The Queen she sent to look for me,
The sergeant he did say,
“Young man, a soldier will you be
For thirteen pence a day?”
For thirteen pence a day did I
Take off the things I wore,
And I have marched to where I lie,
And I shall march no more.
My mouth is dry, my shirt is wet,
My blood runs all away,
So now I shall not die in debt
For thirteen pence a day.
To-morrow after new young men
The sergeant he must see,
For things will all be over then
Betwixt the Queen and me.
And I shall have to bate my price,
For in the grave, they say,
Is neither knowledge nor device
Nor thirteen pence a day.
A.E. Housman, Last Poems
previous – next
Public domain: first published in 1922.