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TOMMY

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Date: 2010-11-11 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valkyriekaren.livejournal.com
Gotta love Barrack-room Ballads.

Think we're due an updated version of this one, too - inspired by Edwina Currie's heartwarming sympathy for poor veterans and war widows freezing to death because they couldn't pay the heating bills: "Put on a jumper and woolly gloves":

FIT FOR HEROES
Les Barker/Martin Carthy


1. They died in their millions, young men of the Somme.
And with them died their dreams for the world that they'd come from.
A dream for basic freedoms, and for that they gave their lives,
Now all that's left are widows wondering when it all arrives.

REFRAIN: Here's your home fit for heroes, here's your brand-new dawn,
If you make it through the winter, if you wrap up warm.

2. Heat and light and comfort, security and health,
All will be provided if you pay for it yourself.
It's a warm and a caring country if your purse is always full;
If the war left you a widow, better buy yourself some wool.

3. Your husband died for freedom, a fine and worthy cause.
He may have paid for our today, but we won't pay for yours.
If you're old and ailing, plan your ailments in advance;
If you can't afford'em, then you haven't got a chance..

4. Where are your share options and your directorships?
If you're not on the gravy train then you have had your chips.
Nothing in your pocket, and nothing in your purse,
You could sell the family jewels if we hadn't sold them first.

5. It's just your misfortune that your husband can't provide.
He might have made a living if he hadn't gone and died.
So knit yourself some mittens, and knit yourself some socks,
And save up for your funeral, 'cause we won't buy the box!

Date: 2010-11-11 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenova-red.livejournal.com
I'd already welled up by the first line, and was sobbing by the last. xx

Date: 2010-11-11 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eremite.livejournal.com
I missed the two minutes today when a student rang in for a long call, but I'll be on my feet on Sunday.

Tommy

Date: 2011-01-01 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Were you not a crabair REMF? You know what about Tommy?

Re: Tommy

Date: 2011-01-02 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whotheheckami.livejournal.com
About as much as I know about you?

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