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Loot

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy]

Loot is a poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Barrack-Room Ballads. Peter Bellamy sang it on his third album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Peter Bellamy Sings the Barrack-Room Ballads of Rudyard Kipling. This track was also included on his Free Reed anthology Wake the Vaulted Echoes. Peter Bellamy commented in the album's sleeve notes:

This poem has let Kipling in for a great deal of criticism on the dubious grounds that to describe is to condone; in fact it is simply a brilliant portrait of an extremely unpleasant character. The roguish rhythm suggested the tune.

Peter Bellamy re-recorded the song in 1990 for his privately issued cassette Soldiers Three.

Lyrics

Loot

If you've ever stole a pheasant-egg be'ind the keeper's back,
  If you've ever snigged the washin' from the line,
If you've ever crammed a gander in your bloomin' 'aversack,
  You will understand this little song o' mine.
But the service rules are 'ard, an' from such we are debarred,
  For the same with English morals does not suit.
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
W'y, they call a man a robber if 'e stuffs 'is marchin' clobber
  With the—

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Loo! loo! Lulu! lulu! Loo! loo! Loot! loot! loot!
  Ow the loot!
  Bloomin' loot!
That's the thing to make the boys git up an' shoot!
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
  It's the same with dogs an' men,
  If you'd make 'em come again
  Clap 'em forward with a Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot!
Whoopee! Tear 'im, puppy! Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! loot! loot!

If you've knocked a nigger edgeways when 'e's thrustin' for your life,
  You must leave 'im very careful where 'e fell;
You can thank your stars an' gaiters if you didn't feel 'is knife
  That you ain't told off to bury 'im as well.
An' then the sweatin' Tommies wonder as they spade the beggars under
  Why lootin' should be entered as a crime;
But if my song you'll 'ear, I'll show you plain an' clear
  'Ow to pay yourself for fightin' overtime.
With the—

Now remember when you're 'acking round a gilded Burma god
  That 'is eyes is very often precious stones;
An' if you treat a nigger to a dose o' cleanin'-rod
  'E's like to show you everything 'e owns.
But when 'e won't prodooce no more, pour some water on the floor
  An' where you 'ear it answer 'ollow to the boot
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
When the ground begins to sink, shove your baynick down the chink,
  An' that's where you're sure to touch the loot
You touch the—

When from 'ouse to 'ouse you're 'unting, you must always work in pairs—
  It 'alves the gain, but safer you will find—
For a single man gets bottled on them twisty-wisty stairs,
  An' a woman comes and clobs 'im from be'ind.
But when you've turned 'em inside out, an' it seems beyond a doubt
  As if there ain't enough to dust a flute
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
Well before you sling your 'ook, at the 'ousetops take a look,
  For it's underneath the tiles they 'ide the loot.
They hide the—

You can mostly square a Sergint an' a Quartermaster too,
  If you only take the proper way to go;
I could never keep my pickin's, but I've taught you all I knew—
  But don't you never say I told you so.
So now I'll bid good-bye, 'cos I'm gettin' rather dry,
  An' I hear another tunin' up to toot
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
So 'ere's good-luck to those that wears the Widow's clo'es,
  An' the Devil send 'em all they want o' loot!
They want the—

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Loo! loo! Lulu! lulu! Loo! loo! Loot! loot! loot!
  Ow the loot!
  Bloomin' loot!
In the tunic an' the mess-tin an' the boot!
    (cornet: Toot! toot!)
  It's the same with dogs an' men,
  If you'd make 'em come again
Whoop 'em forward with a Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! loot! loot!
Heeya! Sick 'im, puppy! Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! loot! loot!