Rudyard Kipling ( )

Barrack-Room Ballads. 54. Piet. Regular of the Line

I DO not love my Empires foes,	
  Nor call em angels; still,	
What is the sense of atin those	
  Oom you are paid to kill?	
So, barrin all that foreign lot
  Which only joined for spite,	
Myself, Id just as soon as not	
  Respect the man I fight.	
    Ah there, Piet!is trousies to is knees,	
    Is coat-tails lyin level in the bullet-sprinkled breeze;
    E does not lose is rifle an e does not lose is seat,	
    Ive known a lot o people ride a dam sight worse than Piet.	
Ive eard im cryin from the ground	
  Like Abels blood of old,	
An skirmished out to look, an found
  The beggar nearly cold.	
Ive waited on till e was dead	
  (Which couldnt elp im much),	
But many grateful things e s said	
  To me for doin such.
    Ah there, Piet! whose time as come to die,	
    Is carcase past rebellion, but is eyes inquirin why.	
    Though dressed in stolen uniform with badge o rank complete,	
    Ive known a lot o fellers go a dam sight worse than Piet.	
An when there was nt aught to do
  But camp and cattle-guards,	
Ive fought with im the ole day through	
  At fifteen undred yards;	
Long afternoons o lyin still,	
  An earin as you lay
The bullets swish from ill to ill	
  Like scythes among the ay.	
    Ah there, Piet!beind is stony kop.	
    With is Boer bread an biltong, 1 an is flask of awful Dop; 
    Is Mauser for amusement an is pony for retreat,
    Ive known a lot o fellers shoot a dam sight worse than Piet.	
Hes shoved is rifle neath my nose	
  Before Id time to think,	
An borrowed all my Sunday cloes	
  An sent me ome in pink;
An I ave crept (Lord, ow Ive crept!)	
  On ands an knees Ive gone,	
And spoored and floored and caught and kept	
  An sent him to Ceylon!	
    Ah there, Piet!youve sold me many a pup,
    When week on week alternate it was you an me ands up!	
    But though I never made you walk man-naked in the eat,	
    Ive known a lot of fellows stalk a dam sight worse than Piet.	
From Plewmans to Marabastad,	
  From Ookiep to De Aar,
Me an my trusty friend ave ad,	
  As you might say, a war;	
But seein what both parties done	
  Before e owned defeat,	
I aint more proud of avin won,
  Than I am pleased with Piet.	
    Ah there, Piet!picked up beind the drive!	
    The wonder wasnt ow e fought, but ow e kep alive,	
    With nothin in is belly, on is back, or to is feet	
    Ive known a lot o men behave a dam sight worse than Piet.
No more Ill ear is rifle crack	
  Along the blockouse fence	
The beggars on the peaceful tack,	
  Regardless of expense;	
For countin what e eats an draws,
  An gifts an loans as well,	
Es gettin alf the Earth, because	
  E didnt give us Ell!	
    Ah there, Piet! with your brand-new English plough,	
    Your gratis tents an cattle, an your most ungrateful frow,
    Youve made the British taxpayer rebuild your country-seat	
    Ive known some pet battalions charge a dam sight less than Piet.

Rudyard Kipling's other poems:
  1. ˸ The Last of the Light Brigade
  2. . -, 1898 . Verses on Games. To An Almanack of Twelve Sports by W. Nicholson, 1898
  3. The Master-Cook
  4. Fastness
  5. The Front Door

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