by Robert Service
Some carol of the banjo, to its measure keeping time;
Of viol or of lute some make a song.
My battered old accordion, youre worthy of a rhyme,
Youve been my friend and comforter so long.
Round half the world Ive trotted you, a dozen years or more;
Youve given heaps of people lots of fun;
Youve set a host of happy feet a-tapping on the floor . . .
Alas! your dancing days are nearly done.
Ive played you from the palm-belt to the suburbs of the Pole;
From the silver-tipped sierras to the sea.
The gay and gilded cabin and the grimy glory-hole
Have echoed to your impish melody.
Ive hushed you in the dug-out when the trench was stiff with dead;
Ive lulled you by the coral-laced lagoon;
Ive packed you on a camel from the dung-fire on the bled,
To the hell-for-breakfast Mountains of the Moon.
Ive ground you to the shanty men, a-whooping heel and toe,
And the hula-hula graces in the glade.
Ive swung you in the igloo to the lousy Esquimau,
And the Haussa at a hundred in the shade.
The Nigger on the levee, and the Dinka by the Nile
have shuffled to your insolent appeal.
Ive rocked with glee the chimpanzee, and mocked the crocodile,
And shocked the pompous penquin and the seal.
Ive set the yokels singing in a little Surrey pub,
Apaches swinging in a Belville bar.
Ive played an obligato to the tom-toms rub-a-dub,
And the throb of Andalusian guitar.
From the Horn to Honolulu, from the Cape to Kalamazoo,
From Wick to Wicklow, Samarkand to Spain,
Youve roughed it with my kilt-bag like a comrade tried and true. . . .
Old pal! Well never hit the trail again.
Oh I know youre cheap and vulgar, youre an instrumental crime.
In drawing-rooms you havent got a show.
Youre a musical abortion, youre the voice of grit and grime,
Youre the spokesman of the lowly and the low.
Youre a democratic devil, youre the darling of the mob;
Youre a wheezy, breezy blasted bit of glee.
Youre the headache of the high-bow, youre the horror of the snob,
but youre worth your weight in ruddy gold to me.
For youve chided me in weakness and youve cheered me in defeat;
Youve been an anodyne in hours of pain;
And when the slugging jolts of life have jarred me off my feet,
Youve ragged me back into the ring again.
Ill never go to Heaven, for I know I am not fit,
The golden harps of harmony to swell;
But with asbestos bellows, if the devil will permit,
Ill swing you to the fork-tailed imps of Hell.
Yes, Ill hank you, and Ill spank you,
And Ill everlasting yank you
To the cinder-swinging satellites of Hell.