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Written in 1911, The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God is as much a dramatic monologue as it is a poem and became a popular Music Hall refrain which would have delighted its author James Milton Hayes, a plain spoken northerner who was to win the Military Cross in World War One. He wrote a series of such monologues and as an actor had always intended them to be performed. 
The Little Yellow God was by far the most popular of his rhyming monologues so popular in fact it seemed everyone in Edwardian Britain from the highest to the lowest could quote at least its opening lines. 
The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God 
 
There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu, 
There’s a little marble cross below the town; 
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew, 
And the Yellow God forever gazes down. 
 
He was known as “Mad Carew” by the subs at Khatmandu, 
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell; 
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks, 
And the Colonel’s daughter smiled on him as well. 
 
He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong, 
The fact that she loved him was plain to all. 
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun 
To celebrate her birthday with a ball. 
 
He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew; 
They met next day as he dismissed a squad; 
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do 
But the green eye of the little Yellow God. 
 
On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance, 
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars: 
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile, 
Then went out into the night beneath the stars. 
 
He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn, 
And a gash across his temple dripping red; 
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day, 
And the Colonel’s daughter watched beside his bed. 
 
He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through; 
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod; 
He bade her search the pocket saying “That’s from Mad Carew,” 
And she found the little green eye of the god. 
 
She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do, 
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet; 
But she wouldn’t take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone 
With the jewel that he’d chanced his life to get. 
 
When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night, 
She thought of him and hurried to his room; 
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air 
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro’ the gloom. 
 
His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through; 
The place was wet and slipp’ry where she trod; 
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew, 
‘Twas the “Vengeance of the Little Yellow God.” 
 
There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu, 
There’s a little marble cross below the town; 
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew, 
And the Yellow God forever gazes down. 
Tagged as: Poetry
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