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If -

"If—" is a notable poem by Rudyard Kipling. It was written in 1895; the poem was first published the Brother Square Toes chapter of Rewards and Fairies, Kipling's 1910 collection of short stories and poems. Like Invictus, it is a memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism and the "stiff upper lip" that popular culture has made into a traditional British virtue. In a 1995 BBC opinion poll, it was voted the most popular poem of all time in the United Kingdom. Kipling himself noted in his autobiography that the poem had been "anthologised to weariness". "If—" holds the world record for the poem to be reprinted in more anthologies than any other.

"If—", according to one source[1], was inspired by Dr Leander Starr Jameson. In 1895, Jameson led a disastrous raid by British forces against the Boers in South Africa. This defeat increased the tensions that ultimately led to the Boer War. The British press, however, portrayed Jameson as a hero in the middle of the disaster, and the actual defeat as a British victory.

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