Ubique (poem)

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Plaque unveiled October 20, 1971 in King Street (Dundas, Hamilton, Ontario)

Ubique is a poem by Rudyard Kipling about the Boer War, published in The Five Nations in 1903.[1]

It's title is derived from the Motto and Battle Honour of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, however the opening lines are attributed to the lack of knowledge of Latin within the ordinary ranks of the Gunners. Ubique is pronounced "Ooh-Bee-Kway", but is generally pronounced as "You-Bee-Kway".

The Poem[edit]

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may – “You bike,” “you bykwee,” “ubbikwee” – alludin’ to R. A. It serves ‘Orse, Field, an’ Garrison as motto for a crest; An’ when you’ve found out all it means I’ll tell you ‘alf the rest.

Ubique means the long-range Krupp be’ind the long-range ‘ill – Ubique means you’ll pick it up an’, while you do, stand still. Ubique means you’ve caught the flash an’ timed it by the sound. Ubique means five gunners’ ‘ash before you’ve loosed a round.

Ubique means Blue Fuse, an’ make the ‘ole to sink the trail. Ubique means stand up an’ take the Mauser’s ‘alf-mile ‘ail. Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can ‘old. Ubique means that ‘orse’s scream which turns your innards cold!

Ubique means “Bank, ‘Olborn, Bank – a penny all the way” – The soothin’, jingle-bump-an’-clank from day to peaceful day. Ubique means “They’ve caught De Wet, an’ now we shan’t be long.” Ubique means “I much regret, the beggar’s goin’ strong!”

Ubique means the tearin’ drift where, breach-block jammed with mud, The khaki muzzles duck an’ lift across the khaki flood. Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers. Ubique means mirage again an’ shellin’ all outdoors.

Ubique means “Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein.” Ubique means “Of-load your guns” – at midnight in the rain! Ubique means “More mounted men. Return all guns to store.” Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps.

Ubique means that warnin’ grunt the perished linesman knows, When o’er ‘is strung an’ sufferin’ front the shrapnel sprays ‘is foes; An’ as their firin’ dies away the ‘usky whisper runs From lips that ‘aven’t drunk all day: “The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!”

Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any’ow, From Colesberg Kop to Quagga’s Poort – from Ninety-Nine till now – By what I’ve ‘eard the others tell an’ I in spots ‘ave seen, There’s nothin’ this side ‘Eaven or ‘Ell Ubique doesn’t mean!


Meaning[edit]

Ubique ('everywhere' in Latin) is the motto of the Royal Artillery[2] and the Royal Engineers.[3]. It was given to them by King William IV in 1832 and in 1833 it was further granted as a battle honour to the Royal Artillery in place of all former and later battle honours they could receive.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Five Nations, The University of Newcastle, Australia
  2. ^ "The Verse of Rudyard Kipling, Major General's Page". Zeitcom.com. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  3. ^ Royal Engineers

External links[edit]