Kipling on Enterprenurship

March 21, 2007 at 11:35 pm 1 comment

“I took the chances they wouldn’t, an’ now they’re calling it luck.”

One of my favorite poems is Kipling’s Mary Gloster. Its a pretty long one – and hard to read.  Nevertheless – I thought I will put down the begining down here. And you can always click to read the rest (and some translation to modern English is here )

The “Mary Gloster”

1894 by  Rudyard Kipling

I’VE paid for your sickest fancies; I’ve humoured your crackedest whim—
Dick, it’s your daddy, dying; you’ve got to listen to him!
Good for a fortnight, am I? The doctor told you? He lied.
I shall go under by morning, and—Put that nurse outside.
’Never seen death yet, Dickie? Well, now is your time to learn,
And you’ll wish you held my record before it comes to your turn.
Not counting the Line and the Foundry, the yards and the village, too,
I’ve made myself and a million; but I’m damned if I made you.
Master at two-and-twenty, and married at twenty-three—
Ten thousand men on the pay-roll, and forty freighters at sea!
Fifty years between ’em, and every year of it fight,
And now I’m Sir Anthony Gloster, dying, a baronite:
For I lunched with his Royal ’Ighness—what was it the papers had?
“Not least of our merchant-princes.” Dickie, that’s me, your dad!
I didn’t begin with askings. I took my job and I stuck;
And I took the chances they wouldn’t, an’ now they’re calling it luck.
Lord, what boats I’ve handled—rotten and leaky and old!
Ran ’em, or—opened the bilge-cock, precisely as I was told.
Grub that ’ud bind you crazy, and crews that ’ud turn you grey,
And a big fat lump of insurance to cover the risk on the way.
The others they dursn’t do it; they said they valued their life
(They’ve served me since as skippers). I went, and I took my wife.
Over the world I drove ’em, married at twenty-three,
And your mother saving the money and making a man of me.
I was content to be master, but she said there was better behind;
She took the chances I wouldn’t, and I followed your mother blind.
She egged me to borrow the money, an’ she helped me to clear the loan,
When we bought half shares in a cheap ’un and hoisted a flag of our own.
Patching and coaling on credit, and living the Lord knew how,…… More at


Entry filed under: Random Thoughts.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Idan Levin  |  March 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Great one! The first few lines reminded me of something I told my wife the other day after listening to an NPR program about aging as my b-day is coming up:

    “I have a wonderful relationship with death…we grow closer every year!”

    all rights reserved 😛


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