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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
All Entries 1997 - 2002
All Entries 2002
Odds and Ends, Other Items Of Interest About Robert

The Coward

Published by Susan on 07/24/2003 (6424 reads)
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'Ave you seen Bill's mug in the Noos to-day...

'Ave you seen Bill's mug in the Noos to-day?
'E's gyned the Victoriar Cross, they say;
Little Bill wot would grizzle and run away,
   If you 'it 'im a swipe on the jawr.
'E's slaughtered the Kaiser's men in tons;
'E's captured one of their quick-fire guns,
And 'e 'adn't no practice in killin' 'Uns
   Afore 'e went off to the war.

Little Bill wot I nussed in 'is by-by clothes;
Little Bill wot told me 'is childish woes;
'Ow often I've tidied 'is pore little nose
   Wiv the 'em of me pinnyfore.
And now all the papers 'is praises ring,
And 'e's been and 'e's shaken the 'and of the King
And I sawr 'im to-day in the ward, pore thing,
   Where they're patchin' 'im up once more.

And 'e says: "Wot d'ye think of it, Lizer Ann?"
And I says: "Well, I can't make it out, old man;
You'd 'ook it as soon as a scrap began,
   When you was a bit of a kid."
And 'e whispers: "'Ere, on the quiet, Liz,
They're makin' too much of the 'ole damn biz,
And the papers is printin' me ugly phiz,
   But . . . I'm 'anged if I know wot I did.

"Oh, the Captain comes and 'e says: `Look 'ere!
They're far too quiet out there: it's queer.
They're up to somethin' -- 'oo'll volunteer
   To crawl in the dark and see?'
Then I felt me 'eart like a 'ammer go,
And up jumps a chap and 'e says: `Right O!'
But I chips in straight, and I says `Oh no!
   'E's a missis and kids -- take me.'

"And the next I knew I was sneakin' out,
And the oozy corpses was all about,
And I felt so scared I wanted to shout,
   And me skin fair prickled wiv fear;
And I sez: `You coward! You 'ad no right
To take on the job of a man this night,'
Yet still I kept creepin' till ('orrid sight!)
   The trench of the 'Uns was near.

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