its characteristics and idiosyncrasies… has been successfully imitated by none"

The author George Orwell was less than sympathetic in his assessment: "In the stupid early years of this century, the blimps, having at last discovered someone who could be called a poet and who was on their side, set Kipling on a pedestal, and some of his more sententious poems, such as ‘If’, were given almost biblical status. But it is doubtful whether the blimps have ever read him with attention, any more than they have read the Bible. Much of what he says they could not possibly approve. Few people who have criticized England from the inside have said bitterer things about her than this gutter patriot"

The poet T.S. Eliot described him thus: "An immense gift for using words, an amazing curiosity and power of observation with his mind and with all his senses"

American author Mark Twain commented quite dryly: "He is a stranger to me, but he is a most remarkable man - and I am the other one. Between us, we cover all knowledge; he knows all that can be known and I know the rest"

The author Henry James was inspired to write: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius, as distinct from fine intelligence, that I have ever known"

The poet Randall Jarrell put some perspective on his talent: "After you have read Kipling's fifty or seventy-five best stories you realize that few men have written this many stories of this much merit, and that very few have written more and better stories"

The writer H. G. Wells was not so impressed: "I like to know about the brain history of Mr. Rudyard Kipling, whom also I have never met. He is to me the most incomprehensible of my contemporaries, with phases of real largeness and splendour and lapses to the quality of those mucky little sadists, Stalky and Co. ... He has an immense vogue in the British middle-class and upper-class home ; he is the patron saint of cadet corps masters, an inexhaustive fount of sham manly sentiment, and one of the most potent forces in the shrivelling of the British political imagination during the past third of a century"


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