Garlands for Queens, may be -
Laurels - for rare degree
Of soul or sword -
Ah - but remembering me -
Ah - but remembering thee -
Nature in chivalry -
Nature in charity -
Nature in equity -
This Rose ordained!
Poesie in lingua straniera
Ahasuerus jenkins of the "Operatic Own"
Was dowered with a tenor voice of super-Santley tone.
His views on equitation were, perhaps, a trifle queer.
He had no seat worth mentioning, but oh! He had an ear.
He clubbed his wretched company a dozen times a day;
He used to quit his charger in a parabolic way;
His method of saluting was the joy of all beholders,
But Ahasuerus Jenkins had a head upon his shoulders.
He took two months at Simla when the year was at the spring,
And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.
He warbled like a bul-bul but particularly at
Cornelia Agrippina, who was musical and fat.
She controlled a humble husband, who, in turn, controlled a Dept.
Where Cornelia Agrippina's human singing-birds were kept
From April to October on a plump retaining-fee,
Supplied, of course, per mensem, by the Indian Treasury.
Cornelia used to sing with him, and Jenkins used to play;
He praised unblushingly her notes, for he was false as they;
So when the winds of April turned the budding roses brown,
Cornelia told her husband: -- "Tom, you mustn't send him down. "
They haled him from his regiment, which didn't much regret him;
They found for him an office-stool, and on that stool they set him
To play with maps and catalogues three idle hours a day,
And draw his plump retaining-fee -- which means his double pay.
Now, ever after dinner, when the coffee-cups are brought,
Ahasuerus waileth o'er the grand pianoforte;
And, thanks to fair Cornelia, his fame hath waxen great,
And Ahasuerus Jenkins is a Power in the State!
A great and glorious thing it is
To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
Ere reckoned fit to face the foe --
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."
Three hundred pounds per annum spent
On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"
And after -- ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our 'ologies.
A scrimmage in a Border Station --
A canter down some dark defile --
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail --
The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
No proposition Euclid wrote,
No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
Or ward the tulwar's downward blow
Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can --
The odds are on the cheaper man.
One sword-knot stolen from the camp
Will pay for all the school expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blessed with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troopships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear"
Are cheap, alas! As we are dear.
If recollecting were forgetting,
Then I remember not,
And if forgetting, recollecting,
How near I had forgot,
And if to miss, were merry,
And to mourn, were gay,
How very blithe the fingers
That gathered this, today!
There's something quieter than sleep
Within this inner room!
It wears a sprig upon it's breast -
And will not tell it's name.
Some touch it, and some kiss it -
Some chafe it's idle hand -
It has a simple gravity
I do not understand!
I would not weep if I were they -
How rude in one to sob!
Might scare the quiet fairy
Back to her native wood!
While simple-hearted neighbors
Chat of the "Early dead" -
We - prone to periphrasis,
Remark that Birds have fled!