Skip to comments.The 'eathen
Posted on 05/27/2002 7:11:02 AM PDT by Clive
The 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an' stone;
'E don't obey no orders unless they is 'is own;
'E keeps 'is side-arms awful: 'e leaves 'em all about,
An' then comes up the Regiment an' pokes the 'eathen out.
All along o' dirtiness, all along o' mess,
All along o' doin' things rather-more-or-less,
All along of abby-nay, kul, an' hazar-ho,
Mind you keep your rifle an' yourself jus' so!
The young recruit is 'aughty -- 'e draf's from Gawd knows where;
They bid 'im show 'is stockin's an' lay 'is mattress square;
'E calls it bloomin' nonsense -- 'e doesn't know, no more --
An' then up comes 'is Company an'kicks'im round the floor!
The young recruit is 'ammered -- 'e takes it very hard;
'E 'angs 'is 'ead an' mutters -- 'e sulks about the yard;
'E talks o' "cruel tyrants" which 'e'll swing for by-an'-by,
An' the others 'ears an' mocks 'im, an' the boy goes orf to cry.
The young recruit is silly -- 'e thinks o' suicide.
'E's lost 'is gutter-devil; 'e 'asn't got 'is pride;
But day by day they kicks 'im, which 'elps 'im on a bit,
Till 'e finds 'isself one mornin' with a full an' proper kit.
Gettin' clear o' dirtiness, gettin' done with mess,
Gettin' shut o' doin' things rather-more-or-less;
Not so fond of abby-nay, kul, nor hazar-ho,
Learns to keep 'is ripe an "isself jus'so!
The young recruit is 'appy -- 'e throws a chest to suit;
You see 'im grow mustaches; you 'ear 'im slap' is boot.
'E learns to drop the "bloodies" from every word 'e slings,
An 'e shows an 'ealthy brisket when 'e strips for bars an' rings.
The cruel-tyrant-sergeants they watch 'im 'arf a year;
They watch 'im with 'is comrades, they watch 'im with 'is beer;
They watch 'im with the women at the regimental dance,
And the cruel-tyrant-sergeants send 'is name along for "Lance."
An' now 'e's 'arf o' nothin', an' all a private yet,
'Is room they up an' rags 'im to see what they will get.
They rags 'im low an' cunnin', each dirty trick they can,
But 'e learns to sweat 'is temper an 'e learns to sweat 'is man.
An', last, a Colour-Sergeant, as such to be obeyed,
'E schools 'is men at cricket, 'e tells 'em on parade,
They sees 'im quick an 'andy, uncommon set an' smart,
An' so 'e talks to orficers which 'ave the Core at 'eart.
'E learns to do 'is watchin' without it showin' plain;
'E learns to save a dummy, an' shove 'im straight again;
'E learns to check a ranker that's buyin' leave to shirk;
An 'e learns to malce men like 'im so they'll learn to like their work.
An' when it comes to marchin' he'll see their socks are right,
An' when it comes: to action 'e shows 'em how to sight.
'E knows their ways of thinkin' and just what's in their mind;
'E knows when they are takin' on an' when they've fell be'ind.
'E knows each talkin' corp'ral that leads a squad astray;
'E feels 'is innards 'eavin', 'is bowels givin' way;
'E sees the blue-white faces all tryin 'ard to grin,
An 'e stands an' waits an' suffers till it's time to cap'em in.
An' now the hugly bullets come peckin' through the dust,
An' no one wants to face 'em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons, which isn't glad to go,
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 them 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
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, and hazar-ho;
Mind you keep your rifle an' yourself jus' so!
Something that IM(not so)HO should be posted in every basic training barracks.
It should also be displayed in the gunroom and the wardroom.
"EQUALITY OF SACRIFICE"
A. "I was a Have."'
B. "I was a "have-not."'
(Together.) "What hast thou given which I gave not?"
We were together since the War began.
He was my servantand the better man.
My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew
What it was, and it might serve me in a time when jests are few.
AN ONLY SON
I have slain none except my Mother.
She (Blessing her slayer) died of grief for me.
Pity not! The Army gave
Freedom to a timid slave:
In which Freedom did he find
Strength of body, will, and mind:
By which strength he came to prove
Mirth, Companionship, and Love:
For which Love to Death he went:
In which Death he lies content.
Body and Spirit I surrendered whole
To harsh Instructorsand received a soul . . .
If mortal man could change me through and through
From all I waswhat may The God not do?
HINDU SEPOY IN FRANCE
This man in his own country prayed we know not to what Powers.
We pray Them to reward him for his bravery in ours.
I could not look on Death, which being known,
Men led me to him, blindfold and alone.
My name, my speech, my self I had forgot.
My wife and children cameI knew them not.
I died. My Mother followed. At her call
And on her bosom I remembered all.
A GRAVE NEAR CAIRO
Gods of the Nile, should this stout fellow here
Get outget out! He knows not shame nor fear.
PELICANS IN THE WILDERNESS
(A GRAVE NEAR HAIFA)
The blown sand heaps on me, that none may learn
Where I am laid for whom my children grieve. . . .
O wings that beat at dawning, ye return
Out of the desert to your young at eve!
Death favoured me from the first, well knowing I could not endure
To wait on him day by day. He quitted my betters and came
Whistling over the fields, and, when he had made all sure,
"Thy line is at end," he said, "but at least I have saved its name."
On the first hour of my first day
In the front trench I fell.
(Children in boxes at a play
Stand up to watch it well.)
R. A. F. (AGED EIGHTEEN)
Laughing through clouds, his milk-teeth still unshed,
Cities and men he smote from overhead.
His deaths delivered, he returned to play
Childlike, with childish things now put away.
THE REFINED MAN
I was of delicate mind. I stepped aside for my needs,
Disdaining the common office. I was seen from afar and killed. . . .
How is this matter for mirth? Let each man be judged by his deeds.
I have laid my price to live with myself on the terms that I willed.
NATIVE WATER-CARRIER (M. E. F.)
Prometheus brought down fire to men.
This brought up water.
The Gods are jealousnow, as then,
Giving no quarter.
BOMBED IN LONDON
On land and sea I strove with anxious care
To escape conscription. It was in the air!
THE SLEEPY SENTINEL
Faithless the watch that I kept: now I have none to keep.
I was slain because I slept: now I am slain I sleep.
Let no man reproach me again; whatever watch is unkept
I sleep because I am slain. They slew me because I slept.
BATTERIES OUT OF AMMUNITION
If any mourn us in the workshop, say
We died because the shift kept holiday.
If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.
A DEAD STATESMAN
I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?
If I had clamoured at Thy Gate
For gift of Life on Earth,
And, thrusting through the souls that wait,
Flung headlong into birth
Even then, even then, for gin and snare
About my pathway spread,
Lord, I had mocked Thy thoughtful care
Before I joined the Dead!
But now? . . . I was beneath Thy Hand
Ere yet the Planets came.
And now though Planets pass, I stand
The witness to Thy shame.
Daily, though no ears attended,
Did my prayers arise.
Daily, though no fire descended
Did I sacrifice.
Though my darkness did not lift,
Though I faced no lighter odds,
Though the Gods bestowed no gift,
None the less,
None the less, I served the Gods!
A DRIFTER OFF TARENTUM
He from the wind-bitten north with ship and companions descended.
Searching for eggs of death spawned by invisible hulls.
Many he found and drew forth. Of a sudden the fishery ended
In flame and a clamorous breath not new to the eye-pecking gulls.
DESTROYERS IN COLLISION
For Fog and Fate no charm is found
To lighten or amend.
I, hurrying to my bride, was drowned
Cut down by my best friend.
I was a shepherd to fools
Causelessly bold or afraid.
They would not abide by my rules.
Yet they escaped. For I stayed.
UNKNOWN FEMALE CORPSE
Headless, lacking foot and hand,
Horrible I come to land.
I beseech all women's sons
Know I was a mother once.
RAPED AND REVENGED
One used and butchered me: another spied
Me brokenfor which thing an hundred died.
So it was learned among the heathen hosts
How much a freeborn woman's favour costs.
I have watched a thousand days
Push out and crawl into night
Slowly as tortoises.
Now I, too, follow these.
It is fever, and not the fight
Time, not battlethat slays.
Call me not false, beloved,
If, from thy scarce-known breast
So little time removed,
In other arms I rest.
For this more ancient bride
Whom coldly I embrace
Was constant at my side
Before I saw thy face.
Our marriage, often set
By miracle delayed
At last is consummate,
And cannot be unmade.
Live, then, whom Life shall cure.
Almost, of Memory,
And leave us to endure
V. A. D. (MEDITERRANEAN)
Ah, would swift ships had never been, for then we ne'er had found,
These harsh Ægean rocks between, this little virgin drowned,
Whom neither spouse nor child shall mourn, but men she nursed through pain
Andcertain keels for whose return the heathen look in vain.
Kipling KNEW . . . I'm not sure how.
He lost his only son at Loos in 1915. They did not find what they think is his body until 1992.