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Mandalay

by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

By the old Moulmein
Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, an’ I know she thinks o’me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, an’ the temple-bells they
say:
“Come you back, you British soldier: come you back to
Mandalay!”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from
Rangoon to Mandalay?
O the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like the thunder outer
China ‘crost the Bay!

‘Er petticut was yaller
an’ ‘er little cap was green,
An’ ‘er name was Supi-yaw-lat- jes’ the same as Theebaw’s
Queen,
An’ I seed her fust a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on an ‘eathen idol’s foot;
Bloomin’ idol made o’mud-
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd-
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ‘er where
she stud!
On the road to Mandalay-

When the mist was
on the rice-fields an’ the sun was drop-
pin’ slow,
She’d git’er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kul-la-lo-lo!”
With ‘er arm upon my shoulder an’ her cheek agin my
Cheek
We useter watch the steamers and the hathis pilin’ teak.
Elephints a-pilin’ teak
In the sludgy squdgy creek,
Where the silence ‘ung that ‘eavy you was ‘arf
afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay-

But that’s all shove
be’ind me- long ago an’ fur away,
An’ there ain’t no ‘buses runnin’ from the Benk to Man-
dalay;
An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year sodger
tells:
“If you’ve ‘eard the East a-calling, why, you won’t ‘eed
nothin’ else.”
No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly
temple-bells!
On the road to Mandalay-

I am so sick o’wastin’
leather on these gutty pavin’-stones,
An’ the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my
bones;
Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the
Strand,
An’ they talks a lot o’lovin’, but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an’ grubby ‘and-
Law! wot do they understand?
I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner greener
land!
On the road to Mandalay-

Ship me somewheres
east of Suez where the best is like the
worst,
Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments, an’ a man
can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin’, an it’s there that I would
be-
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea-
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went
To Mandalay!
Oh, the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China
‘crost the Bay!

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