“White Man’s Burden,” by Rudyard Kipling — to be read with David H. Mould’s essay “School of Hope and Glory: Britain’s Imperial Mission and How I Failed It.”

Kipling’s 1899 poem both expressed a popular idea about the British empire and helped sustain and re-create it for a few more generations.

Kipling was, of course, a white man.

White Man’s Burden

— —

Take up the White Man’s burden —

Send forth the best ye breed —

Go send 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 —

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) to the light:

“Why brought ye us from bondage,

“Our loved Egyptian night?”

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!

— — -

Source: Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899.” Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive Edition (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1929).