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Departmental Ditties and Barrack Room Ballads   By: (1865-1936)

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By Rudyard Kipling



Prelude General Summary Army Headquarters Study of an Elevation, in Indian Ink A Legend of the Foreign Office The Story of Uriah The Post that Fitted Public Waste Delilah What Happened Pink Dominoes The Man Who Could Write Municipal A Code of Morals The Last Department


The Ballad of East and West The Last Suttee The Ballad of the King's Mercy The Ballad of the King's Jest The Ballad of Boh Da Thone The Lament of the Border Cattle Thief The Rhyme of the Three Captains The Ballad of the "Clampherdown" The Ballad of the "Bolivar" The English Flag Cleared An Imperial Rescript Tomlinson Danny Deever Tommy Fuzzy Wuzzv Soldier, Soldier Screw Guns Gunga Din Oonts Loot "Snarleyow" The Widow at Windsor Belts The Young British Soldier Mandalay Troopin' Ford O' Kabul River Route Marchin'


I have eaten your bread and salt, I have drunk your water and wine, The deaths ye died I have watched beside, And the lives that ye led were mine.

Was there aught that I did not share In vigil or toil or ease, One joy or woe that I did not know, Dear hearts across the seas?

I have written the tale of our life For a sheltered people's mirth, In jesting guise but ye are wise, And ye know what the jest is worth.


We are very slightly changed From the semi apes who ranged India's prehistoric clay; Whoso drew the longest bow, Ran his brother down, you know, As we run men down today.

"Dowb," the first of all his race, Met the Mammoth face to face On the lake or in the cave, Stole the steadiest canoe, Ate the quarry others slew, Died and took the finest grave.

When they scratched the reindeer bone Someone made the sketch his own, Filched it from the artist then, Even in those early days, Won a simple Viceroy's praise Through the toil of other men.

Ere they hewed the Sphinx's visage Favoritism governed kissage, Even as it does in this age.

Who shall doubt the secret hid Under Cheops' pyramid Was that the contractor did Cheops out of several millions? Or that Joseph's sudden rise To Comptroller of Supplies Was a fraud of monstrous size On King Pharoah's swart Civilians?

Thus, the artless songs I sing Do not deal with anything New or never said before.

As it was in the beginning, Is today official sinning, And shall be forevermore.


Old is the song that I sing Old as my unpaid bills Old as the chicken that kitmutgars bring Men at dak bungalows old as the Hills.

Ahasuerus Jenkins of the "Operatic Own" Was dowered with a tenor voice of super Santley tone.

His views on equitation were, perhaps, a trifle queer; He had no seat worth mentioning, but oh! he had an ear.

He clubbed his wretched company a dozen times a day, He used to quit his charger in a parabolic way, His method of saluting was the joy of all beholders, But Ahasuerus Jenkins had a head upon his shoulders.

He took two months to Simla when the year was at the spring, And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.

He warbled like a bulbul, but particularly at Cornelia Agrippina who was musical and fat.

She controlled a humble husband, who, in turn, controlled a Dept., Where Cornelia Agrippina's human singing birds were kept From April to October on a plump retaining fee, Supplied, of course, per mensem, by the Indian Treasury... Continue reading book >>

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