To Rudyard Kipling, the idea of "empire" is very different from what we think of it today. In Kipling's view of the empire, he believed that the role of the empire was to bring civilization to the savages of the Earth. He believed that it was Great Britain's God given duty to the world to conquer these lands and civilize the inhabitants. These views are very different from the view we have today of an empire. We believe that an empire was about greed and power rather than compassion and duty.
Kipling's poems "the Recessional" and "White Man's Burden are perfect examples of what empire means to him. In White Man's Burden, Kipling is telling the people to take up the duty of the more civilized nations to help civilize the undeveloped savages of other lands. He believed that there was no greed involved on the part of the Empire. As he says in the poem "To seek another's profit, and work another's gain" these two lines show that he believed that the role of the empire was to help the less civilized. His beliefs of the empire are what we refer to today as the "Ideal Empire." Unfortunately, what Kipling believed to be the role of an empire, never came to be. We are all aware of the fact that the empires of Europe did nothing but loot and plunder their colonies for its recourses and wealth.
Although Kipling believed in the ideals of empire, he was aware of the fact that all that Britain has worked for could be lost. The poem "The Recessional," is basically a prayer to God. This prayer is asking God not to abandon the British. The hymn is meant to be a warning to the British people not to become arrogant, greedy or power mad. In the first couple of stanzas, Kipling is saying that God is the reason that the British have such a large empire. He is asking God to not turn his back on the British. In the third stanza, Kipling is describing the loss of British power; which at that time was in its navy.