Departmental Ditties and Other Verses

A Ballad of Burial

“Saint Proxed’s ever was the Church for peace”

Rudyard Kipling

IF down here I chance to die,
     Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of “I”
     To the Hills for old sake’s sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
     In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry—
     This observe for old sake’s sake.

To the railway station hie,
     There a single ticket take
For Umballa—goods-train—I
     Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly
     Spite of clamor coolies make;
Thus in state and dignity
     Send me up for old sake’s sake.

Next the sleepy Babu wake,
     Book a Kalka van “for four.”
Few, I think, will care to make
     Journeys with me any more
As they used to do of yore.
     I shall need a “special” break—
Thing I never took before—
     Get me one for old sake’s sake.

After that—arrangements make.
     No hotel will take me in,
And a bullock’s back would break
     ’Neath the teak and leaden skin
Tonga ropes are frail and thin,
     Or, did I a back-seat take,
In a tonga I might spin,—
     Do your best for old sake’s sake.

After that — your work is done.
     Recollect a Padre must
Mourn the dear departed one—
     Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don’t go down at once. I trust
     You will find excuse to “snake
Three days’ casual on the bust.”—
     Get your fun for old sake’s sake.

I could never stand the Plains.
     Think of blazing June and May
Think of those September rains
     Yearly till the Judgment Day!
I should never rest in peace,
     I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease,
     To the Hills for old sake’s sake.

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