Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Snarleyow Poem by Rudyard Kipling


This 'appened in a battle to a batt'ry of the corps
Which is first among the women an' amazin' first in war;
An' what the bloomin' battle was I don't remember now,
But Two's off-lead 'e answered to the name o' ~Snarleyow~.
Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
Down in the Cavalry, Colonel 'e swears;
But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

They was movin' into action, they was needed very sore,
To learn a little schoolin' to a native army corps,
They 'ad nipped against an uphill, they was tuckin' down the brow,
When a tricky, trundlin' roundshot give the knock to ~Snarleyow~.

They cut 'im loose an' left 'im -- 'e was almost tore in two --
But he tried to follow after as a well-trained 'orse should do;
'E went an' fouled the limber, an' the Driver's Brother squeals:
'Pull up, pull up for ~Snarleyow~ -- 'is head's between 'is 'eels!'

The Driver 'umped 'is shoulder, for the wheels was goin' round,
An' there ain't no 'Stop, conductor!' when a batt'ry's changin' ground;
Sez 'e: 'I broke the beggar in, an' very sad I feels,
But I couldn't pull up, not for ~you~ -- your 'ead between your 'eels!'

'E 'adn't 'ardly spoke the word, before a droppin' shell
A little right the batt'ry an' between the sections fell;
An' when the smoke 'ad cleared away, before the limber wheels,
There lay the Driver's Brother with 'is 'ead between 'is 'eels.

Then sez the Driver's Brother, an' 'is words was very plain,
'For Gawd's own sake get over me, an' put me out o' pain.'
They saw 'is wounds was mortial, an' they judged that it was best,
So they took an' drove the limber straight across 'is back an' chest.

The Driver 'e give nothin' 'cept a little coughin' grunt,
But 'e swung 'is 'orses 'andsome when it came to 'Action Front!'
An' if one wheel was juicy, you may lay your Monday head
'Twas juicier for the niggers when the case begun to spread.

The moril of this story, it is plainly to be seen:
You 'avn't got no families when servin' of the Queen --
You 'avn't got no brothers, fathers, sisters, wives, or sons --
If you want to win your battles take an' work your bloomin' guns!
Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
Down in the Cavalry, Colonel 'e swears;
But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Friday, December 30, 2011

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