The Ballad Of Ahmed Shah Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


This is the ballad of Ahmed ShahA
Dealer in tats in the Sudder BazarB
By the gate that leads to the Gold MinarC
How he was done by a youth from MorarC
Ahmed Shah was a man of peaceD
His beard and turban were thick with greaseD
His paunch was huge and his speech was slowE
And he swindled the subalterns high and lowE
Scores of subalterns came to tryC
The tats that he sold and remained to buyC
Scores of subalterns later onF
Found that their flashiest mounts were 'gone'F
Some in the front and some behindG
Some were roarers and some went blindG
Scores of subalterns over their 'weeds'D
Cursed old Ahmed and all his deedsD
But Ahmed Shah in his gully sat stillH
And ever he fashioned a Little Black PillH
Yet a judgement was brewing for Ahmed ShahA
Like a witches cauldron in far MorarC
And the youth that brewed it has eyes of blueI
And his cheek was beardless and boundless tooI
Softly he mused o'er a trichi thickJ
'By the Beard of the Prophet I've got the trick '-
Then he rose from his chair with an artless grinF
And called the Battery Sergeant inF
'Sergeant' he said 'Hasst aught for meK
In the way of a 'caster' with lots of gee '-
The sergeant pondered and answered slowE
'There's a red roan gelding that's bound to goE
At the next Committee 'E ain't no useD
Excep' for kickin' recruits to the deuceD
'E's chained in the sick lines '-
The subaltern's browC
Was puckered with thought for a moment ThenF
The sergeant was richer by rupees tenF
'When the next Committee sits' quoth heK
'O Sergeant buy up that brute for me '-
So the plot was laid and the long weeks passedL
And the red road gelding was duly castL
They led him in chains to the subaltern's stallM
And gave him his gram' through a hole in the wallM
The subaltern mixed it When morning cameN
The red road gelding was strangely tameN
He bit not nor kicked nor essayed to slayO
And he and the sub went north that dayO
Till they came to the gully of Ahmed ShahA
The man and the horse from far MorarC
The subaltern stated his funds were lowE
And he came mehrbani to 'sell karo'C
Then Ahmed Shah with his eyes agogP
Broke the Tenth Command in the decalogueP
For the roan was a monster in size and thewsD
And stood over sixteen hand in his shoesD
'Sahib kitna mangta ' With brow sereneF
The subaltern softly answered 'Teen'F
He haggled an hour that dealer thriftyK
Till the price was lowered to do sow fiftyK
And the money was paid in greasy rupeesD
While the red roan gelding drowsed at his easeD
The subaltern left him and Ahmed smiledQ
'By Allah how mad is this pink faced childQ
I will stuff that ghorah with attah and goorC
And sell him again to some English soorC
For a clear eight fifty ' and e'en as he spokeP
The devil they'd drugged in the red roan wokeP
Then the head ropes snapped and the heel ropes drewC
And the stallions squealed as the roan went throughC
And the syces ran as men run for lifeR
And the yard was troubled with equine strifeR
Till the berserk rage of the beat was o'erC
And he dropped to slumber at Ahmed's doorC
Then a veil was lifted from Ahmed's eyesD
And he raised the eyelids and punched the thighsD
Felt the tense pulse slacken the muscles stillH
And fathomed the Trcik of the Opium PillH
His own old dodge that had brought him pelfR
Had the subaltern turned against himselfR
Did he swear though his three best tats were lameN
And half of the city would hear of his shameN
Did he seek the law courts With downcast eyeC
He hailed an ekka that jingled byC
And drove to the station where filled with peaceD
The subaltern counted the greasy rupeesD
What passed between them I cannot sayD
The subaltern turns the question awayD
With an innocent laugh but the men of MorarC
Say he still gets ponies from Ahmed ShahA
Ponies to bet on but not to buyC
Weeds to look at but devils to flyC
And once in a while comes a tiny pill boxD
The Doctor abets him Whenever I'm ableS
I plunge to my last clean shirt on their stableS

Rudyard Kipling


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