Portal:Featured texts/11

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Arithmetic on the Frontier, first published in Departmental Ditties and Other Verses in 1886, is a sardonic poem describing the Second Anglo-Afghan war between highly-educated British soldiers and poor tribesmen. This poem is still relevant to many conflicts today, and is frequently cited in news articles and blogs.

A great and glorious thing it is
       To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
       Ere reckoned fit to face the foe—
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."

Three hundred pounds per annum spent
       On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
       Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"
And after—ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our 'ologies. (Read on)

Featured June 2007