Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)
BY the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, an’ I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, an’ the temple-bells they say,—
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”
                Come you back to Mandalay,        5
                Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ’ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay?
                Oh, the road to Mandalay,
                Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ’crost the Bay.        10
’Er petticut was yaller an’ ’er little cap was green,
An’ ’er name was Supi-yaw-lat—jes’ the same as Theebaw’s Queen;
An’ I seed her fust a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on a ’eathen idol’s foot:
                Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud—        15
                Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd—
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ’er where she stud!
                On the road to Mandalay—(etc.)
When the mist was on the rice-fields an’ the sun was droppin’ slow,
She’d git ’er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kulla-lo-lo!”        20
With ’er arm upon my shoulder an’ her cheek agin my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an’ the hathis pilin’ teak.
                Elephints a-pilin’ teak
                In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence ’ung that ’eavy you was ’arf afraid to speak!        25
                On the road to Mandalay—(etc.)
But that’s all shove be’ind me—long ago an’ fur away,
An’ there ain’t no ’busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
An’ I’m learnin’ ’ere in London what the ten-year sodger tells:
“If you’ve ’eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ’eed naught else.”        30
                No! you won’t ’eed nothin’ else
                But them spicy garlic smells
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells!
                On the road to Mandalay—(etc.)
I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’-stones,        35
An’ the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Though I walks with fifty ’ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’—but wot do they understand?
                Beefy face an’ grubby ’and—
                Law! wot do they understand?        40
I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
                On the road to Mandalay—(etc.)
Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin’, an’ it’s there that I would be—        45
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea—
                On the road to Mandalay,
                Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
                Oh, the road to Mandalay,        50
                Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ’crost the Bay!

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