I was out early to-day, spying about From the top of a haystack -- such a lovely morning -- And when I mounted again to canter back I saw across a field in the broad sunlight A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along With a rook-rifle held at the read, and -- would you believe it? -- A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.
So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster, And shouted out "the top of the morning" to him, And wished him "Good sport!" -- and then I remembered My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing: And I rode nearer, and added, "I can only suppose You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief's order Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies By hunting and shooting." But he stood and saluted And said earnestly, "I beg your pardon, Sir, I was only going out to shoot a sparrow To feed my cat with." So there was the whole picture, The lovely early morning, the occasional shell Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape, -- Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting, And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.
I may be wrong, or I may have told it badly, But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.