The Thousandth Man by Rudyard Kipling
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!
I absolutely love this poem and hope the be the thousandth man to as many people as possible over the course of my life. To do this ﹣to lay one’s life down for one’s friends and family ﹣is really one of the greatest modes of living to which one can aspire.
Why be anything less?
There are, of course, those who will seek to take advantage of your generosity of spirit, but they eventually reveal themselves and have their reward. How incredible would it be were you to live every day of the rest of your life in a manner that even your bitterest critics would have to admit that their lives had been blessed by your presence (for people will turn on you no matter how kind you’ve been to them).