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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,
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
An' I'm rollin' 'is lawns for the Squire,
Me that 'ave rode through the dark
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,
(Not to mention the 'ousemaid an' cook),
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,
Three years an' the sky for my roof-
I will arise an' get 'ence;
I will trek South and make sure
That the sunshine of England is pale,
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,
(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
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-
(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.!