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One Each Apiece All Round

by Stanley Holloway (1931)

Boys will be boys
Boys will be boys

A few terms in this poem may stump some readers...

  • heeltap (verse 5): Residue of liquor remaining in a glass or bottle after drinking
  • CB (verse 13): Confined to Barracks
  • brawl (verse 1): The original meaning of to brawl was less violent than it is today and simply meant 'to brag' or 'to shout'. In the first verse of this poem, Sam is brought before his C.O. to explain why he'd been fighting. Sam's excuse was that he'd been drunk, but it raises yet again the conundrum: The military needs people who enjoy fighting and killing and use similarly minded people to train and programme them. Yet at the same time, they are expected to behave in a civilised manner when drunk!

No. 2468
Private Samuel Small
Were up before his Captain
To explain away a brawl.

The Captain said "Now state your case,
But please be short and brief,
Tell everything that happened
To the best of your belief."

"Well now," said Sam, "it's like this 'ere
Me and some other chaps
Had a little celebration
And a drink or two perhaps.

"It happened to be me birthday,
And on counting out I found
I'd got enough out of me pay
To have one apiece all round.

"We drank 'em up, no heeltaps
And then the same again,
"Here's a health unto his Majesty,"
We sang, "long may he reign."

"With chorus after chorus
We made the walls resound,
And then to keep things going
We had one each apiece all round.

"It were nearly time for lights out
And getting rather late,
We had no money left for drinks
So we put 'em on the slate.

"Suddenly out went the lights
Without the slightest warning,
We all trooped out but not without
A bottle for the morning.

"Across the barrack square we went
As bold as any gentry,
It was a lark when in the dark
We come across a sentry.

Photo by Tim 'Avatar' Bartel

Do you enjoy a drink now and then?
Many people do, often when socializing with friends and family. Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, and, of course, how much you drink. Rethinking Drinking

"'Alt, who goes there?" the sentry cried,
We firmly stood our ground.
"It's only Sam," I cried, "and we've had
One each apiece all round,

"We've been drinking... drinking... drinking.
We got into the barrack room and started to undress,
Just then the Sergeant came along,
Straight from the Sergeants' Mess.

"We shut the door, sat on the floor,
We never made a sound
And to finish off me birthday,
We had one each apiece all round."

"Well, Private Small," said Captain,
"I shall have to punish thee
For this grave misdemeanour,
You will get ten days' CB."

"Ten days' CB," said Samuel,
"That's heavy I'll be bound."
Said Captain "Split among your pals,
It's one each apiece all round."


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