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English Irregular: '99-02

E that 'ave been what I've been,

Me that 'ave gone where I've gone, Me that 'ave seen what I've seen'Ow can I ever take on

With awful old England again,

An' 'ouses both sides of the street,
And 'edges two sides of the lane,
And the parson an' 'gentry' between,
An' touchin' my 'at when we meet-

Me that 'ave been what I've been?

Me that 'ave watched 'arf a world 'Eave up all shiny with dew,

Kopje on kop to the sun,

An' as soon as the mist let 'em through

Our 'elios winkin' like fun

Three sides of a ninety-mile square,

Over valleys as big as a shire

'Are ye there? Are ye there? Are ye there?' An' then the blind drum of our fire

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An' I'm rollin' 'is lawns for the Squire,



Me that 'ave rode through the dark
Forty mile often on end,
Along the Ma'ollisberg Range,
With only the stars for my mark
An' only the night for my friend,
An' things runnin' off as you pass,
An' things jumpin' up in the grass,
An' the silence, the shine an' the size
Of the 'igh, inexpressible skies.
I am takin' some letters almost
As much as a mile, to the post,

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An' 'mind you come back with the change!'

Me that saw Barberton took


When we dropped through the clouds on their 'ead,

An' they 'ove the guns over and fled

Me that was through Di'mond 'Ill,
An' Pieters an' Springs an' Belfast-
From Dundee to Vereeniging all!
Me that stuck out to the last
(An' five bloomin' bars on my chest)—
I am doin' my Sunday-school best,
By the 'elp of the Squire an' 'is wife

(Not to mention the 'ousemaid an' cook),
To come in an' 'ands up an' be still,
An' honestly work for my bread,

My livin' in that state of life

To which it shall please God to call


Me that 'ave followed my trade

In the place where the lightnin's are made,
"Twixt the Rains and the Sun and the Moon;
Me that lay down an' got up

Three years an' the sky for my roof-
That 'ave ridden my 'unger an' thirst
Six thousand raw mile on the hoof,
With the Vaal and the Orange for cup,
An' the Brandwater Basin for dish,-
Oh! it's 'ard to be'ave as they wish
(Too 'ard, an' a little too soon),
I'll 'ave to think over it first-

I will arise an' get 'ence;

I will trek South and make sure
If it's only my fancy or not

That the sunshine of England is pale,
And the breezes of England are stale,


An' there's somethin' gone small with the lot; For I know of a sun an' a wind,

An' some plains and a mountain be'ind,

An' some graves by a barb-wire fence;

An' a Dutchman I've fought 'oo might give

Me a job were I ever inclined,

To look in an' offsaddle an' live

Where there's neither a road nor a tree

But only my Maker an' me,

And I think it will kill me or cure,
So I think I will go there an' see.

M. I.

(Mounted Infantry of the Line)

WISH my mother could see me now, with a fencepost under my arm,

And a knife and a spoon in my putties that I found on a Boer farm,

Atop of a sore-backed Argentine, with a thirst that you

couldn't buy.

I used to be in the Yorkshires once (Sussex, Lincolns, and Rifles once),

Hampshires, Glosters, and Scottish once! (ad lib.) But now I am M. I.

That is what we are known as-that is the name you must call

If you want officers' servants, pickets an' 'orseguards an' all

Details for buryin'-parties, company-cooks or supplyTurn out the chronic Ikonas! Roll up the-1M. I.!

My 'ands are spotty with veldt-sores, my shirt is a button an' frill,

An' the things I've used my bay'nit for would make a tinker ill!

'Number according to taste and service of audience.

An' I don't know whose dam' column I'm in, nor where we're trekkin' nor why.

I've trekked from the Vaal to the Orange once-
From the Vaal to the greasy Pongolo once-

(Or else it was called the Zambesi once)—

For now I am M. I.

That is what we are known as-we are the push you require

For outposts all night under freezin', an' rearguard all day under fire.

Anything 'ot or unwholesome? Anything dusty or dry? Borrow a bunch of Ikonas! Trot out the-M. I.!

Our Sergeant-Major's a subaltern, our Captain's a Fusilier

Our Adjutant's 'late of Somebody's 'Orse,' an' a Melbourne auctioneer;

But you couldn't spot us at 'arf a mile from the crackest caval-ry.

They used to talk about Lancers once,

Hussars, Dragoons, an' Lancers once,

'Elmets, pistols, an' carbines once,

But now we are M. I.

That is what we are known as-we are the orphans they blame

For beggin' the loan of an 'ead-stall an' makin' a mount to the same:

'Can't even look at an 'orselines but some one goes bellerin' 'Hi!

'Ere comes a burglin' Ikona!' Footsack you—M. I.!

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