Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Tipperary Days


Oh, weren't they the fine boys! You never saw the beat of them,
Singing all together with their throats bronze-bare;
Fighting-fit and mirth-mad, music in the feet of them,
Swinging on to glory and the wrath out there.
Laughing by and chaffing by, frolic in the smiles of them,
On the road, the white road, all the afternoon;
Strangers in a strange land, miles and miles and miles of them,
Battle-bound and heart-high, and singing this tune:

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go;
It's a long way to Tipperary,
And the sweetest girl I know.
Good-bye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Lester Square:
It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

"Come, Yvonne and Juliette! Come, Mimi, and cheer for them!
Throw them flowers and kisses as they pass you by.
Aren't they the lovely lads! Haven't you a tear for them
Going out so gallantly to dare and die?
What is it they're singing so? Some high hymn of Motherland?
Some immortal chanson of their Faith and King?
'Marseillaise' or 'Brabanc,on', anthem of that other land,
Dears, let us remember it, that song they sing:

"C'est un chemin long 'to Tepararee',
C'est un chemin long, c'est vrai;
C'est un chemin long 'to Tepararee',
Et la belle fille qu'je connais.
Bonjour, Peekadeely!
Au revoir, Lestaire Squaire!
C'est un chemin long 'to Tepararee',
Mais mon coeur 'ees zaire'."

The gallant old "Contemptibles"! There isn't much remains of them,
So full of fun and fitness, and a-singing in their pride;
For some are cold as clabber and the corby picks the brains of them,
And some are back in Blighty, and a-wishing they had died.
And yet it seems but yesterday, that great, glad sight of them,
Swinging on to battle as the sky grew black and black;
But oh their glee and glory, and the great, grim fight of them! --
Just whistle Tipperary and it all comes back:

It's a long way to Tipperary
(Which means "'ome" anywhere);
It's a long way to Tipperary
(And the things wot make you care).
Good-bye, Piccadilly
('Ow I 'opes my folks is well);
It's a long, long way to Tipperary --
('R! Ain't War just 'ell?)

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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