Published on Academy of American Poets (

Gunga Din

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!


This poem is in the public domain.


Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, "If".

Date Published: 1892-01-01

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