Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Parade-Song of the Camp-Animals
 
ELEPHANTS OF THE GUN-TEAMS

WE lent to Alexander the strength of Hercules,
The wisdom of our foreheads, the cunning of our knees.
We bowed our necks to service—they ne’er were loosed again,—
Make way there, way for the ten-foot teams
        Of the Forty-Pounder train!        5
 
GUN-BULLOCKS

Those heroes in their harnesses avoid a cannon-ball,
And what they know of powder upsets them one and all;
Then we come into action and tug the guns again,—
Make way there, way for the twenty yoke
        Of the Forty-Pounder train!        10
 
CAVALRY HORSES

    By the brand on my withers, the finest of tunes
    Is played by the Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons,
    And it’s sweeter than “Stables” or “Water” to me,
    The Cavalry Canter of “Bonnie Dundee!”
 
    Then feed us and break us and handle and groom,        15
    And give us good riders and plenty of room,
    And launch us in column of squadron and see
    The Way of the War-horse to “Bonnie Dundee!”
 
SCREW-GUN MULES

As me and my companions were scrambling up a hill,
The path was lost in rolling stones, but we went forward still;        20
For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere,
And it’s our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!
 
Good luck to every sergeant, then, that lets us pick our road!
Bad luck to all the driver-men that cannot pack a load!
For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere,        25
And it’s our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!
 
COMMISSARIAT CAMELS

          We haven’t a camelty tune of our own
          To help us trollop along,
          But every neck is a hair-trombone
          (Rtt-ta-ta-ta! is a hair-trombone!)        30
          And this is our marching-song:
          Can’t! Don’t! Shan’t! Won’t!
          Pass it along the line!
          Somebody’s pack has slid from his back,
          ’Wish it were only mine!        35
          Somebody’s load has tipped off in the road—
          Cheer for a halt and a row!
          Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
          Somebody’s catching it now!
 
ALL THE BEASTS TOGETHER

          Children of the Camp are we,
        40
          Serving each in his degree;
          Children of the yoke and goad,
          Pack and harness, pad and load.
          See our line across the plain,
          Like a heel-rope bent again,        45
          Reaching, writhing, rolling far,
          Sweeping all away to war!
          While the men that walk beside,
          Dusty, silent, heavy-eyed,
          Cannot tell why we or they        50
          March and suffer day by day.
            Children of the Camp are we,
            Serving each in his degree;
            Children of the yoke and goad,
            Pack and harness, pad and load.        55
 
 
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