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A SOLDIER'S STORY
by
Harry Pleon (1900)

Have I been a soldier long, sir? - About ninety-two years, or more
I enlisted when just turned three, sir, and now I’m thirty-four
Have I seen much bloodshed? - Rather! in that fearful Zulu war
I was whitewashing down at Peckham, and I fell from the roof to the floor

I was picked up dying and senseless on the Chatham and Dover Line
(Can I ever forget that meeting in Bacon-on-the-Rhine!)
She was only a cabman’s daughter, my bonny blue-eyed Nance
And the Russians were gaining upon us, but we led them a pretty dance.

We kept ‘em at bay for two years, till we saw the Harbour Lights
The negroes were fighting like demons - but we gained the Alma’s heights
So I jumped out of bed in a moment - I was minding a steam-roller then
The saw-mill in full working action - on the life-boat were plenty of men.

But what was our handful of sailors, compared with that Pirate’s crew?
Why, they scuttled our ship in a moment, as the mail-train came dashing through
“Curse it! - The favourite’s winning! and I’ve put on my very last cent!”
Then the tiger came out of the jungle, so down Piccadilly I went.

My revolver I seized in a jiffy, and stabbed the mad bull in the neck
As the old station master fell senseless on the already deserted deck.
That shows you what true British pluck is, a soldier’s ambition in life
Is to fight for his King and Country, and be true - to another man’s wife.

 
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