Departmental Ditties and Other Verses

The Story of Uriah

Rudyard Kipling

“Now there were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.”

JACK BARRETT went to Quetta
    Because they told him to.
He left his wife at Simla
    On three-fourths his monthly screw.
Jack Barrett died at Quetta
    Ere the next month’s pay he drew.

Jack Barrett went to Quetta.
    He didn’t understand
The reason of his transfer
    From the pleasant mountain-land.
The season was September,
    And it killed him out of hand.

Jack Barrett went to Quetta
    And there gave up the ghost,
Attempting two men’s duty
    In that very healthy post;
And Mrs. Barrett mourned for him
    Five lively months at most.

Jack Barrett’s bones at Quetta
    Enjoy profound repose;
But I shouldn't be astonished
    If now his spirit knows
The reason of his transfer
    From the Himalayan snows.

And, when the Last Great Bugle Call
    Adown the Hurnai throbs,
And the last grim joke is entered
    In the big black Book of jobs,

And Quetta graveyards give again
    Their victims to the air,
I shouldn’t like to be the man
    Who sent Jack Barrett there.

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