You may talk o' gin an' beer When you're quartered safe out 'ere, An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it; But if it comes to slaughter You will do your work on water, An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it. Now in Injia's sunny clime, Where I used to spend my time A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen, Of all them black-faced crew The finest man I knew Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din. It was "Din! Din! Din! You limping lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din! Hi! slippy hitherao! Water, get it! Panee lao! You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!" The uniform 'e wore Was nothin' much before, An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind, For a twisty piece o' rag An' a goatskin water-bag Was all the field-equipment 'e could find. When the sweatin' troop-train lay In a sidin' through the day, Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl, We shouted "Harry By!" Till our throats were bricky-dry, Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all. It was "Din! Din! Din! You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been? You put some juldee in it, Or I'll marrow you this minute, If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!" 'E would dot an' carry one Till the longest day was done, An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear. If we charged or broke or cut, You could bet your bloomin' nut, 'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear. With 'is mussick on 'is back, 'E would skip with our attack, An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire." An' for all 'is dirty 'ide, 'E was white, clear white, inside When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire! It was "Din! Din! Din!" With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green. When the cartridges ran out, You could 'ear the front-files shout: "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!" I sha'n't forgit the night When I dropped be'ind the fight With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been. I was chokin' mad with thirst, An' the man that spied me first Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din. 'E lifted up my 'ead, An' 'e plugged me where I bled, An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water—green; It was crawlin' an' it stunk, But of all the drinks I've drunk, I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din. It was "Din! Din! Din! 'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen; 'E's chawin' up the ground an' 'e's kickin' all around: For Gawd's sake, git the water, Gunga Din!" 'E carried me away To where a dooli lay, An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean. 'E put me safe inside, An' just before 'e died: "I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din. So I'll meet 'im later on In the place where 'e is gone— Where it's always double drill and no canteen; 'E'll be squattin' on the coals Givin' drink to pore damned souls, An' I'll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din! Din! Din! Din! You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din! Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936
The verses—as suggested by the painting by Philip Burne-Jones,
first exhibited at the new gallery in London in 1897.
A fool there was and he made his prayer (Even as you or I!) To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair, (We called her the woman who did not care), But the fool he called her his lady fair— (Even as you or I!) Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste, And the work of our head and hand Belong to the woman who did not know (And now we know that she never could know) And did not understand! A fool there was and his goods he spent, (Even as you or I!) Honour and faith and a sure intent (And it wasn't the least what the lady meant), But a fool must follow his natural bent (Even as you or I!) Oh, the toil we lost and the spoil we lost And the excellent things we planned Belong to the woman who didn't know why (And now we know that she never knew why) And did not understand! The fool was stripped to his foolish hide, (Even as you or I!) Which she might have seen when she threw him aside— (But it isn't on record the lady tried) So some of him lived but the most of him died— (Even as you or I!) And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame That stings like a white-hot brand— It's coming to know that she never knew why (Seeing, at last, she could never know why) And never could understand!