View Full Version : Please help me with Kipling's "If".

10-27-2006, 08:44 AM
I'm in an unsettled disagreement about this Poem.

Specifically the line...

Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,

One of us interprets this to mean that if a person is lying about you, that putting forth the effort to respond to every lie is a waste of time. That you should simply rise above it and not allow them to sap your time and effort by responding.

The other thinks it simply means that you shouldn't lie back to them.

For the sake of objectivity, I won't say which I believe is the proper interpretation, if eithor of them are.

Could anyone please weigh in on this.


11-02-2006, 05:09 AM
For my money, I reckon you could do worse than quote Shakespeare back at whoever you're disagreeing with. Specifically....

'If to thine own self ye be true, then surely as night doth follow day, thou can'st be false to no one...'

Which means as far as I'm concerned, even if you're being lied about/bad mouthed/generally brought down by people in opposition, don't allow yourself to sink to their level. Instead, if you can look at yourself in the mirror, and not have to turn away, then you'll be right. Hope this provides some insight...from my perspective anyway.

01-15-2007, 02:03 PM
"O Best Beloved"...can anyone equal the absolute charm of that line? I believe like Kipling meant to illustrate the Victorian code of conduct and, as my Grandmother oft said..."If you can't say anything good then say nothing." No doubt in a mud-slinging contest, it often happens that some of it will cling. One professor I knew always advised me..."turn your face towards the light" a maxim that I try to live by.

06-22-2007, 03:15 PM
I am not half as erudite as the other contributors in this forum.

I do agree with the first interpretation; and I have no doubt as to which one you believe in ;-)

I will post the following somewhere else, but if you are interested I have placed two recording of 'IF' on my blog (one in French and one in English). Please look at my profile for the Web address.