No proposition Euclid wrote,
No formulæ 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.
One sword-knot stolen from the camp
Will pay for all the school-expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blest with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hill-sides 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.