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  • 1897
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They moves ’em off by companies uncommon stiff an’ slow.
Of all ‘is five years’ schoolin’ they don’t remember much Excep’ the not retreatin’, the step an’ keepin’ touch. It looks like teachin’ wasted when they duck an’ spread an’ ‘op, But if ‘e ‘adn’t learned ’em they’d be all about the shop!
An’ now it’s “‘Oo goes backward?” an’ now it’s “‘Oo comes on?” And now it’s “Get the doolies,” an’ now the captain’s gone; An’ now it’s bloody murder, but all the while they ‘ear ‘Is voice, the same as barrick drill, a-shepherdin’ the rear.
‘E’s just as sick as they are, ‘is ‘eart is like to split, But ‘e works ’em, works ’em, works ’em till he feels ’em take the bit; The rest is ‘oldin’ steady till the watchful bugles play, An’ ‘e lifts ’em, lifts ’em, lifts ’em through the charge that wins the day!
The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone; ‘E don’t obey no orders unless they is ‘is own; The ‘eathen in ‘is blindness must end where ‘e began, But the backbone of the Army is the non-commissioned man!
Keep away from dirtiness — keep away from mess. Don’t get into doin’ things rather-more-or-less! Let’s ha’ done with abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho; Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!


Sez the Junior Orderly Sergeant
To the Senior Orderly Man:
“Our Orderly Orf’cer’s ~hokee-mut~, You ‘elp ‘im all you can.
For the wine was old and the night is cold, An’ the best we may go wrong,
So, ‘fore ‘e gits to the sentry-box, You pass the word along.”

So it was “Rounds! What Rounds?” at two of a frosty night, ‘E’s ‘oldin’ on by the sergeant’s sash, but, sentry, shut your eye. An’ it was “Pass! All’s well!” Oh, ain’t ‘e drippin’ tight! ‘E’ll need an affidavit pretty badly by-an’-by.
The moon was white on the barricks, The road was white an’ wide,
An’ the Orderly Orf’cer took it all, An’ the ten-foot ditch beside.
An’ the corporal pulled an’ the sergeant pushed, An’ the three they danced along,
But I’d shut my eyes in the sentry-box, So I didn’t see nothin’ wrong.

Though it was “Rounds! What Rounds?” O corporal, ‘old ‘im up! ‘E’s usin’ ‘is cap as it shouldn’t be used, but, sentry, shut your eye. An’ it was “Pass! All’s well!” Ho, shun the foamin’ cup! ‘E’ll need, etc.

‘Twas after four in the mornin’;
We ‘ad to stop the fun,
An’ we sent ‘im ‘ome on a bullock-cart, With ‘is belt an’ stock undone;
But we sluiced ‘im down an’ we washed ‘im out, An’ a first-class job we made,
When we saved ‘im, smart as a bombardier, For six-o’clock parade.

It ‘ad been “Rounds! What Rounds?” Oh, shove ‘im straight again! ‘E’s usin’ ‘is sword for a bicycle, but, sentry, shut your eye. An’ it was “Pass! All’s well!” ‘E’s called me “Darlin’ Jane”! ‘E’ll need, etc.

The drill was long an’ ‘eavy,
The sky was ‘ot an’ blue,
An’ ‘is eye was wild an’ ‘is ‘air was wet, But ‘is sergeant pulled ‘im through.
Our men was good old trusties —
They’d done it on their ‘ead;
But you ought to ‘ave ‘eard ’em markin’ time To ‘ide the things ‘e said!

For it was “Right flank — wheel!” for “‘Alt, an’ stand at ease!” An’ “Left extend!” for “Centre close!” O marker, shut your eye! An’ it was, “‘Ere, sir, ‘ere! before the Colonel sees!” So he needed affidavits pretty badly by-an’-by.
There was two-an’-thirty sergeants, There was corp’rals forty-one,
There was just nine ‘undred rank an’ file To swear to a touch o’ sun.
There was me ‘e’d kissed in the sentry-box, As I ‘ave not told in my song,
But I took my oath, which were Bible truth, I ‘adn’t seen nothin’ wrong.

There’s them that’s ‘ot an’ ‘aughty, There’s them that’s cold an’ ‘ard,
But there comes a night when the best gets tight, And then turns out the Guard.
I’ve seen them ‘ide their liquor
In every kind o’ way,
But most depends on makin’ friends
With Privit Thomas A.!

When it is “Rounds! What Rounds?” ‘E’s breathin’ through ‘is nose. ‘E’s reelin’, rollin’, roarin’ tight, but, sentry, shut your eye. An’ it is “Pass! All’s well!” An’ that’s the way it goes: We’ll ‘elp ‘im for ‘is mother, an’ ‘e’ll ‘elp us by-an’-by!


You call yourself a man,
For all you used to swear,
An’ leave me, as you can,
My certain shame to bear?
I ‘ear! You do not care —
You done the worst you know.
I ‘ate you, grinnin’ there. . . .
Ah, Gawd, I love you so!

Nice while it lasted, an’ now it is over — Tear out your ‘eart an’ good-bye to your lover! What’s the use o’ grievin’, when the mother that bore you (Mary, pity women!) knew it all before you?
It aren’t no false alarm,
The finish to your fun;
You — you ‘ave brung the ‘arm,
An’ I’m the ruined one;
An’ now you’ll off an’ run
With some new fool in tow.
Your ‘eart? You ‘aven’t none. . . . Ah, Gawd, I love you so!

When a man is tired there is naught will bind ‘im; All ‘e solemn promised ‘e will shove be’ind ‘im. What’s the good o’ prayin’ for The Wrath to strike ‘im (Mary, pity women!), when the rest are like ‘im?
What ‘ope for me or — it?
What’s left for us to do?
I’ve walked with men a bit,
But this — but this is you.
So ‘elp me Christ, it’s true!
Where can I ‘ide or go?
You coward through and through! . . . Ah, Gawd, I love you so!

All the more you give ’em the less are they for givin’ — Love lies dead, an’ you cannot kiss ‘im livin’. Down the road ‘e led you there is no returnin’ (Mary, pity women!), but you’re late in learnin’!
You’d like to treat me fair?
You can’t, because we’re pore?
We’d starve? What do I care!
We might, but ~this~ is shore!
I want the name — no more —
The name, an’ lines to show,
An’ not to be an ‘ore. . . .
Ah, Gawd, I love you so!

What’s the good o’ pleadin’, when the mother that bore you (Mary, pity women!) knew it all before you? Sleep on ‘is promises an’ wake to your sorrow (Mary, pity women!), for we sail to-morrow!


The Injian Ocean sets an’ smiles
So sof’, so bright, so bloomin’ blue; There aren’t a wave for miles an’ miles
Excep’ the jiggle from the screw.
The ship is swep’, the day is done, The bugle’s gone for smoke and play;
An’ black agin’ the settin’ sun
The Lascar sings, “~Hum deckty hai!~” [“I’m looking out.”]
For to admire an’ for to see,
For to be’old this world so wide — It never done no good to me,
But I can’t drop it if I tried!

I see the sergeants pitchin’ quoits, I ‘ear the women laugh an’ talk,
I spy upon the quarter-deck
The orficers an’ lydies walk.
I thinks about the things that was, An’ leans an’ looks acrost the sea,
Till spite of all the crowded ship
There’s no one lef’ alive but me.

The things that was which I ‘ave seen, In barrick, camp, an’ action too,
I tells them over by myself,
An’ sometimes wonders if they’re true; For they was odd — most awful odd —
But all the same now they are o’er, There must be ‘eaps o’ plenty such,
An’ if I wait I’ll see some more.

Oh, I ‘ave come upon the books,
An’ frequent broke a barrick rule, An’ stood beside an’ watched myself
Be’avin’ like a bloomin’ fool.
I paid my price for findin’ out,
Nor never grutched the price I paid, But sat in Clink without my boots,
Admirin’ ‘ow the world was made.

Be’old a crowd upon the beam,
An’ ‘umped above the sea appears
Old Aden, like a barrick-stove
That no one’s lit for years an’ years! I passed by that when I began,
An’ I go ‘ome the road I came,
A time-expired soldier-man
With six years’ service to ‘is name.
My girl she said, “Oh, stay with me!” My mother ‘eld me to ‘er breast.
They’ve never written none, an’ so
They must ‘ave gone with all the rest — With all the rest which I ‘ave seen
An’ found an’ known an’ met along. I cannot say the things I feel,
And so I sing my evenin’ song:

For to admire an’ for to see,
For to be’old this world so wide — It never done no good to me,
But I can’t drop it if I tried!


When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried, When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died, We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it — lie down for an ]aeon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew!
And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair; They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair; They shall find real saints to draw from — Magdalene, Peter, and Paul; They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!
And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame, But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!

The End.