HomeRudyard KiplingPrivate Ortheris's Song

Private Ortheris's Song. Rudyard Kipling

    My girl she give me the go onest,
    When I was a London lad;
    An’ I went on the drink for a fortnight,
    An’ then I went to the bad.
    The Queen she give me a shillin’
    To fight for ’er over the seas;
    But Guv’ment built me a fever-trap,
    An’ Injia give me disease.

    (Chorus) Ho! don’t you ’eed what a girl says,
    An’ don’t you go for the beer;
    But I was an ass when I was at grass,
    An’ that is why I’m ’ere.

    I fired a shot at a Afghan,
    The beggar ’e fired again,
    An’ I lay on my bed with a ’ole in my ’ed,
    An’ missed the next campaign!
    I up with my gun at a Burman
    Who carried a bloomin’ dah,
    But the cartridge stuck and the bay’nit bruk,
    An’ all I got was the scar.

    (Chorus) Ho! don’t you aim at a Afghan,
    When you stand on the skyline clear;
    An’ don’t you go for a Burman
    If none o’ your friends is near.

    I served my time for a Corp’ral,
    An’ wetted my stripes with pop,
    For I went on the bend with a intimate friend,
    An’ finished the night in the “shop.”
    I served my time for a Sergeant;
    The Colonel ’e sez “No!
    The most you’ll see is a full C.B.”
    An’ . . . very next night ’twas so!

    (Chorus) Ho! don’t you go for a Corp’ral
    Unless your ’ed is clear;
    But I was an ass when I was at grass,
    An’ that is why I’m ’ere.

    I’ve tasted the luck o’ the Army
    In barrack an’ camp an’ clink,
    An’ I lost my tip through the bloomin’ trip
    Along o’ the women an’ drink.
    I’m down at the heel o’ my service,
    An’ when I am laid on the shelf,
    My very worst friend from beginning to end
    By the blood of a mouse was myself!

    (Chorus) Ho! don’t you ’eed what a girl says,
    An’ don’t you go for the beer;
    But I was an ass when I was at grass,
    An’ that is why I’m ’ere!

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