The Old General

Little Annabelle to please,
(Lacking grace, I grant),
Grandpa down on hands and knees
Plays the elephant.
Annabelle shrieks with delight,
Bouncing up and down,
On his back and holding tight
To his dressing gown.

As they roll and bowl along,
Round and round the room,
There is sunshine and a song
'Spite December gloom.
Yet we hear not Grandpa's groans,
Hushed his beard inside,
As his old rheumatic bones
Ache with every stride.

He has known his golden days,
Soldiered with the best;
And to prove the people's praise
Medals bright his breast.
Yet though his renown we chant,
How we love him well
When he plays the elephant
Just for Annabelle!

by Robert William Service

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