Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
67. The Toy Band
 
A Song of the Great Retreat
 
By Henry Newbolt
 
 
DREARY lay the long road, dreary lay the town,
  Lights out and never a glint o’ moon:
Weary lay the stragglers, half a thousand down,
  Sad sighed the weary big Dragoon.
“Oh! if I’d a drum here to make them take the road again,        5
  Oh! if I’d a fife to wheedle, Come, boys, come!
You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again,
  Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum!
 
“Hey, but here’s a toy shop, here’s a drum for me,
  Penny whistles too to play the tune!        10
Half a thousand dead men soon shall hear and see
  We’re a band!” said the weary big Dragoon.
“Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake and take the road again,
  Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come!
You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again,        15
  Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum!”
 
Cheerly goes the dark road, cheerly goes the night,
  Cheerly goes the blood to keep the beat:
Half a thousand dead men marching on to fight
  With a little penny drum to lift their feet.        20
Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake and take the road again,
  Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come!
You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again,
  Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum!
 
As long as there’s an Englishman to ask a tale of me,        25
  As long as I can tell the tale aright,
We’ll not forget the penny whistle’s wheedle-deedle-dee
  And the big Dragoon a-beating down the night,
Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake and take the road again,
  Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come!        30
You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again,
  Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum!
 

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