170 Rudyard Kipling Quotes on Life, Death, and Money

If you have read The Jungle Book or watched its movies, then this list of 170 Rudyard Kipling quotes suits you best.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling is an English author and journalist.

His literary works were mostly influenced by the culture and environment in India, the country where he was born.

One of his most popular works, The Jungle Book, has been adapted in various animation and live-action films. 

Be prepared, because you are about to go on a journey to the jungle.

This would surely make you understand the animal world better.

Start reading here.

And don’t forget to check out these Lewis Carroll quotes and Shel Silverstein quotes.

Best Rudyard Kipling Quotes

1. “I keep six honest serving-men—they taught me all I knew. Their names are What, and Why, and When, and How, and Where, and Who.” 

2. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

3. “I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.”

4. “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

5. “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs and blaming you, the world will be yours and everything in it. What’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.”

6. “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

7. “We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”

8. “A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.”

9. “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”

10. “A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”

11. “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

12. “If you can dream, and not make dreams your master; if you can think, and not make thoughts your aim; if you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same; if you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run—yours is the Earth and everything in it.”

13. “He wrapped himself in quotations—as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of emperors.”

14. “I never made a mistake in my life—at least, never one that I couldn’t explain away afterwards.”

Motivational Rudyard Kipling Quotes

15 “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”

16. “We are the opening verse of the opening page of the chapter of endless possibilities.”

17. “An ounce of demonstration is worth a ton of theory.” 

18. “He who faces no calamity gains no courage.”

19. “If you want something and don’t get it, there are only two reasons—you either really didn’t want it, or you tried to bargain over the price.”

20. “Gardens are not made by singing, ‘Oh, how beautiful and sitting in the shade.’”

21. “I have written the tale of our life for a sheltered people’s mirth, in jesting guise—but ye are wise, and ye know what the jest is worth.”

22. “Never look backwards, or you’ll fall down the stairs.”

23. “He became an officer and a gentleman, which is an enviable thing.”

24. “We be of one blood, ye and I.”

25. “What is the Law of the Jungle? Strike first and then give tongue.”

26. “When your Daemon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait, and obey.”

27. “An angry skipper makes an unhappy crew.”

28. “Of all said words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these it might have been.”

29. “If you can wait and not be tired of waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About People’s Mentality

30. “Yet, there be certain times in a young man’s life, when, through great sorrow or sin, all the boy in him is burnt and seared away so that he passes at one step to the more sorrowful state of manhood.”

31. “An unhappy childhood was not an unsuitable preparation for my future, in that it demanded a constant wariness, the habit of observation, and the attendance on moods and tempers—the noting of discrepancies between speech and action, a certain reserve of demeanor, and automatic suspicion of sudden favors.”

32. “They copied all they could copy, but they couldn’t copy my mind—and I left them sweatin’ and stealin’, a year and a half behind.”

33. “Often and often afterwards, the beloved aunt would ask me why I had never told anyone how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them, they accept as eternally established.”

34. “A man’s mind is won’t to tell him more than seven watchmen sitting in a tower.”

35. “Heaven grant us patience with a man in love.”

36. “All the people like us are ‘we’, and everyone else is ‘they’.”

37. “Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.”

38. “If a man can hear the truth, he’s spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.”

39. “A person always ends by resembling its shadow.”

40. “All things considered, there are only two kinds of men in the world—those that stay at home and those that do not.”

41. “If a man is keen on reading, I think he ought to open his mind to some older man who knows him and his life, and to take his advice in the matter, and above all, to discuss with him the first books that interest him.”

42. “Borrow trouble for yourself, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbours.”

43. “Everyone is more or less mad on one point.”

44. “If you give someone more than they can do, they will do it. If you give them only what they can do, they will do nothing.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About Love and Life

45. “My heart is so tired.”

46. “This is a brief life, but in its brevity, it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.”

47. “If you hit a pony over the nose at the outset of your acquaintance, he may not love you, but he will take a deep interest in your movements ever afterwards.”

48. “Follow the dream, and always the dream, and only the dream.”

49. “Holden went to his bungalow and began to understand that he was not alone in the world, and also that he was afraid for the sake of another—which is the most soul-satisfying fear known to man.”

50. “You must learn to forgive a man when he’s in love. He’s always a nuisance.”

51. “Thou art of the Jungle and not of the Jungle, and I am only a black panther. But I love thee, little brother.”

52. “And when your back stops aching, and your hands begin to harden, you will find yourself a partner in the glory of the garden.”

53. “If you can force your heart, and nerve, and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them—’hold on!’”

54. “He travels the fastest who travels alone.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About Women

55. “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”

56. “If I were damned of body and soul, I know whose prayers would make me whole, mother o’ mine. O mother o’ mine.”

57. “God could not be everywhere, and therefore, he made mothers.”

58. “The silliest woman can manage a clever man, but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool.”

59. “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”

60. “For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

61. “If I were hanged on the highest hill, mother o’ mine, o mother o’ mine! I know whose love would follow me still Mother o’ mine, o mother o’ mine!”

62. “She is intensely human, and lives to look upon life.”

63. “Four things greater than all things are women, and horses, and power, and war.”

64. “Daughter, am I in my mother’s house, but mistress in my own?”

65. “What is a woman that you forsake her, and the hearth-fire and the home-acre, to go with the old grey widow-maker?”

66. “You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping.”

67. “I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!”

68. “Being kissed by a man who didn’t wax his moustache was like eating an egg without salt.”

69. “But till we are built like angels, with hammer, and chisel, and pen, we will work for ourself and a woman, forever and ever, amen.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About Work and Money

70. “Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannonball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets.”

71. “Buy a pup, and your money will buy love unflinching that cannot lie.”

72. “More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.”

73. “Too much work and too much energy kill a man just as effectively as too much assorted vice or too much drink.”

74. “When a man does good work out of all proportion to his pay, in seven cases out of nine, there is a woman at the back of the virtue. The two exceptions must have suffered from sunstroke.”

75. “Beware of over concern for money, or position, or glory. Someday, you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then. you will know how poor you are.”

76. “All the money in the world is no use to a man or his country if he spends it as fast as he makes it. All he has left is his bills and the reputation for being a fool.”

77. “Savings represent much more than mere money value. They are the proof that the saver is worth something in himself. Any fool can waste, any fool can muddle, but it takes something more of a man to save, and the more he saves, the more of a man he makes of himself. Waste and extravagance unsettle a man’s mind for every crisis—thrift, which means some form of self-restraint, steadies it.”

78. “Payday came, and with it, beer.”

79. “Enough work to do, and strong enough to do the work.”

80. “It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation, to puff and look important, and to say, ‘Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you, we will therefore pay you cash to go away.’”

81. “Most amusements only mean trying to win another person’s money.”

82. “When Earth’s last picture is painted, and the tubes are twisted and dried, when the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died, we shall rest, and faith, we shall need it to lie down for an aeon or two, till the master of all good workmen shall put us to work anew!”

83. “In the Carboniferous Epoch, we were promised abundance for all by robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul. But though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings said, ‘If you don’t work you die.’”

84. “And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame, but each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, shall draw the thing as he sees it for the god of things as they are!”

Informative Rudyard Kipling Quotes

85. “The world is very lovely, and it’s very horrible—and it doesn’t care about your life, or mine, or anything else.”

86. “They are fools who kiss and tell—wisely has the poet sung. Man may hold all sorts of posts if he’ll only hold his tongue.”

87. “There’s no jealousy in the grave.”

88. “For Kim did nothing with an immense success.”

89. “One can’t prescribe books, even the best books, to people unless one knows a good deal about each individual person.”

90. “Fiction is Truth’s elder sister. Obviously, no one in the world knew what truth was till someone had told a story.”

91. “Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can. But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill man!”

92. “No printed word, nor spoken plea can teach young minds what they should be. Not all the books on all the shelves, but what the teachers are themselves.”

93. “Be slow to judge, for we know little of what has been done, and nothing of what has been resisted.”

94. “A brave heart and a courteous tongue, they shall carry thee far through the jungle, Manling.”

95. “Teach us delight in simple things, and mirth that has no bitter springs.”

96. “Meddling with another man’s folly is always thankless work.”

97. “If you do not get what you want, it is a sure sign that you did not seriously want it.”

98. “He who can reach a child’s heart can reach the world’s heart.”

99. “He will be our friend for always, and always, and always.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes and Lines From His Books

100. “These are the four that are never content—that have never been filled since the dew began—Jacala’s mouth, and the glut of the kite, and the hands of the ape, and the eyes of man.”

101. “The glory of the garden lies in more than meets the eye.”

102. “And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart, till the devil whispered behind the leaves, ‘It’s pretty, but is it art?’”

103. “We had a kettle, we let it leak. Our not repairing made it worse. We haven’t had any tea for a week. The bottom is out of the universe.”

104. “Twenty bridges from tower to Kew, wanted to know what the river knew—twenty bridges or twenty-two. For they were young, and the Thames was old, and this is the tale that River told.”

105. “They will come back, come back again, as long as the red earth rolls. He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think he would squander souls?”

106. “O it’s Tommy this, and Tommy that, and Tommy ‘ow’s your soul—but it’s thin red line of heroes when the drums begin to roll.”

107. “The tumult and shouting dies, the captains and the kings depart. Still stands thine ancient sacrifice, a humble and a contrite heat. Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.”

108. “As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

109. “One man in a thousand, Solomon says, will stick more close than a brother. And it’s worthwhile seeking him half your days if you find him before the other.”

110. “The motto of all the mongoose families is, ‘Run and find out,’ and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose.”

111. “Hear, and attend, and listen—for this befell, and be happened, and became, and was—o my best beloved when the tame animals were wild.”

112. “So, Mowgli went away and hunted with the four cubs in the jungle from that day on. But he was not always alone, because years afterwards, he became a man and married. But that is a story for grown-ups.”

113. “The reason the beasts give among themselves is that man is the weakest and most defenseless of all living things.”

114. “‘What is this?’ said the leopard, ‘that is so exclusively dark, and yet so full of little pieces of light?’”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About Countries and Cities

115. “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”

116. “San Francisco is a mad city—inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty.”

117. “Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia, and she is too old.”

118. “I have struck a city, a real city, and they call it Chicago. I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.”

119. “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold—for summer was in England.”

120. “Now, India is a place beyond all others, where one must not take things too seriously—the midday sun always excepted.”

121. “Cites, and thrones, and powers stand in time’s eye—which daily die. But as new buds put forth to glad new men out of the spend and unconsidered Earth, the cities will rise again.”

122. “San Francisco has only one drawback—‘tis hard to leave.”

123. “This is Burma, and it is unlike any land you know about.”

124. “If England was what England seems, and not the England of our dreams—but only putty, brass, and paint, ‘Ow we’d chuck ‘er, but she ain’t!’”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes About War and Freedom

125. “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle, and blow out your brains, and go to your gawd like a soldier.”

126. “War is an ill thing, as I surely know. But ‘twould be an ill world for weaponless dreamers if evil men were not now and then slain.”

127. “A time for prayer, in times of war and not before, God and the soldier we adore. But in times of peace and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.” 

128. “There is but one task for all—one life for each to give. What stands if freedom fail?”

129. “All we have of freedom, all we use or know—this our fathers bought for us long and long ago.”

130. “Whatever he knows of his weaknesses, Private Mulvaney is wholly ignorant of his strength.”

131. “The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness must end where ‘e began. But the backbone of the army is the non-commissioned man!”

132. “Bite on the bullet, old man, and don’t let them think you’re afraid.”

133. “When the Cambrian measures were forming, they promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed, they sold us, and delivered us, bound to our foe, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings said, ‘Stick to the devil you know.’”

134. “Also, we will make promise. So long as the blood endures, I shall know that your good is mine, ye shall feel that my strength is yours, in the day of Armageddon, at the last great fight of all, that our house stand together and the pillars do not fall.”

Rudyard Kipling Quotes on Society

135. “Politicians—little tin gods on wheels.”

136. “Politics are not my concern. They impressed me as a dog’s life without a dog’s decencies.”

137. “The American does not drink at meals as a sensible man should. Indeed, he has no meals. He stuffs for ten minutes thrice a day.”

138. “No one as yet has approached the management of New York in a proper spirit—that is to say, regarding it as the shiftless outcome of squalid barbarism and reckless extravagance. No one is likely to do so, because reflections on the long narrow pig-trough are construed as malevolent attacks against the spirit and majesty of the American people, and lead to angry comparisons.”

139. “Many wear the robes, but few walk the way.”

Religious Rudyard Kipling Quotes

140. “For the sin they do by two and two, they must pay for one by one.”

141. “There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.”

142. “I have my own matches and sulphur, and I’ll make my own hell.”

143. “Something I owe to the soil that grew, more to the life that fed, but most to Allah who gave me two separate sides to my head.”

144. “God help us for we knew the worst too young.”

145. “Good Lord! Who can account for the fathomless folly of the public?”

146. “It takes a great deal of Christianity to wipe out uncivilised eastern instincts, such as falling in love at first sight.”

147. “Body and spirit, I surrendered whole, to harsh instructors, and received a soul.”

148. “Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree, damned from here to eternity, God ha’ mercy on such as we. Baa! Yah! Bah!”

149. “Ye’ve a furtive look in your eye—a furtive, sneakin’, poachin’ look in your eye, that ‘ud ruin the reputation of an archangel!”

150. “Oh, east is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet, till earth and sky stand presently at God’s great judgement seat. But there is neither east nor west, border, nor breed, nor birth, when two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

151. “All gods have good points, just as have all priests. Personally, I attach much importance to Hanuman, and am kind to his people, the great gray apes of the hills. One never knows when one may want a friend.”

152. “Adam was a gardener, and God, who made him, sees that half of all good gardening is done upon the knees.”

153. “Ship me somewhere east of Suez, where the best is like the worst, where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst.”

154. “Brother, thy tail hangs down behind.”

More Rudyard Kipling Quotes

155. “And that is called paying the Dane-geld—but we’ve proved it again and again, that if once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane.”

156. “How can you do anything until you have seen everything, or as much as you can?”

157. “If any question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.”

158. “At twenty, the things for which one does not care a damn should, properly, be many.”

159. “No need to listen for the fall—this is the world’s end.”

160. “You must not forget the suspenders, best beloved.”

161. “One half of my head, from the top of my skull to the cleft of my jaw, hammers, bangs, sizzles, while the other half, serene and content, looks on at the agony next door.”

162. “A tale from which pieces have been raked out is like a fire that has been poked. One does not know the operation has been performed, but everyone feels the effect.”

163. “The toad beneath the harrow knows exactly where each tooth point goes.”

164. “What is the moral? Who rides may read.”

165. “Smells are surer than sounds and sights to make the heartstrings crack.”

166. “I wasted my substance, I know I did, on riotous living, so I did, but there’s nothing on record to show I did more than my betters have done.”

167. “When young lips have drunk deep of the bitter waters of hate, suspicion and despair, all the love in the world will not wholly take away that knowledge. Though it may turn darkened eyes for a while to the light, and teach faith where no faith was.”

168. “Cat said, ‘I am not a friend, and I am not a servant. I am the cat who walks by himself, and I wish to come into your cave.’”

169. “And the end of the fight is tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear, ‘A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the east.’”

170. “Humble because of knowledge, mighty by sacrifice.”

Can You Relate to Some of the Characters in His Books?

Rudyard Kipling’s genius-like talent and creativity has earned him a Nobel Prize in Literature. At 41 years of age, he was the youngest to receive such an award. What made it even more amazing is that he was the first English-language author to obtain the accolade.

Later in his career, his focus was diverted to different political and social topics and issues. One of his most controversial poems, The White Man’s Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands (1899), encourages the Americans to take control of the Philippines and its people during the war. This was added proof of his sensational skills in delivering remarkable stories.

Kipling’s works and messages can open our minds and hearts to understand our world better. From how the human mind works to the roles and importance of animals, Kipling wants to raise awareness to protect the world and the organisms living in it.

Have you already watched or read The Jungle Book? Who is your favorite character? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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