Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
“The Men That Fought at Minden”
 
(In the Lodge of Instruction)

THE MEN that fought at Minden, they was rookies in their time—
    So was them that fought at Waterloo!
All the ’ole command, yuss, from Minden to Maiwand,
    They was once dam’ sweeps like you!
 
  Then do not be discouraged, ’Eaven is your ’elper,        5
    We’ll learn you not to forget;
  An’ you mustn’t swear an’ curse, or you’ll only catch it worse,
    For we’ll make you soldiers yet!
 
The men that fought at Minden, they ’ad stocks beneath their chins,
    Six inch ’igh an’ more;        10
But fatigue it was their pride, and they would not be denied
    To clean the cook-’ouse floor.
 
The men that fought at Minden, they had anarchistic bombs
    Served to ’em by name of ’and-grenades;
But they got it in the eye (same as you will by-an’-by)        15
    When they clubbed their field-parades.
 
The men that fought at Minden, they ’ad buttons up an’ down,
    Two-an’-twenty dozen of ’em told;
But they didn’t grouse an’ shirk at an hour’s extry work,
    They kept ’em bright as gold.        20
 
The men that fought at Minden, they was armed with musketoons,
    Also, they was drilled by ’alberdiers;
I don’t know what they were, but the sergeants took good care
    They washed be’ind their ears.
 
The men that fought at Minden, they ’ad ever cash in ’and        25
    Which they did not bank nor save,
But spent it gay an’ free on their betters—such as me—
    For the good advice I gave.
 
The men that fought at Minden, they was civil—yuss, they was—
    Never didn’t talk o’ rights an’ wrongs,        30
But they got it with the toe (same as you will get it—so!)—
    For interrupting songs.
 
The men that fought at Minden, they was several other things
    Which I don’t remember clear;
But that’s the reason why, now the six-year men are dry        35
    The rooks will stand the beer!
 
  Then do not be discouraged, ’Eaven is your ’elper,
    We’ll learn you not to forget.
  An’ you mustn’t swear an’ curse, or you’ll only catch it worse,
    And we’ll make you soldiers yet?        40
 
  Soldiers yet, if you’ve got it in you
    All for the sake of the Core;
  Soldiers yet, if we ’ave to skin you
    Run an’ get the beer, Johnny Raw—Johnny Raw!
    Ho! run an’ get the beer, Johnny Raw!        45
 
 
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