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1892

GUNGA DIN

(From Barrack-Room Ballads)

by Rudyard Kipling

GUNGA DIN -

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 bhistiGunga Din.

He was "Din! Din! Din!

You limping lump o' brick-dustGunga Din!

Hi! slippery hitherao!

Waterget it! Panee lao! *

You squigy-nosed old idolGunga 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!" *(2)

Till our throats were bricky-dry

Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.

It was "Din! Din! Din!

You 'eathenwhere the mischief 'ave you been?

You put some juldee *(3) in it

Or I'll marrow *(4) you this minute

If you don't fill up my helmetGunga 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 *(5) 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 whiteclear whiteinside

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 sha'n'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 waterGunga 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' drinks to pore damned souls

An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!

YesDin! 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 amGunga Din! -

* Bring water swiftly.

*(2) Mr. Atkins' equivalent for "O brother."

*(3) Be quick.

*(4) Hit you.

*(5) Water skins. - -

THE END