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Quiz about Rudyard Kiplings If
Quiz about Rudyard Kiplings If

Rudyard Kipling's "If" Trivia Quiz


"If" is one of the most beloved poems of all time. Test your knowledge of this poem or learn more about it.

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
403,632
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
736
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 86 (6/10), Guest 223 (2/10), Guest 152 (1/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. To whom is this poem addressed? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. This poem was inspired by the character of Scottish colonial politician Sir Leander Starr Jameson. He was known for his involvement in the Jameson Raid in the South African Republic, which led to what war? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The poem begins, "If you can keep _____ when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you." What do you need to keep about you? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. What are referred to as "those two imposters" in the poem "If"? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken / Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, / Or watch the thing you gave your life to, broken, / And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out" what?

Answer: (One Word, rhymes with fools)
Question 6 of 10
6. In "If", who should a man aspire to "walk with" and yet not "lose the common touch"? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. What should a man not allow to hurt him? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. "If you can fill the _____ minute / With sixty seconds' worth of distance run..." How is the minute described in this verse? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In what historical fantasy book by Kipling did this poem first appear? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. What American-born British poet included this poem in his 1941 compendium "A Choice of Kipling's Verse"? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Apr 22 2024 : Guest 86: 6/10
Apr 21 2024 : Guest 223: 2/10
Apr 21 2024 : Guest 152: 1/10
Apr 19 2024 : Guest 122: 7/10
Apr 17 2024 : Guest 154: 7/10
Apr 16 2024 : Guest 103: 10/10
Apr 15 2024 : Guest 31: 10/10
Apr 14 2024 : Guest 103: 5/10
Apr 14 2024 : Guest 106: 1/10

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. To whom is this poem addressed?

Answer: the speaker's son

The poem concludes with an address to the speaker's son: "And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!" Some critics have therefore assumed this poem is addressed to John Kipling, who was Kipling's only son. Born in August of 1897, John Kipling died in 1915, in the Battle of Loos, which was fought on the Western Front in France during World War I.
2. This poem was inspired by the character of Scottish colonial politician Sir Leander Starr Jameson. He was known for his involvement in the Jameson Raid in the South African Republic, which led to what war?

Answer: The Second Boer War

The goal of the Jameson Raid was to start an uprising in the South African Republic among British expatriate workers to overthrow the Boer Government. British colonial administrator Sir Leander Starr Jameson led the raid with Company troops and policemen on the 1895-96 New Year's weekend. The workers, however, did not rise up in insurrection. The British government was embarrassed and Boer dominance was strengthened, but Jameson was nevertheless regarded as a hero by many who held strong anti-Boer sentiments in London. The raid contributed to the onset of the Second Boer War.

The poem "If" is written in the form of advice from father to son, but Kipling wrote in his autobiography, "Something of Myself", that the verses in it were "drawn from Jameson's character, and contained counsels of perfection most easy to give."
3. The poem begins, "If you can keep _____ when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you." What do you need to keep about you?

Answer: your head

"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..."

In this poem, Kipling does not dwell on great deeds or fame, but rather emphasizes the virtues of stoicism, perseverance, and humility. A true man, Kipling suggests, remains calm (keeps his head about him) even while others around him may be losing their cool and giving way to their negative emotions (such as fear or anger).
4. What are referred to as "those two imposters" in the poem "If"?

Answer: Triumph and Disaster

"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..."

These two lines ("If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same") are written on a wall at the West Side Tennis Club where the US Open was played from 1915-1977.

In addition to poetry, Kipling also wrote numerous works of fiction, including "The Jungle Book", which was published in 1894, and "Kim", which was published in 1901.
5. "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken / Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, / Or watch the thing you gave your life to, broken, / And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out" what?

Answer: tools

The next stanza reads:

"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!'"

Again, the virtues of stoicism and perseverance are emphasized here as the true man does not complain of his misfortune but merely presses on with that British "stiff upper lip."

In 1996, BBC held a nationwide poll of the United Kingdom's favorite poems, and "If" came in first place by a wide margin.
6. In "If", who should a man aspire to "walk with" and yet not "lose the common touch"?

Answer: kings

"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,"

Here, both temperance and humility are highlighted as virtues. The true man neither gives into the vices of the crowds nor holds himself too high above them, but rather can walk equally with royalty and commoners while still remaining true to himself.

Christopher Bentley took the title of this poem as the title of his autobiography of Kipling's time in America: "If: The Untold Story of Kipling's American Years", which was published in 2019.
7. What should a man not allow to hurt him?

Answer: foes and loving friends

"If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much..."

Here the poet advises his son to have regard for all men but not such a high regard for any one of them that it would be possible for that man to hurt him. A man should remain stoic in the face of insults from foes and disappointments and betrayals from friends.

The English actor Sir Michael Cain has been recorded reciting this poem.
8. "If you can fill the _____ minute / With sixty seconds' worth of distance run..." How is the minute described in this verse?

Answer: unforgiving

"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!"

This is not the only poem in which Rudyard Kipling focuses on what it really means to be a man. His poem "Gunga Din" concludes, "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"

Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay. His final resting place is in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey in London, England. He declined an unofficial offer to become poet laureate after Tennyson's death in 1892 and was the first English writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he earned in 1907.
9. In what historical fantasy book by Kipling did this poem first appear?

Answer: Rewards and Fairies

"The Hobbit" and "The Silmarillion" were both by J.R.R. Tolkien while "A Wizard of Earthsea" was by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Kipling's historical fantasy "Rewards and Fairies" is a collection of short stories that was published in 1910. The stories are arranged with a poem at the start and finish of each story. "If" appeared in the chapter titled "Brother Square Toes."
10. What American-born British poet included this poem in his 1941 compendium "A Choice of Kipling's Verse"?

Answer: T.S. Eliot

"A Choice of Kipling's Verse" contains a 32-page essay on Rudyard Kipling by the poet T.S. Eliot, who wrote "The Wasteland" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", among other famous verses. Eliot also selected numerous poems for the volume, shying away from anything he considered juvenilia.

The collection includes such well-loved poems as "If", "Danny Deever", "Gunga Din", and "Tommy", among many others.
Source: Author skylarb

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor looney_tunes before going online.
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  6. The Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Average
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