The Plaint of the Junior Civilian





I have worked for ten seasons or more,
In Settlement, District, or Court;
I have served, with the rest of my corps,
All over the Province, in short.
From Ismail accursed, to the Bar,
From Jhang to Peshawur I roam,
And back from Kohat to Hissar;
But—
They tell me I'm `fresh out from Home'!

I have loved, I have lost, twice or thrice;
My weeds are `long Dawsons with straw';
1 can sit fourteen-ones of shod Vice,
And badger a pleader-at-law;
I can quote with precision the bulk
Of Currie's delectable tome;
I can coax a Hill Chief from a sulk,
And—
I find I am `fresh out from Home'.

I can flirt with the girls at the well
In dialect rude and uncouth;
I can force a fat Khattri to tell,
By accident, half of the truth.
I can chew like a Rajah my pan,
I can slang with a Naqqal or Dôm,
I can say, `Tera musha Pathan!"'
Yet—
They tell me I'm `fresh out from Home'.

That Home I have quitted an age.
Ten Junes in the District seem long.
For I sailed when `Our Boys"' was the rage,
And `Tommy, make room"' was the song;
There's a patch on the top of my pate
That needs not the care of the comb,
And thirteen-eleven's my weight;
Though—
They tell me I'm `fresh out from Home'.

I have worn my first saddle and second
Clean down to the wood of the tree;
And D.C.'s a dozen I've reckoned
Have managed my transfers and me;
I am learnéd in roadways and cess,
In rabi, rice-huskers, and loam-
Over thirty, but nevertheless,
Write—
The papers, I'm `fresh out from Home'.

[I have grievances many and sound,
That blossom and bloom with the years;
And imminent dangers surround
Myself and my `juvenile' peers
Who remember when Davies was lord,
When Egerton passed o'er the foam,
Ere Aitchison came—the abhorred;
Still—
We learn we are `fresh out from Home'.]

Oh, babes of the Punjab Commission,
Oh, sucklings of '73,
Consider our humble position,
Remember what juniors we be!
Oh, lads without standing or credit,
Nous, influence, uka1, aplomb,
The press, in its wisdom, hath said it:
We—
Are all of us `fresh out from Home'.