One of the best remembered of the Barrack-Room Ballads. Supi-Yaw-Lat was the widow of King Theebaw of Burma. Hathis are elephants. Setting is by Peter Bellamy adapted from the song, "10,000 Miles Away." [The Barrack-Room Ballads] Vocal: Tony Barrand; Concertina: John Roberts

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
     Come you back to Mandalay,
     Where the old Flotilla lay:
     Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
     On the road to Mandalay,
     Where the flyin'-fishes play,
     An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat - jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,
An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,
An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:
     Bloomin' idol made o'mud -
     Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd -
     Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!
     On the road to Mandalay

When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,
She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "Kulla-lo-lo!"
With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek agin' my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an' the hathis pilin' teak.
     Elephints a-pilin' teak
     In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
     Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!
     On the road to Mandalay

But that's all shove be'ind me - long ago an' fur away,
An' there ain't no 'busses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;
An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."
     No! you won't 'eed nothin' else
     But them spicy garlic smells,
     An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
     On the road to Mandalay

I am sick o' wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,
An' the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?
     Beefy face an' grubby 'and -
     Law! wot do they understand?
     I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
     On the road to Mandalay

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be -
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
     On the road to Mandalay,
     Where the old Flotilla lay,
     With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
     On the road to Mandalay,
     Where the flyin'-fishes play,
     An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

© Golden Hind Music