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ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY
by
Rudyard Kipling

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks of me
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and 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
On the road to Mandalay, where the flying-fishes play
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay.

'Er petticoat 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 first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot
An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an' 'eathen idol's foot
Bloomin' idol made of mud - what 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 droppin' slow
She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing 'Kulla-lo-lo'
With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek agin my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an' the hathis pilin' teaks
Elephants a-pilin' teak in the sludgy, squdgy creak
Where the silance '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' far away
An' there ain't no buses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay
An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells
"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."
No! you won't 'eed nothin' else, but them spicey garlic smells
An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells
On the road to Mandalay.......

I am sick o' wastin' leather on these gritty pavin' stones
An' the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones
Tho' I walks with fifty 'ouesmaids 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 somewhere 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
O 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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