“If—” is a poem that ranks among Rudyard Kipling’s most beloved works. He originally wrote the poem in 1896, in response to a failed British military operation that had occurred in South Africa the previous year. However, he first published it as a part of his 1910 book, Rewards and Fairies, which is a work of historical fantasy that features a series of related short stories interspersed with poems. Kipling wrote the poem as a single sentence and structured it as a conditional statement consisting of many parallel “if” clauses followed by a single “then” clause. The poem’s speaker is a father who addresses his son, dispensing paternal advice about what it means to be a man. The speaker is therefore keen to communicate his ideal vision of masculinity. The key masculine virtues outlined by the speaker include levelheadedness, self-assurance, humility, and perseverance. The speaker’s son will need to cultivate these virtues in order to “be a Man” (line 32). Such virtues reflect a quintessentially British brand of stoicism, which emphasizes facing adversity with unwavering reserve. In this sense, the form of masculinity advocated by the speaker relates to the British idiom of “keeping a stiff upper lip.”