The Spring Running

Man goes to Man! Cry the challenge through the Jungle!
He that was our Brother goes away.
Hear, now, and judge, O ye People of the Jungle--
Answer, who can turn him--who shall stay?

Man goes to Man! He is weeping in the Jungle:
He that was our Brother sorrows sore!
Man goes to Man! (Oh, we loved him in the Jungle!)
To the Man-Trail where we may not follow more.

General Joubert

(Died, South African War, March 27, 1900)


With those that bred, with those that loosed the strife,
He had no part whose hands were clear of gain;
But subtle, strong, and stubborn, gave his life
To a lost cause, and knew the gift was vain.

Later shall rise a people, sane and great,
Forged in strong fires, by equal war made one;
Telling old battles over without hate --
Not least his name shall pass from sire to son.

He may not meet the onsweep of our van
In the doomed city when we close the score;
Yet o'er his grave -- his grave that holds a man --
Our deep-tongued guns shall answer his once more!

(Spring begins in southern England on the 14th April, on which date the Old Woman lets the Cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair -- locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair.)


Tell it to the locked-up trees,
Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!
Tell old Winder, if he doubt,
Tell him squat and square -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

March has searched and April tried --
'Tisn't long to Mary now.
Not so far to Whitsuntide
And Cuckoo's come to stay now!
Hear the valiant fellow shout
Down the orchard bare -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

When your heart is young and gay
And the season rules it --
Work your works and play your play
'Fore the Autumn cools it!
Kiss you turn and turn-about,
But my lad, beware -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

My garden blazes brightly with the rose-bush and the peach,
And the koil sings above it, in the siris by the well,
From the creeper-covered trellis comes the squirrel's chattering speech,
And the blue jay screams and flutters where the cheery sat-bhai dwell.
But the rose has lost its fragrance, and the koil's note is strange;
I am sick of endless sunshine, sick of blossom-burdened bough.
Give me back the leafless woodlands where the winds of Springtime range --
Give me back one day in England, for it's Spring in England now!

Through the pines the gusts are booming, o'er the brown fields blowing chill,
From the furrow of the ploughshare streams the fragrance of the loam,
And the hawk nests on the cliffside and the jackdaw in the hill,
And my heart is back in England 'mid the sights and sounds of Home.
But the garland of the sacrifice this wealth of rose and peach is,
Ah! koil, little koil, singing on the siris bough,
In my ears the knell of exile your ceaseless bell like speech is --
Can you tell me aught of England or of Spring in England now?

Our Lord Who did the Ox command
To kneel to Judah's King,
He binds His frost upon the land
To ripen it for Spring --
To ripen it for Spring, good sirs,
According to His Word.
Which well must be as ye can see --
And who shall judge the Lord?

When we poor fenmen skate the ice
Or shiver on the wold,
We hear the cry of a single tree
That breaks her heart in the cold --
That breaks her heart in the cold, good sirs,
And rendeth by the board.
Which well must be as ye can see --
And who shall judge the Lord?

Her wood is crazed and little worth
Excepting as to burn,
That we may warm and make our mirth
Until the Spring return --
Until the Spring return, good sirs,
When Christians walk abroad;
When well must be as ye can see --
And who shall judge the Lord?

God bless the master of this house,
And all who sleep therein!
And guard the fens from pirate folk,
And keep us all from sin,
To walk in honesty, good sirs,
Of thought and deed ad word!
Which shall befriend our latter end....
And who shall judge the Lord?

Army Headquarters

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 at Simla when the year was at the spring,
And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.
He warbled like a bul-bul 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.

Cornelia used to sing with him, and Jenkins used to play;
He praised unblushingly her notes, for he was false as they;
So when the winds of April turned the budding roses brown,
Cornelia told her husband: -- "Tom, you mustn't send him down."

They haled him from his regiment, which didn't much regret him;
They found for him an office-stool, and on that stool they set him
To play with maps and catalogues three idle hours a day,
And draw his plump retaining-fee -- which means his double pay.

Now, ever after dinnger, when the coffee-cups are brought,
Ahasuerus waileth o'er the grand pianoforte;
And, thanks to fair Cornelia, his fame hath waxen great,
And Ahasuerus Jenkins is a Power in the State!

England's Answer

Truly ye come of The Blood; slower to bless than to ban;
Little used to lie down at the bidding of any man.
Flesh of the flesh that I bred, bone of the bone that I bare;
Stark as your sons shall be -- stern as your fathers were.
Deeper than speech our love, stronger than life our tether,
But we do not fall on the neck nor kiss when we come together.
My arm is nothing weak, my strength is not gone by;
Sons, I have borne many sons, but my dugs are not dry.
Look, I have made ye a place and opened wide the doors,
That ye may talk together, your Barons and Councillors --
Wards of the Outer March, Lords of the Lower Seas,
Ay, talk to your gray mother that bore you on her knees! --
That ye may talk together, brother to brother's face --
Thus for the good of your peoples -- thus for the Pride of the Race.
Also, we will make promise. So long as The Blood endures,
I shall know that your good is mine: ye shall feel that my strength is yours:
In the day of Armageddon, at the last great fight of all,
That Our House stand together and the pillars do not fall.
Draw now the threefold knot firm on the ninefold bands,
And the Law that ye make shall be law after the rule of your lands.
This for the waxen Heath, and that for the Wattle-bloom,
This for the Maple-leaf, and that for the southern Broom.
The Law that ye make shall be law and I do not press my will,
Because ye are Sons of The Blood and call me Mother still.
Now must ye speak to your kinsmen and they must speak to you,
After the use of the English, in straight-flung words and few.
Go to your work and be strong, halting not in your ways,
Balking the end half-won for an instant dole of praise.
Stand to your work and be wise -- certain of sword and pen,
Who are neither children nor Gods, but men in a world of men!

About the 15th of this month you may expectour Mr. -- , with the usual Spring Seed, etc., Catalogues.– Florist’s Announcement.


It’s forty in the shade to-day, the spouting eaves declare;
The boulders nose above the drift, the southern slopes are bare;
Hub-deep in slush Apollo’s car swings north along the Zod-
iac. Good luck, the Spring is back, and Pan is on the road!

His house is Gee & Tellus’ Sons, – so goes his jest with men –
He sold us Zeus knows what last year; he’ll take us in again.
Disguised behind the livery-team, fur-coated, rubber-shod –
Yet Apis from the bull-pen lows – he knows his brother God!

Now down the lines of tasseled pines the yearning whispers wake –
Pithys of old thy love behold! Come in for Hermes’s sake!
How long since that so-Boston boot with reeling Maenads ran!
Numen adest! Let be the rest. Pipe and we pay, O Pan.

(What though his phlox and hollyhocks ere half a month demised?
What though his ampelopsis clambered not as advertised?
Though every seed was guaranteed and every standard true –
Forget, forgive they did not live! Believe, and buy anew!)

Now o’er a careless knee he flings the painted page abroad –
Such bloom hath never eye beheld this side of Eden Sword;
Such fruit Pomona marks her own, yea, Liber oversees,
That we may reach (one dollar each) the Lost Hesperides!

Serene, assenting, unabashed, he writes our orders down: –
Blue Asphodel on all our paths – a few true bays for crown –
Uncankered bud, immoral flower, and leaves that never fall –
Apples of Gold, of Youth, of Health – and – thank you, Pan, that’s all….

He’s off along the drifted pent to catch the Windsor train,
And swindle every citizen from Keene to Lake Champlain.
But where his goat’s-hoof cut the crust – beloved, look below –
He’s left us (I’ll forgive him all) the may-flower ‘neath her snow!

The Rupaiyat Of Omar Kal'Vin

Allowing for the difference 'twixt prose and rhymed exaggeration, this ought to reproduce the sense of what Sir A-- told the nation sometime ago, when the Government struck from our incomes two per cent.


Now the New Year, reviving last Year's Debt,
The Thoughtful Fisher casteth wide his Net;
So I with begging Dish and ready Tongue
Assail all Men for all that I can get.

Imports indeed are gone with all their Dues --
Lo! Salt a Lever that I dare not use,
Nor may I ask the Tillers in Bengal --
Surely my Kith and Kin will not refuse!

Pay -- and I promise by the Dust of Spring,
Retrenchment. If my promises can bring
Comfort, Ye have Them now a thousandfold --
By Allah! I will promise Anything!

Indeed, indeed, Retrenchment oft before
I swore -- but did I mean it when I swore?
And then, and then, We wandered to the Hills,
And so the Little Less became Much More.

Whether a Boileaugunge or Babylon,
I know not how the wretched Thing is done,
The Items of Receipt grow surely small;
The Items of Expense mount one by one.

I cannot help it. What have I to do
With One and Five, or Four, or Three, or Two?
Let Scribes spit Blood and Sulphur as they please,
Or Statesmen call me foolish -- Heed not you.

Behold, I promise -- Anything You will.
Behold, I greet you with an empty Till --
Ah! Fellow-Sinners, of your Charity
Seek not the Reason of the Dearth, but fill.

For if I sinned and fell, where lies the Gain
Of Knowledge? Would it ease you of your Pain
To know the tangled Threads of Revenue,
I ravel deeper in a hopeless Skein?

"Who hath not Prudence" -- what was it I said,
Of Her who paints her Eyes and tires Her Head,
And gibes and mocks and People in the Street,
And fawns upon them for Her thriftless Bread?

Accursed is She of Eve's daughters -- She
Hath cast off Prudence, and Her End shall be
Destruction . . . Brethren, of your Bounty
Some portion of your daily Bread to Me.

Birds Of Prey March

March! The mud is cakin' good about our trousies.
Front! -- eyes front, an' watch the Colour-casin's drip.
Front! The faces of the women in the 'ouses
Ain't the kind o' things to take aboard the ship.

Cheer! An' we'll never march to victory.
Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar!
The Large Birds o' Prey
They will carry us away,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more!

Wheel! Oh, keep your touch; we're goin' round a corner.
Time! -- mark time, an' let the men be'ind us close.
Lord! the transport's full, an' 'alf our lot not on 'er --
Cheer, O cheer! We're going off where no one knows.

March! The Devil's none so black as 'e is painted!
Cheer! We'll 'ave some fun before we're put away.
'Alt, an' 'and 'er out -- a woman's gone and fainted!
Cheer! Get on -- Gawd 'elp the married men to-day!

Hoi! Come up, you 'ungry beggars, to yer sorrow.
('Ear them say they want their tea, an' want it quick!)
You won't have no mind for slingers, not to-morrow --
No; you'll put the 'tween-decks stove out, bein' sick!

'Alt! The married kit 'as all to go before us!
'Course it's blocked the bloomin' gangway up again!
Cheer, O cheer the 'Orse Guards watchin' tender o'er us,
Keepin' us since eight this mornin' in the rain!

Stuck in 'eavy marchin'-order, sopped and wringin' --
Sick, before our time to watch 'er 'eave an' fall,
'Ere's your 'appy 'ome at last, an' stop your singin'.
'Alt! Fall in along the troop-deck! Silence all!

Cheer! For we'll never live to see no bloomin' victory!
Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar! (One cheer more!)
The jackal an' the kite
'Ave an 'ealthy appetite,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!)
The eagle an' the crow
They are waitin' ever so,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!)
Yes, the Large Birds o' Prey
They will carry us away,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more!

The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where eath tooth-point goes.
The butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that toad.


Pagett, M.P., was a liar, and a fluent liar therewith --
He spoke of the heat of India as the "Asian Solar Myth";
Came on a four months' visit, to "study the East," in November,
And I got him to sign an agreement vowing to stay till September.

March came in with the koil. Pagett was cool and gay,
Called me a "bloated Brahmin," talked of my "princely pay."
March went out with the roses. "Where is your heat?" said he.
"Coming," said I to Pagett, "Skittles!" said Pagett, M.P.

April began with the punkah, coolies, and prickly-heat, --
Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.
He grew speckled and mumpy-hammered, I grieve to say,
Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.

May set in with a dust-storm, -- Pagett went down with the sun.
All the delights of the season tickled him one by one.
Imprimis -- ten day's "liver" -- due to his drinking beer;
Later, a dose of fever --slight, but he called it severe.

Dysent'ry touched him in June, after the Chota Bursat --
Lowered his portly person -- made him yearn to depart.
He didn't call me a "Brahmin," or "bloated," or "overpaid,"
But seemed to think it a wonder that any one stayed.

July was a trifle unhealthy, -- Pagett was ill with fear.
'Called it the "Cholera Morbus," hinted that life was dear.
He babbled of "Eastern Exile," and mentioned his home with tears;
But I haven't seen my children for close upon seven years.

We reached a hundred and twenty once in the Court at noon,
(I've mentioned Pagett was portly) Pagett, went off in a swoon.
That was an end to the business; Pagett, the perjured, fled
With a practical, working knowledge of "Solar Myths" in his head.

And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth died out on my lips
As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their "Eastern trips,"
And the sneers of the traveled idiots who duly misgovern the land,
And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my hand.

The King's Pilgrimage

Our King went forth on pilgrimage
His prayers and vows to pay
To them that saved our heritage
And cast their own away.

And there was little show of pride,
Or prows of belted steel,
For the clean-swept oceans every side
Lay free to every keel.

And the first land he found, it was shoal and banky ground -
Where the broader seas begin,
And a pale tide grieving at the broken harbour-mouth
Where they worked the death-ships in.

And there was neither gull on the wing,
Nor wave that could not tell
Of the bodies that were buckled in the life-buoy's ring
That slid from swell to swell.

All that they had they gave - they gave; and they shall not return,
For these are those that have no grave where any heart may mourn.

And the next land he found, it was low and hollow ground -
Where once the cities stood,
But the man-high thistle had been master of it all,
Or the bulrush by the flood.

And there was neither blade of grass,
Nor lone star in the sky
But shook to see some spirit pass
And took its agony.

And the next land be found, it was bare and hilly round -
Where once the bread-corn grew,
But the fields were cankered and the water was defiled,
And the trees were riven through.

And there was neither paved highway,
Nor secret path in the wood,
But had borne its weight of the broken clay
And darkened 'neath the blood.

Father and mother they put aside, and the nearer love also -
An hundred thousand men who died whose graves shall no man
know.

And the last land he found, it was fair and level ground
About a carven stone,
And a stark Sword brooding on the bosom of the Cross
Where high and low are one.

And there was grass and the living trees,
And the flowers of the spring,
And there lay gentlemen from out of all the seas
That ever called him King.

'Twixt Nieuport sands and the eastward lands where the Four Red Rivers spring,
Five hundred thousand gentlemen of those that served their King.

All that they had they gave - they gave -
In sure and single faith.
There can no knowledge reach the grave
To make them grudge their death
Save only if they understood
That, after all was done,
We they redeemed denied their blood
And mocked the gains it won.

The Song Of The Women

How shall she know the worship we would do her?
The walls are high, and she is very far.
How shall the woman's message reach unto her
Above the tumult of the packed bazaar?
Free wind of March, against the lattice blowing,
Bear thou our thanks, lest she depart unknowing.

Go forth across the fields we may not roam in,
Go forth beyond the trees that rim the city,
To whatsoe'er fair place she hath her home in,
Who dowered us with walth of love and pity.
Out of our shadow pass, and seek her singing --
"I have no gifts but Love alone for bringing."

Say that we be a feeble folk who greet her,
But old in grief, and very wise in tears;
Say that we, being desolate, entreat her
That she forget us not in after years;
For we have seen the light, and it were grievous
To dim that dawning if our lady leave us.

By life that ebbed with none to stanch the failing
By Love's sad harvest garnered in the spring,
When Love in ignorance wept unavailing
O'er young buds dead before their blossoming;
By all the grey owl watched, the pale moon viewed,
In past grim years, declare our gratitude!

By hands uplifted to the Gods that heard not,
By fits that found no favor in their sight,
By faces bent above the babe that stirred not,
By nameless horrors of the stifling night;
By ills foredone, by peace her toils discover,
Bid Earth be good beneath and Heaven above her!

If she have sent her servants in our pain
If she have fought with Death and dulled his sword;
If she have given back our sick again.
And to the breast the wakling lips restored,
Is it a little thing that she has wrought?
Then Life and Death and Motherhood be nought.

Go forth, O wind, our message on thy wings,
And they shall hear thee pass and bid thee speed,
In reed-roofed hut, or white-walled home of kings,
Who have been helpen by ther in their need.
All spring shall give thee fragrance, and the wheat
Shall be a tasselled floorcloth to thy feet.

Haste, for our hearts are with thee, take no rest!
Loud-voiced ambassador, from sea to sea
Proclaim the blessing, mainfold, confessed.
Of those in darkness by her hand set free.
Then very softly to her presence move,
And whisper: "Lady, lo, they know and love!"

The Spies' March

There are not leaders to lead us to honour, and yet without leaders we sally,
Each man reporting for duty alone, out of sight, out of reach, of his fellow.
There are no bugles to call the battalions, and yet without bugle we rally
From the ends of the earth to the ends of the earth, to follow the Standard of Yellow!
Fall in! O fall in! O fall in!

Not where the squadrons mass,
Not where the bayonets shine,
Not where the big shell shout as they pass
Over the firing-line;
Not where the wounded are,
Not where the nations die,
Killed in the cleanly game of war --
That is no place for a spy!
O Princes, Thrones and Powers, your work is less than ours --
Here is no place for a spy!

Trained to another use,
We march with colours furled,
Only concerned when Death breaks loose
On a front of half a world.
Only for General Death
The Yellow Flag may fly,
While we take post beneath --
That is the place for a spy.
Where Plague has spread his pinions
Over Nations and Dominions --
Then will be work for a spy!

The dropping shots begin,
The single funerals pass,
Our skirmishers run in,
The corpses dot the grass!
The howling towns stampede,
The tainted hamlets die.
Now it is war indeed --
Now there is room for a spy!
O Peoples, Kings and Lands,
We are waiting your commands --
What is the work for a spy?
(Drums) -- Fear is upon us, spy!

"Go where his pickets hide --
Unmask the shape they take,
Whether a gnat from the waterside,
Or a stinging fly in the brake,
Or filth of the crowded street,
Or a sick rat limping by,
Or a smear of spittle dried in the heat --
That is the work of a spy!
(Drums) -- Death is upon us, spy!

"What does he next prepare?
Whence will he move to attack? --
By water, earth or air? --
How can we head him back?
Shall we starve him out if we burn
Or bury his food-supply?
Slip through his lines and learn --
That is work for a spy!
(Drums) -- Get to your business, spy!

"Does he feint or strike in force?
Will he charge or ambuscade?
What is it checks his course?
Is he beaten or only delayed?
How long will the lull endure?
Is he retreating? Why?
Crawl to his camp and make sure --
That is the work for a spy!
(Drums) -- Fetch us our answer, spy!

"Ride with him girth to girth
Wherever the Pale Horse wheels
Wait on his councils, ear to earth,
And say what the dust reveals.
For the smoke of our torment rolls
Where the burning thousands lie;
What do we care for men's bodies or souls?
Bring us deliverance, spy!"

Where run your colts at pasture?
Where hide your mares to breed?
'Mid bergs about the Ice-cap
Or wove Sargasso weed;
By chartless reef and channel,
Or crafty coastwise bars,
But most the ocean-meadows
All purple to the stars!

Who holds the rein upon you?
The latest gale let free.
What meat is in your mangers?
The glut of all the sea.
'Twixt tide and tide's returning
Great store of newly dead, --
The bones of those that faced us,
And the hearts of those that fled.
Afar, off-shore and single,
Some stallion, rearing swift,
Neighs hungry for new fodder,
And calls us to the drift:
Then down the cloven ridges --
A million hooves unshod --
Break forth the mad White Horses
To seek their meat from God!

Girth-deep in hissing water
Our furious vanguard strains --
Through mist of mighty tramplings
Roll up the fore-blown manes --
A hundred leagues to leeward,
Ere yet the deep is stirred,
The groaning rollers carry
The coming of the herd!

Whose hand may grip your nostrils --
Your forelock who may hold?
E'en they that use the broads with us --
The riders bred and bold,
That spy upon our matings,
That rope us where we run --
They know the strong White Horses
From father unto son.

We breathe about their cradles,
We race their babes ashore,
We snuff against their thresholds,
We nuzzle at their door;
By day with stamping squadrons,
By night in whinnying droves,
Creep up the wise White Horses,
To call them from their loves.

And come they for your calling?
No wit of man may save.
They hear the loosed White Horses
Above their fathers' grave;
And, kin of those we crippled,
And, sons of those we slew,
Spur down the wild white riders
To school the herds anew.

What service have ye paid them,
Oh jealous steeds and strong?
Save we that throw their weaklings,
Is none dare work them wrong;
While thick around the homestead
Our snow-backed leaders graze --
A guard behind their plunder,
And a veil before their ways.

With march and countermarchings --
With weight of wheeling hosts --
Stray mob or bands embattled --
We ring the chosen coasts:
And, careless of our clamour
That bids the stranger fly,
At peace with our pickets
The wild white riders lie.

. . . .

Trust ye that curdled hollows --
Trust ye the neighing wind --
Trust ye the moaning groundswell --
Our herds are close behind!
To bray your foeman's armies --
To chill and snap his sword --
Trust ye the wild White Horses,
The Horses of the Lord!

Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule,
With seventy gunners be'ind me, an' never a beggar forgets
It's only the pick of the Army
that handles the dear little pets -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns,
o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an' surrender --
it's worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees,
but you don't get away from the guns!

They sends us along where the roads are, but mostly we goes where they ain't:
We'd climb up the side of a sign-board an' trust to the stick o' the paint:
We've chivied the Naga an' Looshai, we've give the Afreedeeman fits,
For we fancies ourselves at two thousand,
we guns that are built in two bits -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns . . .

If a man doesn't work, why, we drills 'im an' teaches 'im 'ow to behave;
If a beggar can't march, why, we kills 'im an' rattles 'im into 'is grave.
You've got to stand up to our business an' spring without snatchin' or fuss.
D'you say that you sweat with the field-guns?
By God, you must lather with us -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns . . .

The eagles is screamin' around us, the river's a-moanin' below,
We're clear o' the pine an' the oak-scrub,
we're out on the rocks an' the snow,
An' the wind is as thin as a whip-lash what carries away to the plains
The rattle an' stamp o' the lead-mules --
the jinglety-jink o' the chains -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns . . .

There's a wheel on the Horns o' the Mornin',
an' a wheel on the edge o' the Pit,
An' a drop into nothin' beneath you as straight as a beggar can spit:
With the sweat runnin' out o' your shirt-sleeves,
an' the sun off the snow in your face,
An' 'arf o' the men on the drag-ropes
to hold the old gun in 'er place -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns . . .

Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
I climbs in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule.
The monkey can say what our road was --
the wild-goat 'e knows where we passed.
Stand easy, you long-eared old darlin's!
Out drag-ropes! With shrapnel! Hold fast -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we take tea with a few guns,
o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an' surrender --
it's worse if you fights or you runs:
You may hide in the caves, they'll be only your graves,
but you can't get away from the guns!

Kitchener's School

Being a translation of the song that was made by a Mohammedan schoolmaster of Bengal Infantry (some time on service at Suakim) when he heard that Kitchener was taking money from the English to build a Madrissa for Hubshees -- or a college for the Sudanese.


Oh Hubshee, carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast!
This is the message of Kitchener who did not break you in jest.
It was permitted to him to fulfil the long-appointed years;
Reaching the end ordained of old over your dead Emirs.

He stamped only before your walls, and the Tomb ye knew was dust:
He gathered up under his armpits all the swords of your trust:
He set a guard on your granaries, securing the weak from the strong:
He said: -- "Go work the waterwheels that were abolished so long."

He said: -- "Go safely, being abased. I have accomplished my vow."
That was the mercy of Kitchener. Cometh his madness now!
He does not desire as ye desire, nor devise as ye devise:
He is preparing a second host -- an army to make you wise.

Not at the mouth of his clean-lipped guns shall ye learn his name again,
But letter by letter, from Kaf to Kaf, at the mouths of his chosen men.
He has gone back to his own city, not seeking presents or bribes,
But openly asking the English for money to buy you Hakims and scribes.

Knowing that ye are forfeit by battle and have no right to live,
He begs for money to bring you learning -- and all the English give.
It is their treasure -- it is their pleasure -- thus are their hearts inclined:
For Allah created the English mad -- the maddest of all mankind!

They do not consider the Meaning ofThings; they consult not creed nor clan.
Behold, they clap the slave on the back, and behold, he ariseth a man!
They terribly carpet the earth with dead, and before their cannon cool,
They walk unarmed by twos and threes to call the living to school.

How is this reason (which is their reason) to judge a scholar's worth,
By casting a ball at three straight sticks and defending the same with a fourth?
But this they do (which is doubtless a spell) and other matters more strange,
Until, by the operation of years, the hearts of their scholars change:

Till these make come and go great boats or engines upon the rail
(But always the English watch near by to prop them when they fail);
Till these make laws of their own choice and Judges of their
And all the mad English obey the Judges and say that that Law is good.

Certainly they were mad from of old; but I think one new thing,
That the magic whereby they work their magic -- wherefrom their fortunes spring --
May be that they show all peoples their magic and ask no price in return.
Wherefore, since ye are bond to that magic, O Hubshee, make haste and learn!

Certainly also is Kitchener mad. But one sure thing I know --
If he who broke you be minded to teach you, to his Madrissa go!
Go, and carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast,
For he who did not slay you in sport, he will not teach you in jest.

A Counting-Out Song

What is the song the children sing,
When doorway lilacs bloom in Spring,
And the Schools are loosed, and the games are played
That were deadly earnest when Earth was made?
Hear them chattering, shrill and hard,
After dinner-time, out in the yard,
As the sides are chosen and all submit
To the chance of the lot that shall make them "It."
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Catch a nigger by the toe!
(If he hollers let him go!)
Eenee, Meenee. Mainee, Mo!
You-are-It!"

Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, and Mo
Were the First Big Four of the Long Ago,
When the Pole of the Earth sloped thirty degrees,
And Central Europe began to freeze,
And they needed Ambassadors staunch and stark
To steady the Tribes in the gathering dark:
But the frost was fierce and flesh was frail,
So they launched a Magic that could not fail.
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Hear the wolves across the snow!
Some one has to kill 'em--so
Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo
Make--you--It!"

Slow ly the Glacial Epoch passed,
Central Europe thawed out at last;
And, under the slush of the melting snows
The first dim shapes of the Nations rose.
Rome, Britannia, Belgium, Gaul--
Flood and avalanche fathered them all;
And the First Big Four, as they watched the mess,
Pitied Man in his helplessness.
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Trouble starts When Nations grow,
Some one has to stop it--so
Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Make-you-It!"

Thus it happened, but none can tell
What was the Power behind the spell--
Fear, or Duty, or Pride, or Faith--
That sent men shuddering out to death--
To cold and watching, and, worse than these,
Work, more work, when they looked for ease--
To the days discomfort, the nights despair,
In the hope of a prize that they never could share,
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Man is born to Toil and Woe.
One will cure another--so
Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo
Make--you--It!"

Once and again, as the Ice went North
The grass crept up to the Firth of Forth.
Once and again, as the Ice came South
The glaciers ground over Lossiemouth.
But, grass or glacier, cold or hot,
The men went out who would rather not,
And fought with the Tiger, the Pig and the Ape,
To hammer the world into decent shape.
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
What's the use of doing so?
Ask the Gods, for we don't know;
But Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo
Make-us-It!"

Nothing is left of that terrible rune
But a tag of gibberish tacked to a tune
That ends the waiting and settles the claims
Of children arguing over their games;
For never yet has a boy been found
To shirk his turn when the turn came round;
Nor even a girl has been known to say
"If you laugh at me I shan't play."
For-- "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo,
(Don't you let the grown-ups know!)
You may hate it ever so,
But if you're chose you're bound to go,
When Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo
Make-you-It!"

To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic,
almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress,
are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us
like translations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote;
the dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose,
nor can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly in April
as the English thrush. -- THE ATHEN]AEUM.



Buy my English posies!
Kent and Surrey may --
Violets of the Undercliff
Wet with Channel spray;
Cowslips from a Devon combe --
Midland furze afire --
Buy my English posies
And I'll sell your heart's desire!

Buy my English posies!
You that scorn the May,
Won't you greet a friend from home
Half the world away?
Green against the draggled drift,
Faint and frail and first --
Buy my Northern blood-root
And I'll know where you were nursed:
Robin down the logging-road whistles, "Come to me!"
Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free;
All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain.
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Here's to match your need --
Buy a tuft of royal heath,
Buy a bunch of weed
White as sand of Muysenberg
Spun before the gale --
Buy my heath and lilies
And I'll tell you whence you hail!
Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie --
Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless sky --
Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
You that will not turn --
Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond o' fern
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne --
Buy my Christmas creeper
And I'll say where you were born!
West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin --
They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn --
Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South Main --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Here's your choice unsold!
Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom,
Buy the kowhai's gold
Flung for gift on Taupo's face,
Sign that spring is come --
Buy my clinging myrtle
And I'll give you back your home!
Broom behind the windy town; pollen o' the pine --
Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ~ratas~ twine --
Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

Buy my English posies!
Ye that have your own
Buy them for a brother's sake
Overseas, alone.
Weed ye trample underfoot
Floods his heart abrim --
Bird ye never heeded,
Oh, she calls his dead to him!
Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas;
Woe for us if we forget, we that hold by these!
Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land --
Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand.

The Young British Soldier

When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier ~OF~ the Queen!

Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --
Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --
An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --
Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An' it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
You ~must~ wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it's beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --
A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --
Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,
An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

The Native Born

1894


We've drunk to the Queen -- God bless her! --
We've drunk to our mothers' land;
We've drunk to our English brother,
(But he does not understand);
We've drunk to the wide creation,
And the Cross swings low for the mom,
Last toast, and of Obligation,
A health to the Native-born!

They change their skies above them,
But not their hearts that roam!
We learned from our wistful mothers
To call old England 'home';
We read of the English skylark,
Of the spring in the English lanes,
But we screamed with the painted lories
As we rode on the dusty plains!

They passed with their old-world legends --
Their tales of wrong and dearth --
Our fathers held by purchase,
But we by the right of birth;
Our heart's where they rocked our cradle,
Our love where we spent our toil,
And our faith and our hope and our honour
We pledge to our native soil!

I charge you charge your glasses --
I charge you drink with me
To the men of the Four New Nations,
And the Islands of the Sea --
To the last least lump of coral
That none may stand outside,
And our own good pride shall teach us
To praise our comrade's pride,

To the hush of the breathless morning
On the thin, tin, crackling roofs,
To the haze of the burned back-ranges
And the dust of the shoeless hoofs --
To the risk of a death by drowning,
To the risk of a death by drouth --
To the men ef a million acres,
To the Sons of the Golden South!

To the Sons of the Golden South (Stand up!),
And the life we live and know,
Let a felow sing o' the little things he cares about,
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about
With the weight o a single blow!

To the smoke of a hundred coasters,
To the sheep on a thousand hills,
To the sun that never blisters,
To the rain that never chills --
To the land of the waiting springtime,
To our five-meal, meat-fed men,
To the tall, deep-bosomed women,
And the children nine and ten!

And the children nine and ten (Stand up!),
And the life we live and know,
Let a fellow sing o' the little things he cares about,
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about
With the weight of a two-fold blow!

To the far-flung, fenceless prairie
Where the quick cloud-shadows trail,
To our neighbours' barn in the offing
And the line of the new-cut rail;
To the plough in her league-long furrow
With the grey Lake' gulls behind --
To the weight of a half-year's winter
And the warm wet western wind!

To the home of the floods and thunder,
To her pale dry healing blue --
To the lift of the great Cape combers,
And the smell of the baked Karroo.
To the growl of the sluicing stamp-head --
To the reef and the water-gold,
To the last and the largest Empire,
To the map that is half unrolled!

To our dear dark foster-mothers,
To the heathen songs they sung --
To the heathen speech we babbled
Ere we came to the white man's tongue.
To the cool of our deep verandah --
To the blaze of our jewelled main,
To the night, to the palms in the moonlight,
And the fire-fly in the cane!

To the hearth of Our People's People --
To her well-ploughed windy sea,
To the hush of our dread high-altar
Where The Abbey makes us We.
To the grist of the slow-ground ages,
To the gain that is yours and mine --
To the Bank of the Open Credit,
To the Power-house of the Line!

We've drunk to the Queen -- God bless her!
We've drunk to our mothers'land;
We've drunk to our English brother
(And we hope he'll understand).
We've drunk as much as we're able,
And the Cross swings low for the morn;
Last toast-and your foot on the table! --
A health to the Native-born!

A health to the Nativeborn (Stand up!),
We're six white men arow,
All bound to sing o' the Little things we care about,
All bound to fight for the Little things we care about
With the weight of a six-fold blow!
By the might of our Cable-tow (Take hands!),
From the Orkneys to the Horn
All round the world (and a Little loop to pull it by),
All round the world (and a Little strap to buckle it).
A health to the Native-born!

The Feet Of The Young Men

Now the Four-way Lodge is opened, now the Hunting Winds are loose --
Now the Smokes of Spring go up to clear the brain;
Now the Young Men's hearts are troubled for the whisper of the Trues,
Now the Red Gods make their medicine again!
Who hath seen the beaver busied? Who hath watched the black-tail mating?
Who hath lain alone to hear the wild-goose cry'
Who hath worked the chosen water where the ouananiche is waiting,
Or the sea-trout's jumping-crazy for the fly?

He must go -- go -- go away from here!
On the other side the world he's overdue.
'Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o'er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

So for one the wet sail arching through the rainbow-round the bow,
And for one the creak of snow-shoes on the crust;
And for one the lakeside lilies where the bull-moose waits the cow,
And for one the mule-train coughing in the dust.
Who hath smelt smelt-smoke at twilight? Who hath heard the birch-log burning?
Who is quick to read the noises of the night?
Let him follow with the others for the Young Men's feet are turning
Too the camps of proved desire and known delight!

Let him go -- go, etc.


I

Do you know the blackened timber -- do you know that racing stream
With the raw, right-angled log-jam at the end;
And the bar of sun-warmed shingle where a man may bask and dream
To the click of shod canoe-poles round the bend'
I is there that we are going with our rods and reels and traces,
To a silent, smoky Indian that we know --
To a couch of new-pulled hemlock, with the starlight on our faces,
For the Red Gods call us out and we must go!

They must go -- go, etc.


II

Do you know the shallow Baltic where the seas are steep and short,
Where the bluff, lee-boarded fishing-luggers ride?
Do you know the joy of threshing leagues to leeward of your port
On a coast you've lost the chart of overside?
It is there that I am going, with an extra hand to bale her --
Just one able 'long-shore loafer that I know.
He can take his chance of drowning, while I sail and sail and sail her,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go -- go, etc.


III

Do you know the pile-built village where the sago-dealers trade --
Do you know the reek of fish and wet bamboo?
Do you know the steaming stillness of the orchid-scented glade
When the blazoned, bird-winged butterflies flap through?
It is there that I am going with my camphor, net, and boxes,
To a gentle, yellow pirate that I know --
To my little wailing lemurs, to my palms and flying-foxes,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go -- go, etc.


IV

Do you know the world's white roof-tree -- do you know that windy rift
Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change?
Do you know the long day's patience, belly-down on frozen drift,
While the head of heads is feeding out of range?
It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie,
With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know.
I have sworn an oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poli,
And the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go -- go, etc.

How the Four-way Lodge is opened -- now the Smokes of Council rise --
Pleasant smokes, ere yet 'twixt trail and trail they choose --
Now the girths and ropes are tested: now they pack their last supplies:
Now our Young Men go to dance before the Trues!
Who shall meet them at those altars -- who shall light them to that shrine?
Velvet-footed, who shall guide them to their goal?
Unto each the voice and vision: unto each his spoor and sign --
Lonely mountain in the Northland, misty sweat-bath 'neath the Line --
And to each a man that knows his naked soul!

White or yellow, black or copper, he is waiting, as a lover,
Smoke of funnel, dust of hooves, or beat of train --
Where the high grass hides the horseman or the glaring flats discover --
Where the steamer hails the landing, or the surf-boat brings the rover --
Where the rails run out in sand-rift . . . Quick! ah, heave the camp-kit over,
For the Red Gods make their medicine again!

And we go -- go -- go away from here!
On the other side the world we're overdue!
'Send the road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes o'er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

The Ballad Of East And West

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride:
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
"Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?"
Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar:
"If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai -- at dawn he is into Bonair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.
But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen."
The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,
With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell
and the head of the gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat --
Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.
He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly,
Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai,
Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back,
And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.
He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.
"Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said. "Show now if ye can ride."
It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dustdevils go,
The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.
The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above,
But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.
There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.
They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn,
The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.
The dun he fell at a water-course -- in a woful heap fell he,
And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.
He has knocked the pistol out of his hand -- small room was there to strive,
"'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive:
There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,
But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,
The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:
If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,
The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly."
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "Do good to bird and beast,
But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.
If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away,
Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.
They will feed their horse on the standing crop,
their men on the garnered grain,
The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.
But if thou thinkest the price be fair, -- thy brethren wait to sup,
The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, -- howl, dog, and call them up!
And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,
Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!"
Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;
What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?"
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan:
Take up the mare for my father's gift -- by God, she has carried a man!"
The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast;
"We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain."
The Colonel's son a pistol drew and held it muzzle-end,
"Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he;
"will ye take the mate from a friend?"
"A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb.
Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!"
With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest --
He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest.
"Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides,
And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides.
Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,
Thy life is his -- thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.
So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,
And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line,
And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power --
Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur."

They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault,
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod,
On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.
The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun,
And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.
And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear --
There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.
"Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son.
"Put up the steel at your sides!
Last night ye had struck at a Border thief --
to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!"

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

The Ballad Of Boh Da Thone

This is the ballad of Boh Da Thone,
Erst a Pretender to Theebaw's throne,
Who harried the district of Alalone:
How he met with his fate and the V.P.P.*
At the hand of Harendra Mukerji,
Senior Gomashta, G.B.T.

* Value Payable Parcels Post: in which the Government collects the money
for the sender.

Boh Da Thone was a warrior bold:
His sword and his Snider were bossed with gold,

And the Peacock Banner his henchmen bore
Was stiff with bullion, but stiffer with gore.

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he sacrificed mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
"The patriot fights for his countryside!"

But little they cared for the Native Press,
The worn white soldiers in Khaki dress,

Who tramped through the jungle and camped in the byre,
Who died in the swamp and were tombed in the mire,

Who gave up their lives, at the Queen's Command,
For the Pride of their Race and the Peace of the Land.

Now, first of the foemen of Boh Da Thone
Was Captain O'Neil of the "Black Tyrone",

And his was a Company, seventy strong,
Who hustled that dissolute Chief along.

There were lads from Galway and Louth and Meath
Who went to their death with a joke in their teeth,

And worshipped with fluency, fervour, and zeal
The mud on the boot-heels of "Crook" O'Neil.

But ever a blight on their labours lay,
And ever their quarry would vanish away,

Till the sun-dried boys of the Black Tyrone
Took a brotherly interest in Boh Da Thone:

And, sooth, if pursuit in possession ends,
The Boh and his trackers were best of friends.

The word of a scout -- a march by night --
A rush through the mist -- a scattering fight --

A volley from cover -- a corpse in the clearing --
The glimpse of a loin-cloth and heavy jade earring --

The flare of a village -- the tally of slain --
And. . .the Boh was abroad "on the raid" again!

They cursed their luck, as the Irish will,
They gave him credit for cunning and skill,

They buried their dead, they bolted their beef,
And started anew on the track of the thief

Till, in place of the "Kalends of Greece", men said,
"When Crook and his darlings come back with the head."

They had hunted the Boh from the hills to the plain --
He doubled and broke for the hills again:

They had crippled his power for rapine and raid,
They had routed him out of his pet stockade,

And at last, they came, when the Day Star tired,
To a camp deserted -- a village fired.

A black cross blistered the Morning-gold,
And the body upon it was stark and cold.

The wind of the dawn went merrily past,
The high grass bowed her plumes to the blast.

And out of the grass, on a sudden, broke
A spirtle of fire, a whorl of smoke --

And Captain O'Neil of the Black Tyrone
Was blessed with a slug in the ulnar-bone --
The gift of his enemy Boh Da Thone.

(Now a slug that is hammered from telegraph-wire
Is a thorn in the flesh and a rankling fire.)

. . . . .

The shot-wound festered -- as shot-wounds may
In a steaming barrack at Mandalay.

The left arm throbbed, and the Captain swore,
"I'd like to be after the Boh once more!"

The fever held him -- the Captain said,
"I'd give a hundred to look at his head!"

The Hospital punkahs creaked and whirred,
But Babu Harendra (Gomashta) heard.

He thought of the cane-brake, green and dank,
That girdled his home by the Dacca tank.

He thought of his wife and his High School son,
He thought -- but abandoned the thought -- of a gun.

His sleep was broken by visions dread
Of a shining Boh with a silver head.

He kept his counsel and went his way,
And swindled the cartmen of half their pay.

. . . . .

And the months went on, as the worst must do,
And the Boh returned to the raid anew.

But the Captain had quitted the long-drawn strife,
And in far Simoorie had taken a wife.

And she was a damsel of delicate mould,
With hair like the sunshine and heart of gold,

And little she knew the arms that embraced
Had cloven a man from the brow to the waist:

And little she knew that the loving lips
Had ordered a quivering life's eclipse,

And the eye that lit at her lightest breath
Had glared unawed in the Gates of Death.

(For these be matters a man would hide,
As a general rule, from an innocent Bride.)

And little the Captain thought of the past,
And, of all men, Babu Harendra last.

. . . . .

But slow, in the sludge of the Kathun road,
The Government Bullock Train toted its load.

Speckless and spotless and shining with ~ghee~,
In the rearmost cart sat the Babu-jee.

And ever a phantom before him fled
Of a scowling Boh with a silver head.

Then the lead-cart stuck, though the coolies slaved,
And the cartmen flogged and the escort raved;

And out of the jungle, with yells and squeals,
Pranced Boh Da Thone, and his gang at his heels!

Then belching blunderbuss answered back
The Snider's snarl and the carbine's crack,

And the blithe revolver began to sing
To the blade that twanged on the locking-ring,

And the brown flesh blued where the bay'net kissed,
As the steel shot back with a wrench and a twist,

And the great white bullocks with onyx eyes
Watched the souls of the dead arise,

And over the smoke of the fusillade
The Peacock Banner staggered and swayed.

Oh, gayest of scrimmages man may see
Is a well-worked rush on the G.B.T.!

The Babu shook at the horrible sight,
And girded his ponderous loins for flight,

But Fate had ordained that the Boh should start
On a lone-hand raid of the rearmost cart,

And out of that cart, with a bellow of woe,
The Babu fell -- flat on the top of the Boh!

For years had Harendra served the State,
To the growth of his purse and the girth of his ~p]^et~.

There were twenty stone, as the tally-man knows,
On the broad of the chest of this best of Bohs.

And twenty stone from a height discharged
Are bad for a Boh with a spleen enlarged.

Oh, short was the struggle -- severe was the shock --
He dropped like a bullock -- he lay like a block;

And the Babu above him, convulsed with fear,
Heard the labouring life-breath hissed out in his ear.

And thus in a fashion undignified
The princely pest of the Chindwin died.

. . . . .

Turn now to Simoorie where, lapped in his ease,
The Captain is petting the Bride on his knees,

Where the ~whit~ of the bullet, the wounded man's scream
Are mixed as the mist of some devilish dream --

Forgotten, forgotten the sweat of the shambles
Where the hill-daisy blooms and the gray monkey gambols,

From the sword-belt set free and released from the steel,
The Peace of the Lord is with Captain O'Neil.

. . . . .

Up the hill to Simoorie -- most patient of drudges --
The bags on his shoulder, the mail-runner trudges.

"For Captain O'Neil, ~Sahib~. One hundred and ten
Rupees to collect on delivery."
Then

(Their breakfast was stopped while the screw-jack and hammer
Tore waxcloth, split teak-wood, and chipped out the dammer;)

Open-eyed, open-mouthed, on the napery's snow,
With a crash and a thud, rolled -- the Head of the Boh!

And gummed to the scalp was a letter which ran: --
"IN FIELDING FORCE SERVICE.
~Encampment~,
th Jan.

"Dear Sir, -- I have honour to send, ~as you said~,
For final approval (see under) Boh's Head;

"Was took by myself in most bloody affair.
By High Education brought pressure to bear.

"Now violate Liberty, time being bad,
To mail V.P.P. (rupees hundred) Please add

"Whatever Your Honour can pass. Price of Blood
Much cheap at one hundred, and children want food;

"So trusting Your Honour will somewhat retain
True love and affection for Govt. Bullock Train,

"And show awful kindness to satisfy me,
I am,
Graceful Master,
Your
H. MUKERJI."

. . . . .

As the rabbit is drawn to the rattlesnake's power,
As the smoker's eye fills at the opium hour,

As a horse reaches up to the manger above,
As the waiting ear yearns for the whisper of love,

From the arms of the Bride, iron-visaged and slow,
The Captain bent down to the Head of the Boh.

And e'en as he looked on the Thing where It lay
'Twixt the winking new spoons and the napkins' array,

The freed mind fled back to the long-ago days --
The hand-to-hand scuffle -- the smoke and the blaze --

The forced march at night and the quick rush at dawn --
The banjo at twilight, the burial ere morn --

The stench of the marshes -- the raw, piercing smell
When the overhand stabbing-cut silenced the yell --

The oaths of his Irish that surged when they stood
Where the black crosses hung o'er the Kuttamow flood.

As a derelict ship drifts away with the tide
The Captain went out on the Past from his Bride,

Back, back, through the springs to the chill of the year,
When he hunted the Boh from Maloon to Tsaleer.

As the shape of a corpse dimmers up through deep water,
In his eye lit the passionless passion of slaughter,

And men who had fought with O'Neil for the life
Had gazed on his face with less dread than his wife.

For she who had held him so long could not hold him --
Though a four-month Eternity should have controlled him --

But watched the twin Terror -- the head turned to head --
The scowling, scarred Black, and the flushed savage Red --

The spirit that changed from her knowing and flew to
Some grim hidden Past she had never a clue to.

But It knew as It grinned, for he touched it unfearing,
And muttered aloud, "So you kept that jade earring!"

Then nodded, and kindly, as friend nods to friend,
"Old man, you fought well, but you lost in the end."

. . . . .

The visions departed, and Shame followed Passion: --
"He took what I said in this horrible fashion,

"~I'll~ write to Harendra!" With language unsainted
The Captain came back to the Bride. . .who had fainted.

. . . . .

And this is a fiction? No. Go to Simoorie
And look at their baby, a twelve-month old Houri,

A pert little, Irish-eyed Kathleen Mavournin --
She's always about on the Mall of a mornin' --

And you'll see, if her right shoulder-strap is displaced,
This: ~Gules~ upon ~argent~, a Boh's Head, ~erased!~

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