Perched upon the Simla Ridge, as the clocks were warning ten,
Cupid watched the cavalcade of the office-going men;
Very wet his bow and quiver, dripping each ambrosial plume,
And a little touch of 'liver' filled his Godship's soul with gloom.
So he sneered to see them pass to the tin-topped roofs below—
'These', quoth he, 'are, one and all, my subordinates you know.
They may play at what they please—home and foreign policy—
C.S.I.'s' and C.I.E.'s—but their work is under me.
Some have served me many years, faithful clerks and zealous they—
Some I pay in solid coin—some I owe a lifetime's pay;
On the honour of a god, it would make the saddest laugh,
Could he only read the roll of my Departmental Staff.
Silver-headed gentlemen, raw and reckless-riding youths,
Learn of me from four to ten, diverse valuable truths;
Each into my service pressed is, florid Youth and Dotage fading,
And the beauty of the jest is no one knows his rank or grading.
You may take it as a rule, for the comfort of your heart meant,
Kings are generally Pawns, Pawns are Kings in my Department;
All exceptions you must settle for yourself by Rule of Two—
If you chance to make an error, very much the worse for you.
All the office rules I keep out of my employes' sight,
They must puzzle out the Code for themselves by Nature's Light.
Yet, despite my rank injustice and the jobs I perpetrate,
My department is the largest and the leading one of State!'
Thus it was with mocking laughter when the clocks had stricken ten,
Cupid sent his blessing after all those office-going men:—
'Play at what you please my servants—home or foreign policy,
Ruling nations, building bridges—but your work is under me!'