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A Ballad of Burial

by Rudyard Kipling, 1919

“Saint Praxed’s ever was the Church for peace.”

If down here I chance to die,
  Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of “I”
  To the Hills for old sake’s sake.
Pack me very thoroughly
  In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry—
  This observe for old sake’s sake.

To the railway station hie,
  There a single ticket take
For Umballa—goods-train—I
  Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly
  Spite of clamour coolies make;
Thus in state and dignity
  Send me up for old sake’s sake.

Next the sleepy Babu wake,
  Book a Kalka van “for four.”
Few, I think, will care to make
  Journeys with me any more
As they used to do of yore.
  I shall need a “special brake”—
’Thing I never took before—
  Get me one for old sake’s sake.

After that—arrangements make.
  No hotel will take me in,
And a bullock’s back would break
  ’Neath the teak and leaden skin.
Tonga-ropes are frail and thin,
  Or, did I a back-seat take,
In a tonga I might spin,—
  Do your best for old sake’s sake.

After that—your work is done.
  Recollect a Padre must
Mourn the dear departed one—
  Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don’t go down at once. I trust
  You will find excuse to “snake
Three days’ casual on the bust,”—
  Get your fun for old sake’s sake.

I could never stand the Plains.
  Think of blazing June and May,
Think of those September rains
  Yearly till the Judgment Day!
I should never rest in peace,
  I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease,
  To the Hills of old sake’s sake!

Published in Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Inclusive Edition, 1885-1918

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