The Song of the Exiles

That long white barracks by the sea
  Stares blankly seaward still,
But other grimy paws make free
  With pignuts on 'The Hill'.  

Fresh faces in the Gym appear, 
  New knives cut other names;
Fresh sinners carry on, I fear, 
  Our very same old games. 

Terms come and go, scenes shift and fade,
  The young moustache progresses; 
In place of call-over, 'parade',
  Instead of dinner, 'messes'. 

By some mysterious law of fate 
  I cannot understand,
Most College fledgelings gravitate 
  To 'India's coral strand'.  

In steamy mists of moist Bombay, 
  Or dreary Dum-Dum  'lines'.
  Or where Karachi dust-storms play,
An O.U.S.C.  pines. 

Some watch the tender tea-plant grow 
  In gardens of Cachar;
Some wait at Quetta for the slow 
  Sure-coming Frontier war. 

By Naga Hills our feet are set, 
  Or swamps of North Bengal;
Some spend their leave in far Tibet, 
  Some get no leave at all. 

Some lead the R.A. guns afield 
  (At least upon parade),
Some watch lest kutcha dams may yield 
  To rifts the rains have made. 

Some write voluminous reports 
  On 'forest land increase',
Some work at survey in the Ghats,  
  And some in the Police. 

Some prance beside their gorah-log 
  On bony beasts and strange,
Some test, at Murree or Jutogh, 
  The flashing signal's range. 

A scattered brotherhood, in truth,
  By mount, and stream, and sea,
We chase, with all the zeal of youth,
  Her Majesty's Rupee. 

Exiles are we—yet, through  our dreams
  Old scenes and faces glide,
So that the city's murmur seems
  The voice of Northam tide.