Poetry Month – Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din”

Okay, maybe Kipling isn’t politically correct, but his heart was in the right place. It was a different time and a different world.

I can’t help it. I love this poem.

Please watch the video of this poem being recited perfectly. I got chills watching it!

That’s the glory of Victorian poetry. It was meant to be read aloud and enjoyed by the growing British middle classes as well as the aristocrats. They didn’t have Scandal or American Idol, but they had Kipling and “Gunga Din!”

Fyi, the name “Gunga Din” means “Spirit of the Ganges.”  So cool!  More chills!!

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; 65

‘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!

 

3 thoughts on “Poetry Month – Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din”

  1. MsSopia says:

    One of my favorite poems. Thanks for the video.

  2. […] Poetry Month – Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din” (romancingthebee.com) […]

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