Fuzzy-Wuzzy Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Fuzzy-Wuzzy

Rating: 2.9


(Soudan Expeditionary Force)



We've fought with many men acrost the seas,
An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:
The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;
But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.
We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:
'E squatted in the scrub an' 'ocked our 'orses,
'E cut our sentries up at Sua~kim~,
An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.
So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed
We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.

We took our chanst among the Khyber 'ills,
The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,
The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,
An' a Zulu ~impi~ dished us up in style:
But all we ever got from such as they
Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;
We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say,
But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.
Then 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid;
Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.
We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;
But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

'E 'asn't got no papers of 'is own,
'E 'asn't got no medals nor rewards,
So we must certify the skill 'e's shown
In usin' of 'is long two-'anded swords:
When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the bush
With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel-spear,
An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
Will last an 'ealthy Tommy for a year.
So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' your friends which are no more,
If we 'adn't lost some messmates we would 'elp you to deplore;
But give an' take's the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,
For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

'E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,
An', before we know, 'e's 'ackin' at our 'ead;
'E's all 'ot sand an' ginger when alive,
An' 'e's generally shammin' when 'e's dead.
'E's a daisy, 'e's a ducky, 'e's a lamb!
'E's a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
'E's the on'y thing that doesn't give a damn
For a Regiment o' British Infantree!
So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
An' 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air --
You big black boundin' beggar -- for you broke a British square!

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Anthony Foster 04 January 2009

Brilliant I can feel the fighting and smell the sweat. What an insight into the mind of the nineteenth century soldier.

21 12 Reply
Michael Walker 27 January 2020

You are so right.

1 0 Reply
Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek 06 February 2016

So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan; You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man; An' 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air - You big black boundin' beggar - for you broke a British square! Yes Kipling was fair towards the brave Sudanese fighters of the Bejja Tribes in Eastern Sudan under the leadership of Othman Digna. They were and still are brave men and great fighters who won the war against the British empire and broke the strategic famous Square of the British Army in the 19th century in the Sudan. Kipling was a great poet as he was called as the Poet of the British Empire.

20 2 Reply
Michael Walker 13 August 2019

You are so right and you provide details about the Beija tribes who defeated the British in the Sudan. I was unaware of that history. Thanks for sharing.

2 0 Reply
Peter Virdee 15 March 2022

Really a beautiful poem, after a long time seen these types of poem.

0 0 Reply
Daniel New 23 September 2020

Educational on more than one level, and most complimentary to a those of a class he cannot help in any other way, except to praise him for his virtues. (This was a controversial poem, for just that reason, it its day.)

2 0 Reply
Michael Walker 28 July 2019

The deliberate misspelling of words gives the poem more realism, as far as the characters are concerned, ''E's the on'y thing' etc. There is a tinge of racism in calling someone 'Fuzzy-Wuzzy' as far as I am concerned.

1 3 Reply
Marie Stuart 20 November 2017

A sudanese friend sent this to me today..This is an example of British Lit at its best and this is not meant as a compliment... it is in the same league with a prime minister of that country who once spoke of Gandhijii as that naked fakir or something similar ..... we fortunately have traversed the void of mockery and for the most part progressed significantly from the time of the colonial mentality to which Africans, Indians and others were subjected to by the west.

5 21 Reply
John Little 18 March 2018

Your ignorance is shining through I'm afraid.

1 2 Reply
Amy Johnson 06 July 2017

a great slice of history

5 2 Reply
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