Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/163

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149
THE GALLEY-SLAVE

Yet they talk of times and seasons and of woe the years bring forth,
Of our galley swamped and shattered in the rollers of the North.
When the niggers break the hatches and the decks are gay with gore.
And a craven-hearted pilot crams her crashing on the shore.


She will need no half-mast signal, minute-gun, or rocket-flare,
When the cry for help goes seaward, she will find her servants there.
Battered chain-gangs of the orlop, grizzled drafts of years gone by,
To the bench that broke their manhood, they shall lash themselves and die.


Hale and crippled, young and aged, paid, deserted, shipped away—

Palace, cot, and lazaretto shall make up the tale that day