Danny Deever, by Rudyard Kipling

Danny Deever, by Rudyard Kipling July 3, 2015

Kipling’s poem “Danny Deever” is about a soldier who is going to be hanged for shooting a fellow soldier while he slept.

“What are the bugles blowin’ for?” said Files-on-Parade.
“To turn you out, to turn you out”, the Colour-Sergeant said.
“What makes you look so white, so white?” said Files-on-Parade.
“I’m dreadin’ what I’ve got to watch”, the Colour-Sergeant said.
For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
The regiment’s in ‘ollow square — they’re hangin’ him to-day;
They’ve taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
An’ they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.

It’s a classic; and like many of Kipling’s poems it has been set to music.  The best version I know is performed by the opera singer named Leonard Warren; he captures the horror of the offense and of the penalty perfectly.

The words are available at On-Line Literature.



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