April 7, 2011

The Thousandth Man

It appears to be poetry day - or at least that was my thought when I saw that Liz on Awake and Rael on Reflective Beauty had both posted poems. I was planning on doing another post, but I decided I would go with the flow and post the poem that is perhaps my all-time favorite, and the inspiration for Wordcrafter.

Rudyard Kipling's The Thousandth Man:

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!


  1. Wow... that is powerful. Thank you so much for sharing this poem - I had never heard of it before! It's wonderful!

    Like, If it is convicting too. I certainly am not a "Thousandth Man" to my friends... It's a marvelous challenge to try to live up to.

    "To the gallows foot and after..."

    Again - thank you for posting this, Abigail!

    ~ Liz

  2. What a beautiful poem! I can easily see how it could inspire a novel. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Aw, I'm glad you both liked it! That last line is my absolute favourite, along with -

    "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!"

    This poem, "If," and "The Roman Centurion's Song" are so beautifully powerful, and the first two are convicting.

    Thanks for commenting, gals!

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  5. Abigail! I thoroughly adore this poem -- I've had it memorized for months, and I say it to myself every few days because it's just brilliant like that.

    I suppose I now ought to make a poem post, only you've stolen my first choice. Fie on brainsharing! :P

  6. I blame Liz! She started it! (Because relegating blame is so much fun.) But I'm sure you could find another good Kipling poem, or another poem altogether, like Tennyson. I'm particularly fond of his "The Splendour Falls."

  7. Or Byron or Keats or Browning or Shakespeare or *stops and blushes* okay, I'm a poetry geek... But there's so much beautiful stuff out there! I hope Abigail's right and I did start a storm of poetry posts! :) I'd love to hear other people's favorites.

    ~ Liz

  8. Ick, I can't stand Byron since I learned more about him. His poetry may be lovely, but I can't stand him, and I can never seem to separate the writer from his writing. But I like what I've read of Keats (which is very little - I'm afraid I must confess to not being a poetry geek!) -

    "...magic casements, opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn."

    Alfred Noyes is good, too; I love his "Highwayman" and "Sherwood."

  9. Wow, Abigail, I just found your blog and I love what I've read! This poem is just beautiful, and something I really needed to hear/read, as I am going through a difficult time with a dear friendship.

    Thank you for posting this!

    PS: As to poems, one of my favorites right now is "The Happy Warrior" by William Wordsworth. Favorite poet would be either W.B. Yeats or John Donne.

  10. Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the posts. I just looked up "The Happy Warrior," and I like the thoughts it holds.

    This is the happy Warrior; this is He
    that every Man in arms should wish to be.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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