V. Grenadier

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

Public domain: first published in 1922.