Thursday, December 3, 2009
Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
GUNGA DIN By Rudyard Kipling 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 blackfaced crew The finest man I knew Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din. He was "Din! Din! Din! You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din! Hi! slippery ~hitherao~! Water, get it! ~Panee lao~! [Bring water swiftly.] You squidgy-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!" [Mr. Atkins's equivalent for "O brother."] 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 [Be quick.] Or I'll ~marrow~ you this minute [Hit you.] 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, [Water-skin.] '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 livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din! From Wikipedia - "Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was a British author and poet. Born in Bombay, in British India, he is best known for his works of fiction The Jungle Book (1894) (a collection of stories which includes Rikki-Tikki-Tavi), Kim, The Man Who Would Be King, Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), and If (1910). He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works speak to a versatile and luminous narrative (1888); and his poems, including gift." (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories..." Note: The two photos above of actor Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din (a very minor title role) came from an atrocity of a film showcasing Cary Grant (entertaining enough but renowned mostly for his handsome, pretty-boy face. His real name was not Cary Grant, but was Archibald Alexander Leach. Such bleeping, useless triviality befouling great poetry!).