Poem of the day

The Widow at Windsor
by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

’Ave you ’eard o’ the Widow at Windsor
⁠   With a hairy gold crown on ’er ’ead?
She ’as ships on the foam—she ’as millions at ’ome,
⁠   An’ she pays us poor beggars in red.
⁠      (Ow, poor beggars in red!)
There’s ’er nick on the cavalry ’orses,
⁠   There’s ’er mark on the medical stores—
An’ ’er troopers you’ll find with a fair wind be’ind
⁠   That takes us to various wars.
⁠      (Poor beggars!—barbarious wars!)
            Then ’ere’s to the Widow at Windsor,
⁠               An’ ’ere’s to the stores an’ the guns,
⁠            The men an’ the ’orses that makes up the forces
⁠               O’ Missis Victorier’s sons.
⁠            (Poor beggars! Victorier’s sons!)

Walk wide o’ the Widow at Windsor,
⁠   For ’alf o’ Creation she owns:
We ’ave bought ’er the same with the sword an’ the flame,
⁠   An’ we’ve salted it down with our bones.
⁠      (Poor beggars!—it’s blue with our bones!)
Hands off o’ the sons of the Widow,
⁠   Hands off o’ the goods in ’er shop,
For the Kings must come down an’ the Emperors frown
⁠   When the Widow at Windsor says “Stop!”
⁠      (Poor beggars!—we’re sent to say “Stop!”)
            Then ’ere’s to the Lodge o’ the Widow,
               ⁠From the Pole to the Tropics it runs—
⁠            To the Lodge that we tile with the rank an’ the file,
⁠               An’ open in form with the guns.
⁠            (Poor beggars!—it’s always the guns!)

We ’ave ’eard o’ the Widow at Windsor,
⁠   It’s safest to leave ’er alone:
For ’er sentries we stand by the sea an’ the land
⁠   Wherever the bugles are blown.
⁠      (Poor beggars!—an’ don’t we get blown!)
Take ’old o’ the Wings o’ the Mornin’,
⁠   An’ flop round the earth till you’re dead;
But you won’t get away from the tune that they play
⁠   To the bloomin’ old Rag over’ead.
⁠      (Poor beggars!—it’s ’ot over’ead!)
            Then ’ere’s to the sons o’ the Widow
⁠               Wherever, ’owever they roam.
⁠            ’Ere’s all they desire, an’ if they require
⁠               A speedy return to their ’ome.
⁠            (Poor beggars!—they’ll never see ’ome!)

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