Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gentlemen-Rankers out on the Spree

The Episcopal Church's Bishops may want to sing this song as they head to Mory's,




WHIFFENPOOF SONG
(words Meade Minnegerode; tune attributed to Tod Galloway)

From the tables down at Mory's, to the place where Louie dwells,
To the dear old Temple bar we love so well.
Sang the whiffenpoofs assembled with their glasses raised on high
And the magic of their singing cast its spell.

Yes, the magic of their singing of the songs we love so well,
``Shall I Wasting'' and ``Mavoureen'' and the rest.
We will serenade our Louie while life and voice shall last
Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest.

cho: We're poor little lambs who have lost our way
Bah, bah, bah.
We're little black sheep who have gone astray
Bah, bah, bah.
Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Damned from here to eternity
Lord have mercy on such as we!
Bah, bah, bah.


The Bishops may prefer to sing Kipling's original poem,

Gentlemen-Rankers
By Rudyard Kipling
To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,
To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who has run his own six horses,
And faith he went the pace and went it blind,
And the world was more than kin while he held the ready tin,
But to-day the Sergeant's something less than kind.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Baa--aa--aa!
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen slops,
And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers tell,
To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops
And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your troop,
And branded with a blasted worsted spur,
When you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy being cleanly
Who blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".

If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep,
And all we know most distant and most dear,
Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep,
Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters
And the horror of our fall is written plain,
Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed ceiling,
Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain?

We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Baa--aa--aa!
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

1 comment:

The Underground Pewster said...

Score one for Kipling, nil for Yale!

"To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,

...the oaths we never keep,

And a trooper of the Empress, if you please...

And the horror of our fall is written plain...

We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth.."

You failed to follow up on the "Curse of Reuben" which might be a reference to Genesis 49:1-4
"‘Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the first fruits of my vigour,excelling in rank and excelling in power. Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel because you went up on to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—you went up on to my couch!'"

Truth be told, Kipling is more appropriate for the H.O.B.