What you do when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can no longer help it.
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play-
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you Mr Atkins,” when the band begins to play.
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; You’ll be a man, my son.
A Nation spoke to a Nation,
A Queen sent word to a Throne:”Daughter am I in my mothers house,
But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,
As the gates are mine to close,
And I set my house in order,”
Said our Lady of the Snows.
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 these two imposters just the same; You’ll be a man my son.
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.
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: you’ll be a Man, my son.
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: You’ll be a man, my son.
Four things greater than all things are, Women and Horses and Power and War.
If you can keep you 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; You’ll be a man, my son.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- J. K. Rowling English Novelist
- C. S. Lewis Irish-born Author, Scholar
- Mary Wollstonecraft English Writer, Feminist
- Doris Lessing British Novelist, Poet
- H. G. Wells English Novelist, Historian
- A. A. Milne British Humorist, Children’s Writer
- Winston Churchill British Head of State
- Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell Founder of the Boy Scouts
- Shel Silverstein American Children’s Books Writer
- Russell Hoban American Author