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Short poem

Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

The Spirit

              1When there ain't no gal to kiss you,
              2And the postman seems to miss you,
              3And the fags have skipped an issue,
              4          Carry on.

              5When ye've got an empty belly,
              6And the bulley's rotten smelly,
              7And you're shivering like a jelly,
              8          Carry on.

              9When the Boche has done your chum in,
            10And the sergeant's done the rum in,
            11And there ain't no rations comin',
            12          Carry on.

            13When the world is red and reeking,
            14And the shrapnel shells are shrieking,
            15And your blood is slowly leaking,
            16          Carry on.

            17When the broken battered trenches,
            18Are like the bloody butchers' benches,
            19And the air is thick with stenches,
            20          Carry on.

            21Carry on,
            22     Though your pals are pale and wan,
            23     And the hope of life is gone,
            24               Carry on.
            25     For to do more than you can,
            26     Is to be a British man,
            27     Not a rotten "also ran,"
            28               Carry on.


3] fags: cigarettes.

6] bulley: pickled or tinned beef (OED, "bully," sb. 5).

9] Boche: Germans.

27] "also ran": a racehorse that did not finish "in the money."

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: "Woodbine Willy" [Rev. G. A. Studdert-Kennedy], Rough Rhymes of a Padre (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919): 56-57. 1919/5/85 Cambridge University Library
First publication date: 1918
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/11/17

Composition date: 1914 - 1918
Rhyme: aaab cccb ...

Other poems by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy