A Child’s Garden
Now there is nothing wrong with me
Except — I think it’s called T.B.
And that is why I have to lay
Out in the garden all the day.
Our garden is not very wide
And cars go by on either side,
And make an angry-hooty noise
That rather startles little boys.
But worst of all is when they take
Me out in cars that growl and shake,
With charabancs so dreadful-near
I have to shut my eyes for fear.
But when I’m on my back again,
I watch the Croydon aeroplane
That flies across to France, and sings
Like hitting thick piano-strings.
When I am strong enough to do
The things I’m truly wishful to,
I’ll never use a car or train
But always have an aeroplane;
And just go zooming round and round,
And frighten Nursey with the sound,
And see the angel-side of clouds,
And spit on all those motor-crowds!
You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was “Din! Din! Din!
You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery ~hitherao~!
Water, get it! ~Panee lao~! [Bring water swiftly.]
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”
The uniform ‘e wore
Was nothin’ much before,
An’ rather less than ‘arf o’ that be’ind,
For a piece o’ twisty rag
An’ a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment ‘e could find.
When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
In a sidin’ through the day,
Where the ‘eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
We shouted “Harry By!” [Mr. Atkins’s equivalent for “O brother.”]
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped ‘im ’cause ‘e couldn’t serve us all.
It was “Din! Din! Din!
You ‘eathen, where the mischief ‘ave you been?
You put some ~juldee~ in it [Be quick.]
Or I’ll ~marrow~ you this minute [Hit you.]
If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”
‘E would dot an’ carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An’ ‘e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
‘E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.
With ‘is ~mussick~ on ‘is back, [Water-skin.]
‘E would skip with our attack,
An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire”,
An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide
‘E was white, clear white, inside
When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was “Din! Din! Din!”
With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-files shout,
“Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”
I shan’t forgit the night
When I dropped be’ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should ‘a’ been.
I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
An’ the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.
‘E lifted up my ‘ead,
An’ he plugged me where I bled,
An’ ‘e guv me ‘arf-a-pint o’ water-green:
It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was “Din! Din! Din!
‘Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ‘is spleen;
‘E’s chawin’ up the ground,
An’ ‘e’s kickin’ all around:
For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!”
‘E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.
‘E put me safe inside,
An’ just before ‘e died,
“I ‘ope you liked your drink”, sez Gunga Din.
So I’ll meet ‘im later on
At the place where ‘e is gone —
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
‘E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
A Servant When He Reigneth
Three things make earth unquiet
And four she cannot brook
The godly Agur counted them
And put them in a book —
Those Four Tremendous Curses
With which mankind is cursed;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Old Agur entered first.
An Handmaid that is Mistress
We need not call upon.
A Fool when he is full of Meat
Will fall asleep anon.
An Odious Woman Married
May bear a babe and mend;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Is Confusion to the end.
His feet are swift to tumult,
His hands are slow to toil,
His ears are deaf to reason,
His lips are loud in broil.
He knows no use for power
Except to show his might.
He gives no heed to judgment
Unless it prove him right.
Because he served a master
Before his Kingship came,
And hid in all disaster
Behind his master’s name,
So, when his Folly opens
The unnecessary hells,
A Servant when He Reigneth
Throws the blame on some one else.
His vows are lightly spoken,
His faith is hard to bind,
His trust is easy boken,
He fears his fellow-kind.
The nearest mob will move him
To break the pledge he gave —
Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
Is more than ever slave!
The Legend Of The Foreign Office
Rajah of Kolazai,
Drinketh the “simpkin” and brandy peg,
Maketh the money to fly,
Vexeth a Government, tender and kind,
Also — but this is a detail — blind.
Rustum Beg of Kolazai — slightly backward Native State —
Lusted for a C.S.I. — so began to sanitate.
Built a Gaol and Hospital — nearly built a City drain —
Till his faithful subjects all thought their ruler was insane.
Strange departures made he then — yea, Departments stranger still:
Half a dozen Englishmen helped the Rajah with a will,
Talked of noble aims and high, hinted of a future fine
For the State of Kolazai, on a strictly Western line.
Fajah Rustum held his peace; lowered octroi dues a half;
Organised a State Police; purified the Civil Staff;
Settled cess and tax aftresh in a very liberal way;
Cut temptations of the flesh — also cut the Bukhshi’s pay;
Roused his Secretariat to a fine Mahratta fury,
By an Order hinting at supervision of dasturi;
Turned the State of Kolazai very nearly upside-down;
When the end of May was night waited his achievement’s crown.
Then the Birthday Honours came. Sad to state and sad to see,
Stood against the Rajah’s name nothing more than C.I.E.!. . .
Things were lively for a week in the State of Kolazai,
Even now the people speak of that time regretfully.
How he disendowed the Gaol — stopped at once the City drain;
Turned to beauty fair and frail — got his senses back again;
Doubled taxes, cesses, all; cleared away each new-built thana;
Turned the two-lakh Hospital into a superb Zenana;
Heaped upon the Bukshi Sahib wealth and honours manifold;
Glad himself in Eastern garb — squeezed his people as of old.
Happy, happy Kolazai! Never more will Rustum Beg
Play to catch his Viceroy’s eye. He prefers the “simpkin” peg.