The Seven Seas/The Mother-Lodge

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The Seven Seas by Rudyard Kipling
The Mother-Lodge
Also published in Barrack-Room Ballads (Second Series, 1896).

THE MOTHER-LODGE

There was Rundle, Station Master,
 An' Beazeley of the Rail,
An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
 An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
 Our Master twice was 'e,
With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
 Old Framjee Eduljee.


Outside—'Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!'
Inside—'Brother,' an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother Lodge out there!


We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
 An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
 Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
 An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
 The Roman Catholick!


We 'adn't good regalia,
 An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
 An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
 It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
 Excep', per'aps, it's us.


For monthly, after Labour,
 We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquits,
 Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
 Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
 Of the God 'e knew the best.


So man on man got talkin',
 An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
 An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
 An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
 Changin' pickets in our 'ead.


Full oft on Guv'ment service
 This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
An' bore fraternal greetin's
 To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded
 From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
 In my Mother Lodge once more!


I wish that I might see them,
 My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
 An' the hog-darn[1] passin' down;
An' the old khansamah[2] snorin'
 On the bottle-khana[3] floor,
Like a Master in good standing
 With my Mother Lodge once more!


Outside—'Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!'
Inside—'Brother,' an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother Lodge out there!


  1. Cigar-lighter.
  2. Butler.
  3. Pantry.