ABDUL, THE BULBUL AMEER

Song
Original poem by Percy French (1854, copyright 1920)

Mameluke: slave convert to Islam serving as a soldier.
Skibook: sword
Kalmuck, a member of a Mongol tribe that lived in the lower Volga region of Russia.
Fly: “a covered pleasure carriage drown by a horse.”


The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah
Was Abdul Abulbul Ameer.
If you wanted a man to encourage the van
Or shout “Hip Hooray” in the rear
Or storm a redoubt, you had only to shout
For Abdul Abulbul Ameer.

Now the heroes were many and well-known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar
But the bravest of these, whom no man could appease
Of [sic] Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
He could imitate most, player Poker and Pool
And perform on the swinging guitar.
In fact, quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.

One day this bold Russian he shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer
Down town he did go, where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Ameer.
“Young man”, quote Abdul, “Has your life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career!
Vile infidel know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Ameer.”

Said Ivan: “My friend, your remarks, in the end
Will avail you but little, I fear
For you’ll never survive to repeat them alive,
Mr. Abdul Abulbul Ameer.”
“Then take your last look on sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
By this, I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.”

Then the bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibook
With a cry of “Allah Akbar”
And with deadly intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
They fought through the night, in the pale yellow light
The din it was heard from afar

And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame
Of Abdul and Ivan Skivar.

As Abdul’s long knife was extracting the life
(In fact he was shouting “Hurra”)
He felt himself struck by that wily Kalmuck
Count Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly
Expecting the victor to cheer
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul Abulbul Ameer.

Czar Petrovitch, too, in his spectacles blue
Drove up in his new-crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.
A tombstone arose where the Blue Danube flows
And engraved there in characters clear are:
Stranger, pass by, but contribute a sigh
For Abdul Abulbul Ameer.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps
‘Neath the light of the pale polar star.
And the name that she murmurs, so oft as she weep
Is Ivan Skivinsky Skivar.

Iran/Persia
ABDUL, THE BULBUL AMEER