Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Danny Deever
 
“WHAT are the bugles blowin’ for?” said Files-on-Parade.
“To turn you out, to turn you out,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
“What makes you look so white, so white?” said Files-on-Parade.
“I’m dreadin’ what I’ve got to watch,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
    For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,        5
    The regiment’s in ’ollow square—they’re hangin’ him to-day;
    They’ve taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
    An’ they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.
 
“What makes the rear-rank breathe so ’ard?” said Files-on-Parade.
“It’s bitter cold, it’s bitter cold,” the Colour-Sergeant said.        10
“What makes that front-rank man fall down?” said Files-on-Parade.
“A touch o’ sun, a touch o’ sun,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
    They are hangin’ Danny Deever, they are marchin’ of ’im round,
    They ’ave ’alted Danny Deever by ’is coffin on the ground;
    An’ ’e’ll swing in ’arf a minute for a sneakin’ shootin’ hound—        15
    O they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’!
 
“’Is cot was right-’and cot to mine,” said Files-on-Parade.
“’E’s sleepin’ out an’ far to-night,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
“I’ve drunk ’is beer a score o’ times,” said Files-on-Parade.
“’E’s drinkin’ bitter beer alone,” the Colour-Sergeant said.        20
    They are hangin’ Danny Deever, you must mark ’im to ’is place,
    For ’e shot a comrade sleepin’—you must look ’im in the face;
    Nine ’undred of ’is county an’ the Regiment’s disgrace,
    While they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.
 
“What’s that so black agin the sun?” said Files-on-Parade.        25
“It’s Danny fightin’ ’ard for life,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
“What’s that that whimpers over’ead?” said Files-on-Parade.
“It’s Danny’s soul that’s passin’ now,” the Colour-Sergeant said.
    For they’re done with Danny Deever, you can ’ear the quickstep play,
    The regiment’s in column, an’ they’re marchin’ us away;        30
    Ho! the young recruits are shakin’, an’ they’ll want their beer to-day,
    After hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’!
 
 
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