> Peter Bellamy > Songs > Snarleyow

Snarleyow

[words Rudyard Kipling, music trad.]

Reddit r/PeterBellamy: Out of Print and Bootleg Recordings

Snarleyow is a grisly war poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads (New York and London: Macmillan and Co., 1892, pp. 165-168).

Peter Bellamy sang Snarleyow, to the tune of Down in the Coalmine, in 1980 in a four hour Kipling Radio Documentary on ABC Radio. It is available on the Reddit channel r/PeterBellamy in the thread Out of Print and Bootled Recordings.

I don't know of any published recording of Snarleyow by Peter Bellamy.

Lyrics

Rudyard Kipling's poem Snarleyow

This 'appened in a battle to a batt'ry of the corps
Which is first among the women an' amazin' first in war;
An' what the bloomin' battle was I don't remember now,
But Two's off-lead 'e answered to the name o' Snarleyow.

    Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
    Down in the Cavalry, Colonel'e swears;
    But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
    Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

They was movin' into action, they was needed very sore,
To learn a little schoolin' to a native army corps,
They 'ad nipped against an uphill, they was tuckin' down the brow,
When a tricky, trundlin' round-shot give the knock to Snarleyow.

They cut 'im loose an' left 'im—'e was almost tore in two—
But he tried to follow after as a well-trained 'orse should do;
'E went an' fouled the limber, an' the Driver's Brother squeals:
“Pull up, pull up for Snarleyow—'is 'ead's between 'is 'eels!”

The Driver 'umped 'is shoulder, for the wheels was goin' round,
An' there aren't no “Stop, conductor!” when a batt'ry's changin' ground;
Sez 'e: “I broke the beggar in, an' very sad I feels,
But I couldn't pull up, not for you—your 'ead between your 'eels!”

'E 'adn't 'ardly spoke the word, before a droppin' shell
A little right the batt'ry an' between the sections fell;
An' when the smoke 'ad cleared away, before the limber wheels,
There lay the Driver's Brother with 'is 'ead between 'is 'eels.

Then sez the Driver's Brother, an' 'is words was very plain,
“For Gawd's own sake get over me, an' put me out o' pain.”
They saw 'is wounds was mortial, an' they judged that it was best,
So they took an' drove the limber straight across 'is back an' chest.

The Driver'e give nothin' 'cept a little coughin' grunt,
But 'e swung 'is 'orses 'andsome when it came to “Action front!”
An' if one wheel was juicy, you may lay your Monday head
'Twas juicier for the n***rs when the case begun to spread.

The moril of this story, it is plainly to be seen:
You 'avn't got no families when servin' of the Queen—
You ‘avn't got no brothers, fathers, sisters, wives, or sons—
If you want to win your battles take an' work your bloomin' guns!

    Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
    Down in the Cavalry, Colonel 'e swears;
    But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
    Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

Peter Bellamy sings Snarleyow

This 'appened in a battle to a battery of the corps
Which is first among the women an' amazin' first in war;
An' what that bloomin' battle was I don't remember now,
But Two's off-lead 'e answered to the name o' Snarleyow.

    Down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
    Down in the Cavalry, the Colonel he swears;
    But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
    Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

They was movin' into action, they was needed very sore,
To learn a little schoolin' to a native army corps,
They'd nipped against an uphill, they was tuckin' down the brow,
When a tricky, trundlin' round-shot give the knock to Snarleyow.

They cut 'im loose an' left 'im—'e was almost tore in two—
But he tried to follow after like a well-trained 'orse should do;
'E went an' fouled the limber, an' the Driver's Brother squeals:
“Pull up, pull up for Snarleyow—'is 'ead's between 'is 'eels!”

The Driver 'umped 'is shoulder, for the wheels was goin' round,
There ain't no “Stop, conductor!” when a batt'ry's changin' ground;
Sez 'e: “I broke the beggar in, an' very sad I feels,
But I wouldn't pull up, not for you—your 'ead between your 'eels!”

And 'e 'adn't 'ardly spoke the word, before a droppin' shell
A little right the batt'ry an' between the sections fell;
An' when the smoke had cleared away, before the limber wheels,
There lay the Driver's Brother with 'is 'ead between 'is 'eels.

Then sez the Driver's Brother, an' 'is words was very plain,
“Oh for Gawd's sake run it over me, an' put me out of pain.”
They saw 'is wounds was mortial, an' they judged that it was best,
So they took an' drove the limber straight across 'is back an' chest.

The Driver he give nothin' but a little coughin' grunt,
But 'e swung 'is 'orses 'andsome when it come to “Action front!”
An' if one wheel was juicy, you can lay your Monday head
It was juicier for the heathens when the case begin to spread.

So the moril of this story, it is plainly to be seen:
That you 'avn't got no families when you're servin' of the Queen—
You ‘avn't got no brothers, fathers, sisters, wives, or sons—
If you want to win your battles take an' work the bloomin' guns!

    For down in the Infantry, nobody cares;
    Down in the Cavalry, Colonel 'e swears;
    But down in the lead with the wheel at the flog
    Turns the bold Bombardier to a little whipped dog!

Acknowledgements

Thank you very much to David Randall for informing me on this Peter Bellamy performance on the Kipling Radion Documentary.