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We're trekkin' our twenty miles a day an' bein' loved by the Dutch,
But we don't hold on by the mane no more, nor lose our stirrups much;
An' we scout with a senior man in charge where the 'oly white flags fly.
We used to think they were friendly once,
Didn't take any precautions once
(Once, my ducky, an' only once!)
But now we are M. I.
That is what we are known as-we are the beggars that got
Three days 'to learn equitation,' an' six months o' bloomin' well trot!
Cow-guns, an' cattle, an' convoys-an' Mister De Wet on the fly
We are the rollin' Ikonas! We are the-M. I.!
The new fat regiments come from home, imaginin' vain V. C.'s
(The same as our talky-fighty men which are often Number Threes1),
But our words o' command are 'Scatter' an' 'Close' an' 'Let your wounded lie.'
We used to rescue 'em noble once,
Givin' the range as we raised 'em once,
1Horse-holders when in action, and therefore generally
That is what we are known as-we are the lanterns you view
After a fight round the kopjes, lookin' for men that we knew;
Whistlin' an' callin' together, 'altin' to catch the reply:"'Elp me! O 'elp me, Ikonas!' This way, the-M. I.!
I wish my mother could see me now, a-gatherin' news on
When I ride like a General up to the scrub and ride back like Tod Sloan,
Remarkable close to my 'orse's neck to let the shots go by. We used to fancy it risky once
(Called it a reconnaissance once), Under the charge of an orf'cer once,
But now we are M. I.
That is what we are known as-that is the song you
When you want men to be Mausered at one and a penny a day;
We are no five-bob colonials-we are the 'ome-made
Ask for the London Ikonas! Ring up the-M. I.!
I wish myself could talk to myself as I left 'im a year ago; I could tell 'im a lot that would save 'im a lot on the things that 'e ought to know!
When I think o' that ignorant barrack-bird, it almost makes me cry.
I used to belong in an Army once
Red little, dead little Army once!
But now I am M. I.!
That is what we are known as-we are the men that
Over a year at the business, smelt it an' felt it an' seen. We 'ave got 'old of the needful-you will be told by and by;
Wait till you've 'eard the Ikonas, spoke to the old M. I.!
Mount-march, Ikonas! Stand to your 'orses again! Mop off the frost on the saddles, mop up the miles on the plain.
Out go the stars in the dawnin', up goes our dust to the sky,
Walk-trot, Ikonas! Trek jou,1 the old M. I.!
(Mobile Columns of the Later War)
UT o' the wilderness, dusty an' dry
(Time, an' 'igh time to be trekkin' again!) 'Oo is it 'eads to the Detail Supply?
(A section, a pompom, an' six 'undred men).
'Ere comes the clerk with 'is lantern an' keys (Time, an' 'igh time to be trekkin' again!) 'Surplus of everything-draw what you please For the section, the pompom, an' six 'undred men.'
'What are our orders an' where do we lay?' (Time, an' 'igh time to be trekkin' again!)
'You came after dark-you will leave before day, You section, you pompom, an' six 'undred men!'
Down the tin street, 'alf awake an' unfed,
Now by the church an' the outspan they wind-
For the section, etc.
Soon they will camp as the dawn's growin' gray,
The section, etc.
Read their 'ome letters, their papers an' such,
'Untin' for shade as the long hours pass,
Blankets on rifles or burrows in grass,
Lies the section, etc.
Dossin' or beatin' a shirt in the sun,
With nothin' but stillness as far as you please,
So they strips off their hide an' they grills in their bones, Till the shadows crawl out from beneath the pore stones Towards the section, etc.
An' the Mauser-bird stops an' the jackals begin,
An' the 'orse-guard comes up and the Gunners 'ook in As a 'int to the pompom an' six 'undred men.
Off through the dark with the stars to rely on(Alpha Centauri an' somethin' Orion)
Moves the section, etc.
Same bloomin' 'ole which the ant-bear 'as broke,
Same 'which is right?' where the cart-tracks divide,
To the section, etc.