The Absent-Minded Beggar

When you've shouted ' Rule Britannia,' when you've sung ' God save the Queen,'
When you've finished killing Kruger with your mouth,
Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine
For a gentleman in khaki ordered South?
He's an absent-minded beggar, and his weaknesses are great -
But we and Paul must take him as we find him -
He is out on active service, wiping something off a slate
And he's left a lot of little things behind him!
Duke's son - cook's son - son of a hundred kings
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!)
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after their things?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay !
There are girls he married secret, asking no permission to,
For he knew he wouldn't get it if he did.
There is gas and coals and vittles, and the house-rent falling due,
And its more than rather likely there’s a kid.
There are girls he’s walked with casual. They’ll be sorry now he’s gone,
For an absent-minded beggar they will find him,
But it ain’t the time for sermons with the winter coming on
We must help the girl that Tommy’s left behind him!
Cook's son - Duke's son - son of a belted Earl
Son of a Lambeth publican - it's all the same to-day !
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after the girl?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, J1 and pay - pay - pay !

There are families by thousands, far too proud to beg or speak,
And they'll put their sticks and bedding up the spout,
And they'll live on half o' nothing, paid 'em punctual once a week,
'Cause the man that earns the wage is ordered out.
He's an absent-minded beggar, but he heard his country call,
And his reg'rnent didn't need to send to find him!
He chucked his job and joined it - so the job before us all
Is to help the home that Tommy's left behind him !
Duke's job - cook's job - gardener, baronet, groom.
Mews or palace or paper-shop, there's someone gone away!
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after the room?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay !

Let us manage so as, later, we can look him in the face,
And tell him - what he'd very much prefer
That, while he saved the Empire, his employer saved his place,
And his mates (that's you and me) looked out for her.
He's an absent-minded beggar and he may forget it all,
But we do not want his kiddies to remind him
That we sent 'em to the workhouse while their daddy hammered Paul,
So we'll help the homes that Tommy left behind him !
Cook's home - Duke's home - home of a millionaire,
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay !)
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and what have you got to spare?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay!

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
76 Views

Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. more…

All Rudyard Kipling poems | Rudyard Kipling Books

FAVORITE (9 fans)

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • Chinese - Simplified 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • Chinese - Traditional 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Spanish Español (Spanish)
  • Japanese 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Portuguese Português (Portuguese)
  • German Deutsch (German)
  • Arabic العربية (Arabic)
  • French Français (French)
  • Russian Русский (Russian)
  • Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • Korean 한국어 (Korean)
  • Hebrew עברית (Hebrew)
  • Ukrainian Український (Ukrainian)
  • Urdu اردو (Urdu)
  • Hungarian Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Hindi मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesian Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italian Italiano (Italian)
  • Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Turkish Türkçe (Turkish)
  • Telugu తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • Thai ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Vietnamese Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Czech Čeština (Czech)
  • Polish Polski (Polish)
  • Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Romanian Românește (Romanian)
  • Dutch Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Greek Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latin Latinum (Latin)
  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
  • Persian فارسی (Persian)
  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • Armenian հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norwegian Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English English (English)

Discuss this Rudyard Kipling poem with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"The Absent-Minded Beggar" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Jul 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/33351/the-absent-minded-beggar>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.