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 nundred 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 h'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!
Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Three-Decker