Poem of the day

Gunga Din
by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1935)

You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them black-faced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
⁠         He was “Din! Din! Din!
⁠   “You limping lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
⁠         “Hi! slippery hitherao!
⁠         “Water, get it! Panee lao,
⁠   You squigy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

The uniform ’e wore
Was nothin’ much before,
An’ rather less than ’arf o’ that be’ind,
For a piece o’ twisty rag
An’ a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment e’ could find.
When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
In a sidin’ through the day,
Where the ’eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
We shouted “Harry By!”
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped ’im ’cause ’e couldn’t serve us all.
         ⁠It was “Din! Din! Din!
⁠“You ’eathen, where the mischief ’ave you been?
⁠         “You put some juldee in it
⁠         “Or I’ll marrow you this minute
⁠“If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”

’E would dot an’ carry one
⁠Till the longest day was done
⁠An’ ’e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
⁠If we charged or broke or cut,
⁠You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
⁠’E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.
⁠With ’is mussick on ’is back,
⁠’E would skip with our attack,
⁠An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire,”
⁠An’ for all ’is dirty ’ide
⁠’E was white, clear white, inside
⁠When ’e went to tend the wounded under fire!
⁠         It was “Din! Din! Din!”
⁠   With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.
⁠         When the cartridges ran out,
⁠         You could hear the front-files shout,
⁠   “Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”

I shan’t forgit the night
⁠When I dropped be’ind the fight
⁠With a bullet where my belt plate should ’a’ been.
⁠I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
⁠An’ the man that spied me first
⁠Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.
⁠’E lifted up my ’ead,
⁠An’ he plugged me where I bled,
⁠An’ ’e guv me ’arf-a-pint o’ water-green:
⁠It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
⁠But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
⁠I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
⁠         It was “Din! Din! Din!”
⁠   “’Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ’is spleen;
⁠         “’E’s chawin’ up the ground,
⁠         “An’ ’e’s kickin’ all around:
⁠   “For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!”

⁠’E carried me away
⁠To where a dooli lay,
⁠An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.
⁠’E put me safe inside,
⁠An’ just before ’e died:
⁠”I ’ope you liked your drink,” sez Gunga Din.
⁠So I’ll meet ’im later on
⁠At the place where ’e is gone—
⁠Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
⁠’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals,
⁠Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
⁠An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
⁠         Yes, Din! Din! Din!
⁠   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
⁠         Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
⁠         By the living Gawd that made you,
⁠   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

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