Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/80

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THE OVERLAND MAIL

[Foot-service to the Hills]

In the name of the Empress of India, make way,
O Lords of the Jungle, wherever you roam,
The woods are awake at the end of the day—
We exiles are waiting for letters from Home.
Let the robber retreat—and the tiger turn tail—
In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail!


With a jingle of bells as the dusk gathers in,
He turns to the foot-path that heads up the hill—
The bags on his back and a cloth round his chin,
And, tucked in his waistbelt, the Post Office bill;—
"Despatched on this date, as received by the rail,
"Per runner, two bags of the Overland Mail."


Is the torrent in spate? He must ford it or swim.

Has the rain wrecked the road? He must climb by the cliff.