Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
Oonts!
By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)
 
From “Barrack-Room Ballads”

WOT makes the soldier’s ’eart to penk, wot makes ’im to perspire?
It isn’t standin’ up to charge or lyin’ down to fire;
But it’s everlastin’ waitin’ on a everlastin’ road
For the commissariat camel an’ ’is commissariat load.
        Oh, the oont, Oh, the oont, Oh, the commissariat oont!        5
        With ’is silly neck a-bobbin’ like a basket full o’ snakes.
        We packs ’im like a idol, an’ you ought to ’ear ’im grunt,
        An’ when we gets ’im loaded up ’is blessed girth-rope breaks.
 
Wot makes the rear-guard swear so ’ard when night is drorin’ in,
An’ every native follower is shiverin’ for ’is skin?        10
It ain’t the chanst o’ bein’ rushed by Paythans frum the ’ills,
It’s the commissariat camel puttin’ on ’is blessed frills!
        Oh, the oont. Oh, the oont, Oh, the hairy, scary oont!
        A-trippin’ over tent-ropes when we’ve got the night-alarm.
        We socks ’im with a stretcher-pole, an’ ’eads ’im off in front,        15
        An’ when we’ve saved ’is bloomin’ life ’e chaws our bloomin’ arm.
 
The ’orse ’e knows above a bit, the bullock’s but a fool,
The elephant’s a gentleman, the baggage-mule’s a mule;
But the commissariat cam-u-el, when all is said an’ done,
’E’s a devil an’ a ostrich an’ a orphan-child in one.        20
        Oh, the oont, Oh, the oont, Oh, the Gawd-forsaken oont!
        The ’umpy-lumpy ’ummin’-bird a-singin’ where ’e lies,
        ’E’s blocked the ’ole division from the rear-guard to the front,
        An’ when we gets ’im up again—the beggar goes an’ dies!
 
’E’ll gall an’ chafe an’ lame an’ fight; ’e smells most awful vile;        25
’E’ll lose ’imself for ever if you let ’im stray a mile;
’E’s game to graze the ’ole day long an’ ’owl the ’ole night through,
An’ when ’e comes to greasy ground ’e splits ’isself in two.
        Oh, the oont, Oh, the oont, Oh, the floppin’, droppin’ oont!
        When ’is long legs give from under an’ ’is meltin’ eye is dim,        30
        The tribes is up be’ind us an’ the tribes is out in front,
        It ain’t no jam for Tommy, but it’s kites and crows for ’im.
 
So when the cruel march is done, an’ when the roads is blind,
An’ when we sees the camp in front an’ ’ears the shots be’ind,
Oh, then we strips ’is saddle off, and all ’is woes is past:        35
’E thinks on us that used ’im so, an’ gets revenge at last.
        Oh, the oont, Oh, the oont, Oh, the floatin’, bloatin’ oont!
        The late lamented camel in the water-cut he lies;
        We keeps a mile behind ’im, an’ we keeps a mile in front,
        But ’e gets into the drinkin’ casks, and then o’ course we dies.        40
 
 
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