Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of Rudyard Kipling > Text of Army Headquarters

A poem by Rudyard Kipling

Army Headquarters

Title:     Army Headquarters
Author: Rudyard Kipling [More Titles by Kipling]

Old is the song that I sing--
Old as my unpaid bills--
Old as the chicken that kitmutgars bring
Men at dak-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 quit 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 to Simla when the year was at the spring,
And underneath the deodars eternally did sing.

He warbled like a bulbul, 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 with 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 coffeecups 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.

Rudyard Kipling's poem: Army Headquarters