2 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling Take up the White Man's burden--Send forth the best ye breed--Go, bind your sons to exileTo serve your captives' need;To wait, in heavy harness,On fluttered folk and wild--Your new-caught sullen peoples,Half devil and half child.
3 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling Take up the White Man's burden--In patience to abide,To veil the threat of terrorAnd check the show of pride;By open speech and simple,An hundred times made plain,To seek another's profitAnd work another's gain.
4 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling 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 follyBring all your hope to nought.
5 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling 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 livingAnd mark them with your dead.
6 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling Take up the White Man's burden,And reap his old reward--The blame of those ye betterThe 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?"
7 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling Take up the White Man's burden--Ye dare not stoop to less--Nor call too loud on FreedomTo cloak your weariness.By all ye will or whisper,By all ye leave or do,The silent sullen peoplesShall weigh your God and you.
8 The White Man’s Burden By Rudyard Kipling 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 manhoodThrough all the thankless years,Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,The judgment of your peers.
9 InterpretationsA straightforward analysis of the poem may conclude that Kipling presents a Eurocentric view of the world, in which non-European cultures are seen as childlike and demonic. This view proposes that white people consequently have an obligation to rule over, and encourage the cultural development of, people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds until they can take their place in the world by fully adopting Western ways. The term "the white man's burden" can be interpreted simply as racist, or taken as a metaphor for a condescending view of non-Western national culture and economic traditions, identified as a sense of European ascendancy which has been called "cultural imperialism". A parallel can also be drawn with the philanthropic view, common in Kipling's formative years, that the rich have a moral duty and obligation to help the poor "better" themselves whether the poor want the help or not.
10 InterpretationsWithin a historical context, the poem makes clear the prevalent attitudes that allowed colonialism to proceed. Although a belief in the "virtues of empire" was wide-spread at the time, there were also many dissenters; the publication of the poem caused a flurry of arguments from both sides, most notably from Mark Twain and Henry James. Much of Kipling's other writing does suggest that he genuinely believed in the "beneficent role" which the introduction of Western ideas could play in lifting non-Western peoples out of "poverty and ignorance." Lines 3-5, and other parts of the poem suggest that it is not just the native people who are enslaved, but also the "functionaries of empire," who are caught in colonial service. This theme may also be contrasted with the Christian missionary movement, which was also quite active at the time in Africa, India, and other British and European colonies (e.g. the Christian and Missionary Alliance).
11 InterpretationsSome commentators point to Kipling's history of satirical writing, and suggest that "The White Man's Burden" is in fact meant to satirically undermine imperialism.