I Wonder What Happened to Him?

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Noël Coward

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise". more »


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Verse 1
 The India that one read about
 And may have been misled about
 In one respect has kept itself intact.
 Though ‘Pukka Sahib' traditions may have cracked
 And thinned
 The good old Indian army's still a fact.
 That famous monumental man
 The Officer and Gentleman
 Still lives and breathes and functions from Bombay to Katmandu
 At any moment one can glimpse
 Matured or embryonic ‘Blimps'
 Vivaciously speculating as to what became of who.
 Though Eastern sounds may fascinate your ear
 When West meets West you're always sure to hear-
 Refrain 1
 Whatever became of old Bagot?
 I haven't seen him for a year.
 Is it true that young Forbes had to marry that Faggot
 He met in the Vale of Kashmir?
 Have you had any news
 Or that chap in the “Blues”,
 Was it Prosser or Pyecroft or Pym?
 He was stationed in Simla, or was it Bengal?
 I know he got tight at a ball in Nepal
 And wrote several four-letter words on the wall.
 I wonder what happened to him!
 Refrain 2
 Whatever became of old Shelley?
 Is it true that young Briggs was cashiered
 For riding quite nude on a push-bike through Delhi
 The day the new Viceroy appeared?
 Have you had any word
 Of that bloke in the ‘Third',
 Was it Southerby, Sedgwick or Sim?
 They had him thrown out of the club in Bombay
 For, apart from his mess bill exceeding his pay,
 He took to pig-sticking in quite the wrong way.
 I wonder what happened to him!
 Verse 2
 One must admit that by and large
 Upholders of the British Raj*
 Don't shine in conversation as a breed.
 Though Indian army officers can read
 A bit
 Their verbal wit-has rather run to seed.
 Their splendid insularity
 And roguish jocularity
 Was echoing through when Victoria was Queen.
 In restaurants and dining-cars,
 In messes, clubs and hotel bars
 They try to maintain tradition in the way it's always been.
 Though worlds may change and nations disappear
 Above the shrieking chaos you will hear-
 Refrain 3
 Whatever became of old Tucker?
 Have you heard any word of young Mills
 Who ruptured himself at the end of a chukka
 And had to be sent to the hills?
 They say that young Lees
 Had a go of ‘D.T.'s'
 And his hopes of promotion are slim.
 According to Stubbs, who's a bit of a louse,
 The silly young blighter went out on a ‘souse',
 And took two old tarts into Government House.
 I wonder what happened to him!
 Refrain 4
 Whatever became of old Keeling?
 I hear that he got back from France
 And frightened three nuns in a train in Darjeeling
 By stripping and waving his lance!
 D'you remember Munroe,
 In the P.A.V.O?
 He was tallish and mentally dim.
 The talk of heredity can't be quite true,
 He was dropped on his head by his ayah at two,
 I presume that by now he'll have reached G.H.Q.
 I'm sure that's what happened to him!
 Refrain 5
 Whatever became of old Archie?
 I hear he departed this life
 After rounding up ten sacred cows in Karachi
 To welcome the Governor's wife.
 D'you remember young Phipps
 Who had very large hips
 And whose waist was excessively slim?
 Well, it seems that some doctor in Grosvenor Square
 Gave him hormone injections for growing his hair
 And he grew something here, and he grew something there.
 I wonder what happened to her-him?
 [Note:  *In an early version the lack of conversational skills of the “upholders of the British Raj” was replace by-]
 Devote themselves to action and to deed.

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