‘The Ballad of East and West’ , by Rudyard Kipling

The Ballad of East and West , by Rudyard Kipling

“Oh, East is East and West is West,and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

– Rudyard Kipling (1889)

The first line is frequently used to suggest that two different types of people or things cannot exist side by side or find commonalities, it being beyond doubt that geographic points of the compass will never meet. However, ironically, the significance of Kipling’s poem is that two when intelligent and principled men from diverse cultures meet they can appreciate and respect each other, since where they come from, the accidents of their birth, their nationality, race, or family, are inconsequential. In this context Kipling regarding Asians and the European as one and the same.

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Filed under 1889, Poetry

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