The White Man's Burden

Rudyard Kipling 1865 (Mumbai) – 1936 (London)

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!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on May 03, 2023

1:37 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Abxbcded Afgfhixi Ajajxxxb Akgkglxl Axgxgmxm Axncgoeo Aphpxqnq
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,664
Words 318
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. more…

All Rudyard Kipling poems | Rudyard Kipling Books

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Discuss the poem "The White Man's Burden" with the community...

  • brickman
    colonialism is initiated by governments pushed into by the wealthy and paid for by the middle class in blood sweat and tears.
    LikeReply21 days ago
  • VandhukK33
    the writing in black and white can bring good colors.
    LikeReply7 months ago
  • CarolABinkley
    I've always wondered if the white man's burden, especially now in the 21st century, is guilt.
    LikeReply 41 year ago
    • loit_s
      Sounds crippling to the Indigenous locals it references in understated tones
      LikeReply 14 months ago
    • siiri_c
      I don't think so. "The white savior" determined to rescue BIPOC from their own cultures is still a thing, though they may not come as conquerors (at least not as clearly).
      LikeReply14 days ago


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"The White Man's Burden" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <'s-burden>.

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