(by Marriott Edgar (1934)
When Sam Small joined the regiment,
'E were no' but a raw recruit;
And they marched 'im away one wint'ry day
'Is musket course to shoot.
They woke 'im up at the crack o' dawn,
Wi' many a nudge and shake;
'E were dreaming that t'Sergeant 'ad broke 'is neck,
And 'e didn't want to wake.
Lieutenant Bird came on Parade,
And chided the lads for mooning.
'E talked in a voice like a pound o' plums,
'Is tonsils needed pruning.
"Move to the right by fours," 'e said,
Crisp-like, but most severe,
But Sam didn't know 'is right from 'is left,
So pretended 'e didn't 'ear.
Said Lieutenant, "Sergeant - take that man's name,"
The Sergeant took out 'is pencil,
'E were getting ashamed o' taking Sam's name,
And were thinking o' cutting a stencil.
Sam carried a musket, a knapsack and coat,
Spur boots that 'e'd managed to wangle,
A 'atchet, a spade - in fact as Sam said,
'E'd got everything bar t'kitchen mangle.
"March easy, men," Lieutenant cried,
As the musket range drew near,
"March easy me blushing Aunt Fanny," said Sam,
"What a chance, with all this 'ere."
When they told 'im to fire a five 'undred yards,
Sam nearly 'ad a fit,
For a six-foot wall, or the Albert 'All,
Were all 'e were likely to 'it.
'E 'ad fitted a cork in 'is musket end
To keep his powder dry;
And 'e didn't remember to tak' it out
The first time 'he let fly.
'Is gun went off with a kind of pop!
Where 'is bullet went no one knew,
But next day they spoke of a tinker's moke
Being killed by a cork near Crew.
At three 'undred yards, Sam shut 'is eyes
And took a careful aim;
'E failed to score, but the marker swore
And walked away quite lame.
At two 'undred yards, Sam fired so wild,
That the Sergeant feared for 'is skin,
And the lads all cleared int' t'neighbouring field
And started to dig 'emselves in.
"Ooh Sergeant! I hear a scraping noise,"
Said Sam, "What can it be ?"
The noise that 'e 'eard were Lieutenant Bird,
'Oo were climbing the nearest tree.
"Ooh Sergeant!" said Sam, "I've hit the bull!
What price my shooting now ?"
Said the Sergeant, "A bull! Yer gormless fool,
Yon isn't a bull, it's a cow!"
At fifty yards 'is musket kicked,
And went off with a noise like a blizzard,
And down came crow looking fair surprised
With 'is ram-rod through its gizzard.
As 'e loaded 'is musket to fire again,
Said the Sergeant, "Don't waste shot!
Yer'd best fix bayonet and charge, my lad,
It's the only chance yer've got!"
Sam kept loading 'is gun while the Sergeant spoke
'Til the bullets peeped out at the muzzle,
When all of a sudden it went off, bang!
What made it go off were a puzzle.
The bullets flew out in a kind of spray,
And everything round got peppered.
When they counted 'is score,
'E'd got eight bulls-eyes, four magpies,
Two lambs and a shepherd.
And the Sergeant for this got a D.C.M.
And the Colonel an O.B.E.
Lieutenant Bird got a D.S.O.
and Sam got - five days C.B.