Friday, May 20, 2022
Arithmetic on The Frontier
A great and glorious thing it is
To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
Ere reckoned fit to face the foe —
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."
On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"
And after — ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our 'ologies.
A canter down some dark defile —
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail —
The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
Or ward the tulwar's downward blow
Strike hard who cares — shoot straight who can —
The odds are on the cheaper man.
Will pay for all the school expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blessed with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troop-ships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear"
Are cheap — alas! as we are dear.
Labels: Afghan Forces, British Colonial Forces, Colonial Gaming, Kipling, Northwest Frontier, Perry Miniatures
I'm a retired Colonel of Infantry (Regulars by God!) and Military Historian who likes to play with toy soldiers. I've been married to the love of my life since 1986, I have 5 honorable sons (my geeks in training), 3 daughters-in-law, 2 dogs, and a gazillion miniatures. Hobbies include . . . wait for it . . . Toy Soldiers, Reading, Wargaming, Reading about Toy Soldiers, History, Reading about Wargaming, Gardening, Reading about History and Reading.