Verses 1889-1896
by Rudyard Kipling
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"'As anybody seen Bill 'Awkins?" "Now 'ow in the devil would I know?" "'E's taken my girl out walkin', An' I've got to tell 'im so — Gawd — bless — 'im! I've got to tell 'im so."

"D'yer know what 'e's like, Bill 'Awkins?" "Now what in the devil would I care?" "'E's the livin', breathin' image of an organ-grinder's monkey, With a pound of grease in 'is 'air — Gawd — bless — 'im! An' a pound o' grease in 'is 'air."

"An' s'pose you met Bill 'Awkins, Now what in the devil 'ud ye do?" "I'd open 'is cheek to 'is chin-strap buckle, An' bung up 'is both eyes, too — Gawd — bless — 'im! An' bung up 'is both eyes, too!"

"Look 'ere, where 'e comes, Bill 'Awkins! Now what in the devil will you say?" "It isn't fit an' proper to be fightin' on a Sunday, So I'll pass 'im the time o' day — Gawd — bless — 'im! I'll pass 'im the time o' day!"


There was Rundle, Station Master, An' Beazeley of the Rail, An' 'Ackman, Commissariat, An' Donkin' o' the Jail; An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent, Our Master twice was 'e, With 'im that kept the Europe-shop, Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!" Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm. We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square, An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

We'd Bola Nath, Accountant, An' Saul the Aden Jew, An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman Of the Survey Office too; There was Babu Chuckerbutty, An' Amir Singh the Sikh, An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds, The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia, An' our Lodge was old an' bare, But we knew the Ancient Landmarks, An' we kep' 'em to a hair; An' lookin' on it backwards It often strikes me thus, There ain't such things as infidels, Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour, We'd all sit down and smoke (We dursn't give no banquits, Lest a Brother's caste were broke), An' man on man got talkin' Religion an' the rest, An' every man comparin' Of the God 'e knew the best.

So man on man got talkin', An' not a Brother stirred Till mornin' waked the parrots An' that dam' brain-fever-bird; We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious, An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed, With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Full oft on Guv'ment service This rovin' foot 'ath pressed, An' bore fraternal greetin's To the Lodges east an' west, Accordin' as commanded From Kohat to Singapore, But I wish that I might see them In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them, My Brethren black an' brown, With the trichies smellin' pleasant An' the hog-darn passin' down; [Cigar-lighter.] An' the old khansamah snorin' [Butler.] On the bottle-khana floor, [Pantry.] Like a Master in good standing With my Mother-Lodge once more!

Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!" Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm. We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square, An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!


There was no one like 'im, 'Orse or Foot, Nor any o' the Guns I knew; An' because it was so, why, o' course 'e went an' died, Which is just what the best men do.

So it's knock out your pipes an' follow me! An' it's finish up your swipes an' follow me! Oh, 'ark to the big drum callin', Follow me — follow me 'ome!

'Is mare she neighs the 'ole day long, She paws the 'ole night through, An' she won't take 'er feed 'cause o' waitin' for 'is step, Which is just what a beast would do.

'Is girl she goes with a bombardier Before 'er month is through; An' the banns are up in church, for she's got the beggar hooked, Which is just what a girl would do.

We fought 'bout a dog — last week it were — No more than a round or two; But I strook 'im cruel 'ard, an' I wish I 'adn't now, Which is just what a man can't do.

'E was all that I 'ad in the way of a friend, An' I've 'ad to find one new; But I'd give my pay an' stripe for to get the beggar back, Which it's just too late to do.

So it's knock out your pipes an' follow me! An' it's finish off your swipes an' follow me! Oh, 'ark to the fifes a-crawlin'! Follow me — follow me 'ome!

Take 'im away! 'E's gone where the best men go. Take 'im away! An' the gun-wheels turnin' slow. Take 'im away! There's more from the place 'e come. Take 'im away, with the limber an' the drum.

For it's "Three rounds blank" an' follow me, An' it's "Thirteen rank" an' follow me; Oh, passin' the love o' women, Follow me — follow me 'ome!


'E was warned agin' 'er — That's what made 'im look; She was warned agin' 'im — That is why she took. 'Wouldn't 'ear no reason, 'Went an' done it blind; We know all about 'em, They've got all to find!

Cheer for the Sergeant's weddin' — Give 'em one cheer more! Grey gun-'orses in the lando, An' a rogue is married to, etc.

What's the use o' tellin' 'Arf the lot she's been? 'E's a bloomin' robber, An' 'e keeps canteen. 'Ow did 'e get 'is buggy? Gawd, you needn't ask! 'Made 'is forty gallon Out of every cask!

Watch 'im, with 'is 'air cut, Count us filin' by — Won't the Colonel praise 'is Pop — u — lar — i — ty! We 'ave scores to settle — Scores for more than beer; She's the girl to pay 'em — That is why we're 'ere!

See the chaplain thinkin'? See the women smile? Twig the married winkin' As they take the aisle? Keep your side-arms quiet, Dressin' by the Band. Ho! You 'oly beggars, Cough be'ind your 'and!

Now it's done an' over, 'Ear the organ squeak, "'Voice that breathed o'er Eden" — Ain't she got the cheek! White an' laylock ribbons, Think yourself so fine! I'd pray Gawd to take yer 'Fore I made yer mine!

Escort to the kerridge, Wish 'im luck, the brute! Chuck the slippers after — [Pity 'tain't a boot!] Bowin' like a lady, Blushin' like a lad — 'Oo would say to see 'em Both is rotten bad?

Cheer for the Sergeant's weddin' — Give 'em one cheer more! Grey gun-'orses in the lando, An' a rogue is married to, etc.


Through the Plagues of Egyp' we was chasin' Arabi, Gettin' down an' shovin' in the sun; An' you might 'ave called us dirty, an' you might ha' called us dry, An' you might 'ave 'eard us talkin' at the gun. But the Captain 'ad 'is jacket, an' the jacket it was new — ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the wettin' of the jacket is the proper thing to do, Nor we didn't keep 'im waitin' very long.

One day they gave us orders for to shell a sand redoubt, Loadin' down the axle-arms with case; But the Captain knew 'is dooty, an' he took the crackers out An' he put some proper liquor in its place. An' the Captain saw the shrapnel, which is six-an'-thirty clear. ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) "Will you draw the weight," sez 'e, "or will you draw the beer?" An' we didn't keep 'im waitin' very long. For the Captain, etc.

Then we trotted gentle, not to break the bloomin' glass, Though the Arabites 'ad all their ranges marked; But we dursn't 'ardly gallop, for the most was bottled Bass, An' we'd dreamed of it since we was disembarked: So we fired economic with the shells we 'ad in 'and, ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) But the beggars under cover 'ad the impidence to stand, An' we couldn't keep 'em waitin' very long. And the Captain, etc.

So we finished 'arf the liquor (an' the Captain took champagne), An' the Arabites was shootin' all the while; An' we left our wounded 'appy with the empties on the plain, An' we used the bloomin' guns for pro-jec-tile! We limbered up an' galloped — there were nothin' else to do — ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the Battery came a-boundin' like a boundin' kangaroo, But they didn't watch us comin' very long. As the Captain, etc.

We was goin' most extended — we was drivin' very fine, An' the Arabites were loosin' 'igh an' wide, Till the Captain took the glassy with a rattlin' right incline, An' we dropped upon their 'eads the other side. Then we give 'em quarter — such as 'adn't up and cut, ('Orse Gunners, listen to my song!) An' the Captain stood a limberful of fizzy — somethin' Brutt, But we didn't leave it fizzing very long. For the Captain, etc.

We might ha' been court-martialled, but it all come out all right When they signalled us to join the main command. There was every round expended, there was every gunner tight, An' the Captain waved a corkscrew in 'is 'and. But the Captain 'ad 'is jacket, etc.


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!

* abby-nay: Not now. kul: To-morrow. hazar-ho: Wait a bit.

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 'ard; 'E 'angs 'is 'ead an' mutters — 'e sulks about the yard; 'E talks o' "cruel tyrants" '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 rifle 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 'em 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 make 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 'ow 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' corpril 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 '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!


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