I don't understand what Kipling means by "Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”". Could you please explain it to me?

  • Citation to full text: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If%E2%80%94 May 9, 2014 at 23:04
  • 1
    Hi Haley, and welcome. Your title doesn't seem to match your question, perhaps because you didn't include enough of the quote. Also, for questions of this sort, we require that you explain exactly why you're having trouble interpreting the passage. Otherwise, your question becomes one of interpretation of literature, which is off-topic here.
    – Marthaª
    May 9, 2014 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


Text of that half-stanza:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew / To serve your turn long after they are gone / And so hold on when there is nothing in you / Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

He's saying that the listener's will is the only thing keeping his body (heart nerve sinew) going in the way that the listener wants ("To serve your turn"), and to "Hold on!" and endure some difficulty, either a physical challenge or old age.

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