Here you will find the Long Poem Lieutenant-Colonel Flare of poet William Schwenck Gilbert
The earth has armies plenty, And semi-warlike bands, I dare say there are twenty In European lands; But, oh! in no direction You'd find one to compare In brotherly affection With that of COLONEL FLARE. His soldiers might be rated As military Pearls. As unsophisticated As pretty little girls! They never smoked or ratted, Or talked of Sues or Polls; The Sergeant-Major tatted, The others nursed their dolls. He spent his days in teaching These truly solemn facts; There's little use in preaching, Or circulating tracts. (The vainest plan invented For stifling other creeds, Unless it's supplemented With charitable DEEDS.) He taught his soldiers kindly To give at Hunger's call: "Oh, better far give blindly, Than never give at all! Though sympathy be kindled By Imposition's game, Oh, better far be swindled Than smother up its flame!" His means were far from ample For pleasure or for dress, Yet note this bright example Of single-heartedness: Though ranking as a Colonel, His pay was but a groat, While their reward diurnal Was - each a five-pound note. Moreover, - this evinces His kindness, you'll allow, - He fed them all like princes, And lived himself on cow. He set them all regaling On curious wines, and dear, While he would sit pale-ale-ing, Or quaffing ginger-beer. Then at his instigation (A pretty fancy this) Their daily pay and ration He'd take in change for his; They brought it to him weekly, And he without a groan, Would take it from them meekly And give them all his own! Though not exactly knighted As knights, of course, should be, Yet no one so delighted In harmless chivalry. If peasant girl or ladye Beneath misfortunes sank, Whate'er distinctions made he, They were not those of rank. No maiden young and comely Who wanted good advice (However poor or homely) Need ask him for it twice. He'd wipe away the blindness That comes of teary dew; His sympathetic kindness No sort of limit knew. He always hated dealing With men who schemed or planned; A person harsh - unfeeling - The Colonel could not stand. He hated cold, suspecting, Official men in blue, Who pass their lives detecting The crimes that others do. For men who'd shoot a sparrow, Or immolate a worm Beneath a farmer's harrow, He could not find a term. Humanely, ay, and knightly He dealt with such an one; He took and tied him tightly, And blew him from a gun. The earth has armies plenty, And semi-warlike bands, I'm certain there are twenty In European lands; But, oh! in no direction You'd find one to compare In brotherly affection With that of COLONEL FLARE.