On Fort Duty

There's tumult in the Khyber, 
There's feud at Ali Kheyl;
  For the Maliks of the Khyber
Are at it tooth and nail—
  With the stolen British carbine 
And the long Kohat jezail.  

And I look across the ramparts
  To the northward and the snow­ 
To the far Cherat cantonments;
  But alas! I cannot go
 From the dusty, dreary ramparts 
  Where the cannons grin arow!

There's fighting in the Khyber, 
  But it isn't meant for me,
Who am sent upon  'Fort-duty' 
  By this pestilent Ravi,
With just one other subaltern,
  And not a soul to see.

Oh! it's everlasting gun-drill 
  And eight-o'clock parades,
It's cleaning-up of mortars 
  (Likewise of carronades),
While the passes ring with rifles 
  And the noise of Afghan raids.

And I look across the ramparts 
  To the river broad and grey,
And I think of merry England
  Where the festive Horse Guards play. 
Oh! take the senior grades for this
  And spare the young R.A.!

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