Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads/Army Headquarters
Old is the song that I sing—
Old as my unpaid bills—
Old as the chicken that kitmutgars bring
Men at dâk-bungalows—old as the Hills.
Ahasuerus Jenkins of the "Operatic Own,"
Was dowered with a tenor voice of super-Santley-tone.
His views on equitation were, perhaps, a trifle queer;
He had no seat worth mentioning, but oh! he had an ear.
He clubbed his wretched company a dozen times a day,
He used to leave his charger in a parabolic way,
His method of saluting was the joy of all beholders,
But Ahasuerus Jenkins had a head upon his shoulders.
He took two months at Simla when the year was at the spring.
And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.
He warbled like a bul-bul, but particularly at
Cornelia Agrippina, who was musical and fat.
She controlled a humble husband, who, in turn, controlled a Dept.,
Where Cornelia Agrippina's human singing-birds were kept
From April to October on a plump retaining fee,
Supplied, of course, per mensem, by the Indian Treasury.
Cornelia used to sing to him, and Jenkins used to play;
He praised unblushingly her notes, for he was false as they;
So when the winds of April turned the budding roses brown,
Cornelia told her husband:—Tom, you mustn't send him down.
They haled him from his regiment, which didn't much regret him;
They found for him an office-stool, and on that stool they set him.
To play with maps and catalogues three idle hours a day,
And draw his plump retaining fee—which means his double pay.
Now, ever after dinner, when the coffee-cups are brought,
Ahasuerus waileth o'er the grand pianoforte;
And, thanks to fair Cornelia, his fame hath waxen great,
And Ahasuerus Jenkins is a power in the State!