why do you think he wrote this poem? If..
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"If" was inspired by a great friend of Kiplings, Leander Starr Jameson, the Scots-born colonial politician and adventurer responsible for what has been deemed the Jameson raid that led to the Second Boer War. The raid was intended to start an uprising among the British expatriate workers in the South African Republic, but there were complications and it was a failure. Jameson was arrested and tried, but he was already being hailed a hero by London, which was filled with anti-Boer sentiment. He served only fifteen months in prison and later became Prime Minister of Cape Colony back in South Africa. It appears that Kipling had met Jameson and befriended him through Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony at the time of the raid.
During kipling's time teenagers were forced to join the army as a custom. He wrote this poem for his son on how to lead a sane army life without getting bullied or insane or corrupted. He wrote this in 1800 and it got published much later in 1900. It was dedicated to his son John. If u see the eg you will interpret better:
1. Gambling is a game played in armies as a source of entertainment.
2. He tells his son to not deal in lies or hate others because in army bad things could happen
3. Tells his son that even when his physical abilities r lost his heart and internal strength will always be there referring to the time when he might get seriously wounded.
Hope I answered question