On Fort Duty




There's tumult in the Khyber,
There's feud at Ali Kheyl;
For the Maliks of the Khyber
Are at it tooth and nail—
With the stolen British carbine
And the long Kohat jezail.

And I look across the ramparts
To the northward and the snow­
To the far Cherat cantonments;
But alas! I cannot go
From the dusty, dreary ramparts
Where the cannons grin arow!

There's fighting in the Khyber,
But it isn't meant for me,
Who am sent upon 'Fort-duty'
By this pestilent Ravi,
With just one other subaltern,
And not a soul to see.

Oh! it's everlasting gun-drill
And eight-o'clock parades,
It's cleaning-up of mortars
(Likewise of carronades),
While the passes ring with rifles
And the noise of Afghan raids.

And I look across the ramparts
To the river broad and grey,
And I think of merry England
Where the festive Horse Guards play.
Oh! take the senior grades for this
And spare the young R.A.!