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Poem by Arthur Conan Doyle


Songs of Action (1898). 9. A Ballad of the Ranks


Who carries the gun?
   	A lad from over the Tweed.
Then let him go, for well we know
   	He comes of a soldier breed.
So drink together to rock and heather,
   	Out where the red deer run,
And stand aside for Scotlands pride 
   	The man that carries the gun!
      		For the Colonel rides before,
         	The Majors on the flank,
      The Captains and the Adjutant
         Are in the foremost rank.
      But when its Action front!
         And fightings to be done,
      Come one, come all, you stand or fall
         By the man who holds the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from a Yorkshire dale.
Then let him go, for well we know
   The heart that never will fail.
Heres to the fire of Lancashire,
   And heres to her soldier son!
For the hard-bit north has sent him forth 
   The lad that carries the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from a Midland shire.
Then let him go, for well we know
   He comes of an English sire.
Heres a glass to a Midland lass,
   And each can choose the one,
But east and west we claim the best
   For the man that carries the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from the hills of Wales.
Then let him go, for well we know,
   That Taffy is hard as nails.
There are several lls in the place where he dwells,
   And of ws more than one,
With a Llan and a pen, but it breeds good men,
   And its they who carry the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from the windy west.
Then let him go, for well we know
   That he is one of the best.
Theres Bristol rough, and Gloucester tough,
   And Devon yields to none.
Or you may get in Somerset
   Your lad to carry the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from London town.
Then let him go, for well we know
   The stuff that never backs down.
He has learned to joke at the powder smoke,
   For he is the fog-smokes son,
And his heart is light and his pluck is right 
   The man who carries the gun.

Who carries the gun?
   A lad from the Emerald Isle.
Then let him go, for well we know,
   Weve tried him many a while.
Weve tried him east, weve tried him west,
   Weve tried him sea and land,
But the man to beat old Erins best
   Has never yet been planned.

Who carries the gun?
   Its you, and you, and you;
So let us go, and we wont say no
   If they give us a job to do.
Here we stand with a cross-linked hand,
   Comrades every one;
So one last cup, and drink it up
   To the man who carries the gun!
      For the Colonel rides before,
         The Majors on the flank,
      The Captains and the Adjutant
         Are in the foremost rank.
      And when its Action front!
         And theres fighting to be done,
      Come one, come all, you stand or fall
         By the man who holds the gun.



Arthur Conan Doyle


Arthur Conan Doyle's other poems:
  1. Songs of the Road (1911). 8. The Outcasts
  2. Songs of the Road (1911). 17. Man's Limitation
  3. The Guards Came Through (1919). 6. Ypres
  4. Songs of the Road (1911). 13. Compensation
  5. Songs of the Road (1911). 4. A Post-Impressionist


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