Best POEM involving guns...


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SMLE
October 24, 2005, 06:43 AM
The song thread made me think of a few poems involving guns. I'll start us off with one of my favorites by Australian Poet Henry Lawson.

Every Man Should Have A Rifle

Henry Lawson
1907

So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
Seeing visions "over yonder" of the war I know must come.
In the corner – not a vision – but a sign for coming days
Stand a box of ammunition and a rifle in green baize.
And in this, the living present, let the word go through the land,
Every tradesman, clerk and peasant should have these two things at hand.

No – no ranting song is needed, and no meeting, flag or fuss –
In the future, still unheeded, shall the spirit come to us!
Without feathers, drum or riot on the day that is to be,
We shall march down, very quiet, to our stations by the sea.
While the bitter parties stifle every voice that warns of war,
Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store!


And another by British poet Henry Reed;

I. NAMING OF PARTS

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.

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Flatfender
October 24, 2005, 10:53 AM
This is my rifle
This is my gun
This is for fighting
This is for fun

:p

TexasRifleman
October 24, 2005, 10:55 AM
The Marines have the best. And anyone that say's it isn't poetry has never heard a Marine say it.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I WILL...

My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. WE WILL HIT...

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. WE WILL...

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. WE ARE THE SAVIORS OF MY LIFE.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

raghorn
October 24, 2005, 11:00 AM
Grandpa's Lesson

Pappy took to drinkin' back when I was barely three.
Ma got pretty quiet. She was frettin', you could see.

So I was sent to Grandpa and he raised me up real good.
He taught me what I oughta and he taught me what I should.

I learned a heap 'o lessons from the yarns he liked to tell.
There's one I won't forget because I learned it 'speshly well.

"There jist ain't many folk who live a peaceful, carefree life.
Along with all the good times there'll be lotsa grief and strife.

But ain't many troubles that a man cain't fix
With seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six."

Grandpa courted Grandma near the town of old Cheyenne.
Her daddy was cantankerous - a very greedy man.

He wouldn't give permission for a fancy wedding day
'Til grandpa paid a dowry--biggest ever people say.

Her daddy softened up when Grandpa said that he could fix
Him up with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six.

Grandpa herded cattle down around Jalisco way.
Ended up behind some iron bars one dusty day.

Seems the local jefe craved my Grandpa's pinto mare.
Grandpa wouldn't sell her so he lit on out of there.

Didn't take much doin' 'cept a couple special tricks
plus seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.

Then there was that Faro game near San Francisco say.
Grandpa's cards was smokin' hot and he took all one day.

He woke up nearly naked in a ditch next early morn'.
With nothin' but his flannel shirt, and it was ripped and torn.

Those others were professionals and they don't play for kicks.
He lost seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.

He begged some woolen trousers off the local storekeep there
Who loaned him both a pony and a rifle on a dare.

He caught those thievin' cardsharks at another Faro game.
He got back all his property and also his good name.

He left one bleedin' badly and another mostly lame.
My grandpa's trusty rifle shoots just where you choose to aim.

Grandpa's slowin' down a bit and just the other night
He handed me his rifle and a box sealed up real tight.

He fixed me with them pale grey eyes and this is what he said,
"You're awful young but steady too and I will soon be dead.

I'll bet this here old rifle and this honest money too
Will come in mighty handy just as readily for you.

There jist ain't many folk who lead a carefree, peaceful life.
Along with times of happiness, there's always woe and strife.

But ... aint many troubles that a man cain't fix
with seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six."

Lindy Cooper Wisdom
December, 1995

pax
October 24, 2005, 11:09 AM
The Ballad of East and West
Rudyard Kipling

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride.
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
"Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?"
Then up and spoke Mohammed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar:
"If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai -- at dawn he is into Bonair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.
But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen."
The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,
With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell
and the head of the gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat --
Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.
He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly,
Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai,
Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back,
And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.
He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.
"Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said. "Show now if ye can ride!"
It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dustdevils go,
The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.
The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above,
But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.
There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.
They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn,
The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.
The dun he fell at a water-course -- in a woeful heap fell he,
And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.
He has knocked the pistol out of his hand -- small room was there to strive,
"'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive:
There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,
But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,
The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:
If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,
The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly."
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "Do good to bird and beast,
But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.
If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away,
Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.
They will feed their horse on the standing crop,
their men on the garnered grain,
The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.
But if thou thinkest the price be fair, -- thy brethren wait to sup,
The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, -- howl, dog, and call them up!
And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,
Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!"
Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;
What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?"
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan:
Take up the mare for my father's gift -- by God, she has carried a man!"
The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast;
"We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My 'broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain."
The Colonel's son a pistol drew, and held it muzzle-end,
"Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he;
"will ye take the mate from a friend?"
"A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb.
Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!"
With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest --
He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest.
"Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides,
And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides.
Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,
Thy life is his -- thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.
So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,
And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line,
And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power --
Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur!"

They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault,
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod,
On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.
The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun,
And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.
And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear --
There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.
"Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son.
"Put up the steel at your sides!
Last night ye had struck at a Border thief --
to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!"

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

***

The Young British Soldier
Rudyard Kipling

When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier OF the Queen!

Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --
Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --
An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --
Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An' it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it's beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --
A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --
Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,
An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Lots more at http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html

pax

Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade."
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -- Rudyard Kipling

CW Spook
October 24, 2005, 11:12 AM
...A Snyder squibbed in the jungle,
somebody laughed, and fled.
And the men of the 1st Shikaris,
picked up their sub-altern, dead;
a big blue mark on his forehead,
and the back blown out of his head....

From "The Grave of the Hundred Head", Rudyard Kipling

Stickjockey
October 25, 2005, 12:53 AM
The Tale of Whiskey Jack

Well son, I see you’re growin’ up, it’s just as I had feared;
You wear a shoulder holster, you’re developin’ a beard.
Well son before you sling a gun, or let your whiskers grow,
Come listen to the tragic tale of Whiskey Jack Munroe.

Now Whiskey Jack had always lacked a savin’ sense of fear;
But since he was a worldly wise and prudent mountaineer,
He carried to insure himself against all chance of harm,
His six-gun, in a shoulder holster, ‘neath his good left arm.

That six-gun was a friend on whom Munroe could well rely;
He drew it with a sleight-of-hand far swifter than the eye.
But even with an ace like this, on which he could depend,
Whiskey Jack had a weakness which undid him in the end.

That weakness was the wondrous beard that clothed his rugged jaw;
It was his pride, his life, his joy, a gem without a flaw.
It billowed to a point between his waistline and his knee;
A flowing facial ornament most marvelous to see.

Now Whiskey Jack had an enemy, named Dusty Dan McGraw;
A justly famous artist at the double cross-arm draw.
A square, straight-shootin’ gentleman was dauntless Dusty Dan,
He always gave fair warnin’; and he always got his man.

One day the Bighorn and the Rocky Mountain Quail,
Saw Dan a makin’ tracks along the mountain trail.
His eye fixed on the lofty ledge, where perched a miner’s shack;
For Dan had gone a gunnin’ for the pelt of Whiskey Jack.

But Jack observed him comin’ and he heeded the alarm;
And he strapped his trusty six-gun beneath his good left arm.
And ready for the battle sallied forth to meet the foe;
Oh! Never was a braver man than Whiskey Jack Munroe.

They met upon the trail, says Dan without a show of haste;
“Your whiskers is obnoxious to my fantastic taste.”
Says Whiskey Jack, “Can that be so? We’ll see what we shall see.
I’m bettin’ ten to one, you’ll get a closer shave than me.”

So there they stood, and matched the light of battle in their eyes;
Till Dusty made a dive for the holsters at his thighs.
And Jack reached for his armpit with a motion swift as sin;
But his drawin’ hand got tangled in the whiskers on his chin.

A moment’s hesitation, but a fatal moment, too;
For Dusty seized the chance and set his six-guns smokin’ blue.
And Whiskey Jack fell sprawlin’ with a slug between his eyes;
Them double-cussed whiskers was the cause of his demise.

So sonny take your Pa’s advice, you’ll find that it’ll pay;
Keep your razor sharp, and use it every other day.
But if you choose to cultivate a densely bearded lip;
Heed fair warnin’ cowboy: wear your holster on your hip.

Jim Watson
October 25, 2005, 07:55 AM
Lines to My Lady .45

For wide open spaces the rifle's all right,
Where there's time, space and distance, and plenty of light,
But for work on the instant, when shooting is tight,
You can't get the slant with a rifle.

So I'll say that at times it is all very well,
But for deviltry, death or the raising of hell,
The Colt .45 is unusually swell
And will go where you can't with a rifle.

You can spatter a dollar at seventy feet
With a stunning precision that's pleasing and neat;
So I'll still make the claim that the Colt can't be beat
And will do what you can't with a rifle.

So when something is crashing the alders ahead,
And it's death to the brute, or you in its stead,
Let the Colt automat, the fist-filling gat, the chunky blue cat,
Chuck its competent lead!

Bwana John
October 25, 2005, 10:45 AM
The guns are cannons, and and on the wrong side to boot, but it has always been one of my favorite.
Nothing like charging cannon on horseback with bamboo lances.:what:

The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!' he said:
Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ? Not tho' the soldier knew Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,Their's not to reason why,Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,Cannon to left of them,Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,Boldly they rode and well,Into the jaws of Death,Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,Flash'd as they turn'd in
air Sabring the gunners there,Charging an army, while All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,Cannon to left of them, cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,While horse and hero fell,They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade ? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred

EddieCoyle
October 25, 2005, 11:06 AM
There once was a man from Nantucket...

Oh wait! Sorry, wrong forum.

P95Carry
October 25, 2005, 11:13 AM
Some great posts - one I have somewhere eludes capture right now but hope to dig it out.

Morgan
October 25, 2005, 11:27 PM
The Kiss

To these I turn, in these I trust--
Brother Lead and Sister Steel.
To his blind power I make appeal,
I guard her beauty clean from rust.

He spins and burns and loves the air,
And splits a skull to win my praise;
But up the nobly marching days
She glitters naked, cold and fair.

Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this:
That in good fury he may feel
The body where he sets his heel
Quail from your downward darting kiss.



by Siegfried Sassoon. April, 1916

Dannyboy
October 25, 2005, 11:41 PM
My favorite from Kipling:

Ubique
Royal Artillery

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may--
"You bike,""you bykwee," "ubbikwe"--alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest;
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.
Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill--
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do, stand still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.
Ubique means Blue Fuse, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail.
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold!

Ubique means "Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way" -
The soothin', jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means "They've caught De Wet, an' now we shan't be long."
Ubique means "I much regret, the beggar's goin' strong!"

Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors. drift -- ford
Ubique means "Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein."
Ubique means "Off-load your guns" - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means "More mounted men. Return all guns to store."
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps.

Ubique means that warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes;
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: "The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!"
Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -
By what I've 'eard the others tell an' I in spots 'ave seen,
There's nothin' this side 'Eaven or 'Ell Ubique doesn't mean!

Hawken50
October 26, 2005, 12:34 AM
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred Lord Tennyson

you beat me to it. my alltime favorite.

SMLE
October 26, 2005, 01:04 AM
Screw-Guns
Rudyard Kipling

SMOKIN’ my pipe on the mountings, sniffin’ the mornin’ cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o’ my old brown mule,
With seventy gunners be’ind me, an’ never a beggar forgets
It’s only the pick of the Army that handles the dear little pets—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don’t get away from the guns!

They sends us along where the roads are, but mostly we goes where they ain’t:
We’d climb up the side of a sign-board an’ trust to the stick o’ the paint:
We’ve chivied the Naga an’ Looshai, we’ve give the Afreedeeman fits,
For we fancies ourselves at two thousand, we guns that are built in two bits—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don’t get away from the guns!

If a man doesn’t work, why, we drills ’im an’ teaches ’im ’ow to behave;
If a beggar can’t march, why, we kills ’im an’ rattles ’im into ’is grave.
You’ve got to stand up to our business an’ spring without snatchin’ or fuss.
D’you say that you sweat with the field-guns? By God, you must lather with us—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don’t get away from the guns!

The eagles is screamin’ around us, the river’s a-moanin’ below,
We’re clear o’ the pine an’ the oak-scrub, we’re out on the rocks an’ the snow,
An’ the wind is as thin as a whip-lash what carries away to the plains
The rattle an’ stamp o’ the lead-mules the jinglety-jink o’ the chains—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don’t get away from the guns!

There’s a wheel on the Horns o’ the Mornin’, an’ a wheel on the edge o’ the Pit,
An’ a drop into nothin’ beneath you as straight as a beggar can spit:
With the sweat runnin’ out o’ your shirt-sleeves, an’ the sun off the snow in your face,
An’ ’arf o’ the men on the drag-ropes to hold the old gun in ’er place—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don’t get away from the guns!

Smokin’ my pipe on the mountings, sniffin’ the mornin’ cool,
I climbs in my old brown gaiters along o’ my old brown mule.
The monkey can say what our road was the wild-goat ’e knows where we passed.
Stand easy, you long-eared old darlin’s! Out drag-ropes! With shrapnel! Hold fast—’Tss! ’Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we take tea with a few guns, o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender it’s worse if you fights or you runs:

The Jacket
(Royal Horse Artillery)
Rudyard Kipling

THROUGH the Plagues of Egyp’ we was chasin’ Arabi,
Gettin’ down an’ shovin’ in the sun;
An’ you might ’ave called us dirty, an’ you might ha’ called us dry,
An’ you might ’ave ’eard us talkin’ at the gun.
But the Captain ’ad ’is jacket, an’ the jacket it was new—
(’Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the wettin’ of the jacket is the proper thing to do,
Nor we didn’t keep ’im waitin’ very long.

One day they gave us orders for to shell a sand redoubt,
Loadin’ down the axle-arms with case;
But the Captain knew ’is dooty, an’ he took the crackers out
An’ he put some proper liquor in its place.
An’ the Captain saw the shrapnel, which is six-an’-thirty clear.
(’Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
“Will you draw the weight,” sez ’e, “or will you draw the beer?”
An’ we didn’t keep ’im waitin’ very long.

For the Captain, etc.

Then we trotted gentle, not to break the bloomin’ glass,
Though the Arabites ’ad all their ranges marked;
But we dursn’t ’ardly gallop, for the most was bottled Bass,
An’ we’d dreamed of it since we was disembarked:
So we fired economic with the shells we ’ad in ’and,
(’Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
But the beggars under cover ’ad the impidence to stand,
An’ we couldn’t keep ’em waitin’ very long.

And the Captain, etc.

So we finished ’arf the liquor (an’ the Captain took champagne),
An’ the Arabites was shootin’ all the while;
An’ we left our wounded ’appy with the empties on the plain,
An’ we used the bloomin’ guns for pro-jec-tile!
We limbered up an’ galloped—there were nothin’ else to do—
(’Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Battery came a-boundin’ like a boundin’ kangaroo,
But they didn’t watch us comin’ very long.

As the Captain, etc.

We was goin’ most extended—we was drivin’ very fine,
An’ the Arabites were loosin’ ’igh an’ wide,
Till the Captain took the glassy with a rattlin’ right incline,
An’ we dropped upon their ’eads the other side.
Then we give ’em quarter—such as ’adn’t up and cut,
(’Orse Gunners, listen to my song!)
An’ the Captain stood a limberful of fizzy somethin’ Brutt,
But we didn’t leave it fizzing very long.

For the Captain, etc.

We might ha’ been court-martialled, but it all come out all right
When they signalled us to join the main command.
There was every round expended, there was every gunner tight,
An’ the Captain waved a corkscrew in ’is ’and.

But the Captain ’ad ’is jacket, etc.

“Snarleyow”
Rudyard Kipling

THIS ’appened in a battle to a batt’ry of the corps
Which is first among the women an’ amazin’ first in war;
An’ what the bloomin’ battle was I don’t remember now,
But Two’s off-lead ’e answered to the name o’ Snarleyow.
Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
Down in the Cavalry, Colonel ’e swears;
But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

They was movin’ into action, they was needed very sore,
To learn a little schoolin’ to a native army corps,
They ’ad nipped against an uphill, they was tuckin’ down the brow,
When a tricky, trundlin’ roundshot give the knock to Snarleyow.

They cut ’im loose an’ left ’im—’e was almost tore in two—
But he tried to follow after as a well-trained ’orse should do;
’E went an’ fouled the limber, an’ the Driver’s Brother squeals:
“Pull up, pull up for Snarleyow—’is head’s between ’is ’eels!”

The Driver ’umped ’is shoulder, for the wheels was goin’ round,
An’ there ain’t no “Stop, conductor!” when a batt’ry’s changin’ ground;
Sez ’e: “I broke the beggar in, an’ very sad I feels,
But I couldn’t pull up, not for you—your ’ead between your ’eels!”

’E ’adn’t ’ardly spoke the word, before a droppin’ shell
A little right the batt’ry an’ between the sections fell;
An’ when the smoke ’ad cleared away, before the limber wheels,
There lay the Driver’s Brother with ’is ’ead between ’is ’eels.

Then sez the Driver’s Brother, an’ ’is words was very plain,
“For Gawd’s own sake get over me, an’ put me out o’ pain.”
They saw ’is wounds was mortial, an’ they judged that it was best,
So they took an’ drove the limber straight across ’is back an’ chest.

The Driver ’e give nothin’ ’cept a little coughin’ grunt,
But ’e swung ’is ’orses ’andsome when it came to “Action Front!”
An’ if one wheel was juicy, you may lay your Monday head
’Twas juicier for the ******s when the case begun to spread.

The moril of this story, it is plainly to be seen:
You ’avn’t got no families when servin’ of the Queen—
You ’avn’t got no brothers, fathers, sisters, wives, or sons—
If you want to win your battles take an’ work your bloomin’ guns!
Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
Down in the Cavalry, Colonel ’e swears;
But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

SMLE
October 26, 2005, 01:06 AM
The ’Eathen
Rudyard Kipling

THE ’EATHEN in ’is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
’E don’t obey no orders unless they is ’is own;
’E keeps ’is side-arms awful: ’e leaves ’em all about,
An’ then comes up the regiment an’ pokes the ’eathen out.

All along o’ dirtiness, all along o’ mess,
All along o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less,
All along of abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho,
Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!

The young recruit is ’aughty—’e draf’s from Gawd knows where;
They bid ’im show ’is stockin’s an’ lay ’is mattress square;
’E calls it bloomin’ nonsense—’e doesn’t know no more—
An’ then up comes ’is Company an’ kicks ’im round the floor!

The young recruit is ’ammered—’e takes it very ’ard;
’E ’angs ’is ’ead an’ mutters—’e sulks about the yard;
’E talks o’ “cruel tyrants” ’e’ll swing for by-an’-by,
An’ the others ’ears an’ mocks ’im, an’ the boy goes orf to cry.

The young recruit is silly—’e thinks o’ suicide;
’E’s lost ’is gutter-devil; ’e ’asn’t got ’is pride;
But day by day they kicks ’im, which ’elps ’im on a bit,
Till ’e finds ’isself one mornin’ with a full an’ proper kit.

Gettin’ clear o’ dirtiness, gettin’ done with mess,
Gettin’ shut o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less;
Not so fond of abby-nay, kul, nor hazar-ho,
Learns to keep ’is rifle an’ ’isself jus’ so!

The young recruit is ’appy—’e throws a chest to suit;
You see ’im grow mustaches; you ’ear ’im slap ’is boot;
’E learns to drop the “bloodies” from every word ’e slings,
An’ ’e shows an ’ealthy brisket when ’e strips for bars an’ rings.

The cruel-tyrant-sergeants they watch ’im ’arf a year;
They watch ’im with ’is comrades, they watch ’im with ’is beer;
They watch ’im with the women at the regimental dance,
And the cruel-tyrant-sergeants send ’is name along for “Lance”.

An’ now ’e’s ’arf o’ nothin’, an’ all a private yet,
’Is room they up an’ rags ’im to see what they will get;
They rags ’im low an’ cunnin’, each dirty trick they can,
But ’e learns to sweat ’is temper an’ ’e learns to sweat ’is man.

An’, last, a Colour-Sergeant, as such to be obeyed,
’E schools ’is men at cricket, ’e tells ’em on parade;
They sees ’em quick an’ ’andy, uncommon set an’ smart,
An’ so ’e talks to orficers which ’ave the Core at ’eart.

’E learns to do ’is watchin’ without it showin’ plain;
’E learns to save a dummy, an’ shove ’im straight again;
’E learns to check a ranker that’s buyin’ leave to shirk;
An’ ’e learns to make men like ’im so they’ll learn to like their work.

An’ when it comes to marchin’ he’ll see their socks are right,
An’ when it comes to action ’e shows ’em ’ow to sight;
’E knows their ways of thinkin’ and just what’s in their mind;
’E knows when they are takin’ on an’ when they’ve fell be’ind.

’E knows each talkin’ corpril that leads a squad astray;
’E feels ’is innards ’eavin’, ’is bowels givin’ way;
’E sees the blue-white faces all tryin’ ’ard to grin,
An’ ’e stands an’ waits an’ suffers till it’s time to cap ’em in.

An’ now the hugly bullets come peckin’ through the dust,
An’ no one wants to face ’em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons which isn’t glad to go,
They moves ’em off by companies uncommon stiff an’ slow.

Of all ’is five years’ schoolin’ they don’t remember much
Excep’ the not retreatin’, the step an’ keepin’ touch.
It looks like teachin’ wasted when they duck an’ spread an’ ’op,
But if ’e ’adn’t learned ’em they’d be all about the shop!

An’ now it’s “’Oo goes backward?” an’ now it’s “’Oo comes on?”
And now it’s “Get the doolies,” an’ now the captain’s gone;
An’ now it’s bloody murder, but all the while they ’ear
’Is voice, the same as barrick drill, a-shepherdin’ the rear.

’E’s just as sick as they are, ’is ’eart is like to split,
But ’e works ’em, works ’em, works ’em till he feels ’em take the bit;
The rest is ’oldin’ steady till the watchful bugles play,
An’ ’e lifts ’em, lifts ’em, lifts ’em through the charge that wins the day!

The ’eathen in ’is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
’E don’t obey no orders unless they is ’is own;
The ’eathen in ’is blindness must end where ’e began,
But the backbone of the Army is the non-commissioned man!

Keep away from dirtiness—keep away from mess.
Don’t get into doin’ things rather-more-or-less!
Let’s ha’ done with abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho;
Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!

SMLE
October 26, 2005, 01:12 AM
DRILL BIT
By Jim Craig

Nail studded leather
crashing on gravel
Be-ribboned voice carrying
in cold November air
Arms rhythmically swinging
brain-cells dormant
As the body learns
to obey to obey without question
the commands of authority

Complex, meaningless maneuvers
from long-forgotten wars
Faultlessly executed
as if by a single entity
Surging pride in united effort
which indicates the first surrender
Of self, and the beginning
of learning
to be a soldier

Hardware
October 26, 2005, 11:46 AM
Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

gwalchmai
October 26, 2005, 12:40 PM
You loot,
We shoot.

Indy7373
October 26, 2005, 09:30 PM
Bit long, but one of my favorites

The Highwayman
By Alfred Noyes

Part One
I
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding-
Riding-riding-
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II
He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV
And dark in the old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say-

V
"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

VI
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

Part Two
I
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gipsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching-
Marching-marching-
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

II
They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through the casement, the road that he would ride.

III
They had tied her up to attention, with many a s******ing jest;
They bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say-
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

IV
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till here fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like
years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

V
The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain.

VI
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs
ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did
not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up strait and still!

VII
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night
!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him-with her death.

VIII
He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

IX
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

* * * * * *

X
And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding-
Riding-riding-
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

XI
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
And he taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Oleg Volk
October 26, 2005, 09:49 PM
I held the heavy, martial shape and wondered what it was
And how it saw my progenitors though long-forgotten wars

It's barrel was long, stock worn and dark, but a musket it was not
And though it looked industrial, to World Wars is didn't belong

The thick suppressor made it look like a drug war ninja tool
But the coaxial plasma barrel postdated those murderous fools

It was a standard rebel arm, same as the army used
In the year 2064, during the Civil War, part two

With it the land was laid to waste and many perished then
But we won freedom by force of arms, our honor was reclaimed

We learned back then the heavy price of things doled out for free
Which we ourselves were forced to provide at a bayonet point or three

We learned that the state is never a friend, like rings from a Tolkien tale
That freedom to live as we see fit is worth more than a gilded cage

And that it would be too late someday, the boot would grind the face
That giving up arms is giving up hope, forfeiting that fail-safe

So the war was fought and the freedom bought, with sweat and tears and blood
And this weapon hangs by the fireplace, reminder of the price paid once

SMLE
October 27, 2005, 02:56 AM
My Brother wrote this to mark the occaision of giving his wife a Colt Pocket pistol as a Valentine's Day gift.


Valentine's Day - 30 Nov, 1982
Wessley Rodgers

In this box I give you life -
Your own to keep and live.
In this box I give you death -
Death to those who would slay you -
Death to hold in your gentle hand.
In this box, power lies -
The power to keep your life for your own,
To stay with me, not die and leave.
To live with me in our sweet love,
To love with me in this sweet life,
Not flee with me to death,
Or lose what makes life sweet.
To earn your keep and spend it.
To rest here in your home.
To know the value of your life,
And worship every breath,
Not kneel and pray to death.
The choice to live weighs more by far
Than this small box I give -
A choice that's Your's to make, my Love.
You're wise enough to make it, for
Gentleness tempers your wrath.
I love you and I give this tool,
And know you'll choose to live.


I think this poem goes perfectly with this image of Oleg's..

http://www.a-human-right.com/trustgift_s.jpg

SMLE
January 2, 2008, 10:31 PM
Bump; Zombie thread!

4v50 Gary
January 2, 2008, 11:58 PM
I won't cite it here, but I do have a poem that I will include in my book on sharpshooting. It's very appropriate and was suggested to me by a scholar in one of the Civil War Round Tables I'm a member of.

lgsracer
January 2, 2008, 11:58 PM
In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm

goon
January 3, 2008, 12:08 AM
IIRC, this one is Irish.
Not the best really (I tend to not support centuries old blood feuds) but probably one that not many have heard of:

My Little Armalite

I was stopped by a soldier he said "you are a swine"
He hit me with his rifle and he kicked me in the groin
I bowed and I scraped, sure my manners were polite
Ah, but all the time I was thinking of me little Armalite!

Chorus:
And it's up along the bogside that's were I long to be
Lying in the dark with the Provo company
A comrade on my left and another one on me right
And a clip of ammunition for me little Armalite!

A brave RUC man came walking up our street
With 600 British soldiers gathered round his feet,
Come out ya cowardly Fenians come on out and fight
But he cried I'm only joking when he heard my Armalite!

Chorus:
And it's down along the Falls Road that's were I long to be
Lying in the dark with a Provo company
A comrade on my left and another one on me right
And a clip of ammunition for me little Armalite!

The army came to visit me 'twas in the early hours
With saracens and saladins and buggered armoured cars,
They thought they had me cornered but I gave them all a fright
With the armourpiercing bullets of me little Armalite!

Chorus:
And it's up in Crossmaglen that's were I long to be
Lying in the dark with a Provo company
A comrade on my left and another one on me right
And a clip of ammunition for me little Armalite!

Well the premier came to Belfast to see the battles won
The generals had told them we have them on the run,
The corporals and privates while on patrol at night
Said "send home for re-enforcement's it's the bloody Armalite!"

Chorus:
And it's up in old Poleglass that's were I long to be
Lying in the dark with a Provo company
A comrade on my left and another one on me right
And a clip of ammunition for me little Armalite!



Seems the IRA had a thing for the Armalite AR-18.

Neo-Luddite
January 3, 2008, 09:49 AM
“Brown Bess”
(THE ARMY MUSKET—1700 – 1815)
Rudyard Kipling


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IN THE days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise—
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes—
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.
Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess,

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks
And people wore pigtails instead of perukes
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks,
She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
“Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think I am killing enough,” said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid,
And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon—no less—
Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day—
She danced on till dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way
And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,
“I have danced my last dance for the world!” said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums—there’s one in Whitehall—
Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers’, that arm is Brown Bess!

zoom6zoom
January 3, 2008, 12:01 PM
Roses are red.
Revolvers are blue.
I don't like Glocks
But maybe you do.

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