‘Less you want your toes trod off

(notes by Daniel Hadas)


First published as heading to “My Lord the Elephant” in Many Inventions (1893), where it is fancifully attributed to Barrack-Room Ballads, see our notes to  “My Lord the Elephant’: There are also helpful notes there on ‘byles’ and ‘forty-pounder’. Collected in Songs from Books (1912) and the later verse collections.

The Poem

For elephants and guns, see also ‘The Elephant’ in the Beast and Man in India poems and the ‘Elephants of the Gun-Teams’ section in ‘Parade-Song of the Camp-Animals’.