Danny Deever

By Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936 Rudyard Kipling
‘What are the bugles blowin’ for?' said Files-on-Parade.   
‘To turn you out, to turn you out,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘What makes you look so white, so white?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘I’m dreadin’ what I’ve got to watch,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
      The Regiment’s in ’ollow square—they’re hangin’ him to-day;
      They’ve taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
      An’ they're hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.

‘What makes the rear-rank breathe so ’ard?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘It’s bitter cold, it's bitter cold,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘What makes that front-rank man fall down?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘A touch o’ sun, a touch o’ sun,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      They are hangin’ Danny Deever, they are marchin’ of ’im round,
      They ’ave ’alted Danny Deever by ’is coffin on the ground;
      An’ ’e’ll swing in ’arf a minute for a sneakin’ shootin’ hound—
      O they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin!’

‘’Is cot was right-’and cot to mine,’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘’E’s sleepin’ out an’ far to-night,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
‘I’ve drunk ’is beer a score o’ times,’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘’E’s drinkin’ bitter beer alone,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      They are hangin’ Danny Deever, you must mark ’im to ’is place,
      For ’e shot a comrade sleepin’—you must look ’im in the face;
      Nine ’undred of ’is county an’ the Regiment’s disgrace,   
      While they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.

‘What’s that so black agin the sun?’ said Files-on-Parade.   
‘It’s Danny fightin’ ’ard for life,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.   
‘What’s that that whimpers over’ead?’ said Files-on-Parade.
‘It’s Danny’s soul that’s passin’ now,’ the Colour-Sergeant said.
      For they’re done with Danny Deever, you can ’ear the quickstep play,
      The Regiment’s in column, an’ they’re marchin’ us away;
      Ho! the young recruits are shakin’, an’ they’ll want their beer to-day,
      After hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’!

Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

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Poet Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects War & Conflict, Crime & Punishment, Living, Social Commentaries, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

 Rudyard  Kipling

Biography

Rudyard Kipling is one of the best-known of the late Victorian poets and story-tellers. Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, his unpopular political views caused his work to be neglected shortly after his death. Critics, however, recognize the power of his work. "His unrelenting craftsmanship, his determination to be 'master of the bricks and mortar of his trade,' compels respect, and his genius as a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Crime & Punishment, Living, Social Commentaries, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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