“If all men count with you, but none too much”

Updated: Mar 19

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by 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: 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 bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; 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!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
“If” by Rudyard Kipling

I thought that this Kipling poem, exquisitely crafted - and not just for sons, for the “man” of which the poet speaks is actually a whole person - was the perfect accompaniment for this intricate watercolor painting for our inaugural grandchild, appearing sometime in the next few weeks, God willing.

Obviously there is a great deal of significance interwoven into every square inch of the painting: favorite books, hobbies, locations, colors; elements of Scottish clan crests; botanical and cosmological nods to pertinent geography. “Spes Mea in Deo” (“I Hope In God”) is his father’s ancestral motto.


I go back and forth about which rift is my current habitation. Currently (and this may change before I publish) the one which haunts me is “If all men count with you, but none too much”.


If you’ve a favorite line, let me know which it is, and let’s discuss!

With kindest regards,

Nancy




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