This Week’s Kipling – The Thousandth Man

Your thousandth man does not necessarily have to be a man. My late wife, Janet was my “thousandth man. I hope I was hers.

The Thousandth Man

by Rudyard Kipling

ONE man in a thousand, Solomon says.
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for ‘ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ’em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.

But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don’t matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ’em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ’em all
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight
With that for your only reason!

Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot – and after!


6 thoughts on “This Week’s Kipling – The Thousandth Man”

  1. In my facsimile edition  of Rewards and Fairies, where the poem appears after Simple Simon, the fifth verse  reads:

    “You can use his purse with no more shame/Thn he uses your for his spendings./ And laugh and mention it all the same/As if there had been no lendings.”

    I reckon Kipling wrote both..?

    Youll laugh, but I had been thinking of my best friend, definitely the “Thousandth Man”  to me–that if there were any way he coulda gotten in touch with me from beyond, he woulda.  Then I open my Ipad to this poem!   Coincidence? I don’t THINK so…! 

    Im going to post  Kipling’ s A Carol  in keeping with the season..stay tuned!


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