IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
Home
Table Of Contents
Authors
Acknowledgments & Links
 

AUTHORS


TOMMY°

Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-'ouse° to get a pint o' beer, The publican° 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats° here." The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die, I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away"; But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play-- The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play, O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play. I went into a theater as sober as could be, They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me; They sent me to the gallery° or round the music-'alls, But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls! For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside"; But its "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's, on the tide--° The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide, O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide. Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap; An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.° Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy 'ow's yer soul?" But it's "Thin red line of "eroes"° when the drums begin to roll-- The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll, O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll. We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too, But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints, Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints; While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind," But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind-- There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind, O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind. You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all: We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face The Widow's° Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace. For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Savior of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot; An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please; An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool--you bet that Tommy sees! °Tommy: short for "Thomas Atkins" as the typical name of a soldier in the British army °public-'ouse: Public house: a bar. °publican; bar owner °red-coats: British soldier, whose traditional uniform included a red coat °gallery: cheap seats in the balcony; The stalls are the expensive seats. °the trooper's on the tide: the troop ship is ready to sail ° Kit: equipment °Thin red line of 'eroes: W. H. Russell, a London Times correspondent used the phrase "thin red line tipped with steel" to describe the 93rd Highlanders infantry regiment as they stood to meet the charge of Russian cavalry at Balaclava in the Crimean War in 1854 °Widow's: Queen Victoria's; Kipling sometimes referred to her as "The Widow at Windsor."

 
 
Website Design and Hosting by Allied Computing