an ebook published by Project Gutenberg Australia

Title: Backblock Ballads and Other Verses
Author: C.J. Dennis
eBook No.: 2100501h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: November 2021
Most recent update: November 2021

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore and Colin Choat

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Backblock Ballads and Other Verses

C.J. Dennis


CONTENTS

’Urry
Roamin’ Free
Langwidge
Doch-an-doris
An Old Master
Wanderers Lost
The Looting of Jim
Hopeful Hawkins
Mutton
The Homeward Track
Cow
Barley Grass
Snakes
Mornin’ Magpies
Up ’Long the Billabong
When the Sun’s Behind the Hill
Wheat
The Cruise of the “Nightmare”
The Ballad of Juno Sue
Me an’ Bates
Cleanin’
The Bleating
Comin’ ’Ome frum Shearin’
The Silent Member
On the Land
Toolangi

OTHER VERSES

The Sentimental Bloke
         1. A Spring Song
         2. The Intro
         3. The Stoush o’ Day
         4. Doreen
Brothers o’ Mine
The Joy Ride
The Tory
A Real Australian Austra—laise
My Poor Relation
The Martyred Democrat
The Idolators
The Lovers
The Nearing Drums
The Royal Hat
Under the Party Plan
Yarra Flats
The First Elective Ministry
It was Never Contemplated
Weighed In
The March
A Ballad of Elderly Kids
Moonshine
The Eternal Circle
The Chase of Ages
The Bridge Across the Crick
Son of a Fool
Suburbia — A Yearn
The High Priest
“Paw”
Weary
Brown’s Tram
The Bore
Overweight
Glossary

’Urry

Now, Ma-til-der! Ain’t cher dressed yet? I declare, the girl ain’t up!
Last as ushul. Move yerself, you sleepy’-ead!
Are you goin’ to lie there lazin’,
W’ile I — Nell, put down that basin;
Go an’ see if Bill has got the poddies fed;
Tell ’im not to move that clucky — ho, yer up, me lady. eh?
That’s wot comes from gallivantin’ late ut night.
Why, the sun is nearly — see now,
Don’t chu dare talk back at me now!
Set the table, Nell! Where’s Nell? Put out that light!

Now then, ’urry, goodness, ’urry! Mary, tell the men to come.
Oh there, drat the girl! MA-TIL-DER! where’s the jam?
You fergot it? Well, uv all ther . . . .
Mary! ’Ear me tell you call ther . . . .
Lord! there’s Baldy TANGLED IN THE BARB’-WIRE — SAM!
Now, then, take ’er steady, clumsy, or she’ll cut herself — LEAVE OFF!
Do you want the cow to — There! I never did!
Well, you mighter took ’er steady.
Sit up, Dad, yer late already.
Did ju put the tea in, Mary? Where’s the lid?

Oh, do ’urry! Where’s them buckets? Nell, ’as Bill brought in the cows?
Where’s that boy? Ain’t finished eatin’ yet, uv course;
Eat all day if ’e wus let to.
Mary, where’d yer father get to?
Gone! Wot! Call ’im back! DAD! Wot about that ’orse?
No, indeed, it ain’t my business; you kin see the man yerself.
No, I won’t! I’m sure I’ve quite enough to do.
If ’e calls ter-day about it,
’E kin either go without it,
Or elst walk acrost the paddick out to you.

Are the cows in, B-i-ll? Oh, there they are. Well, nearly time they — Nell,
Feed the calves, an’ pack the — Yes, indeed ju will!
Get the sepy-rater ready.
Woa, there, Baldy — steady, steady.
Bail up. Stop-er! Hi, Matilder! MARY! BILL!
Well, uv all th’ . . . Now you’ve done it.
Wait till Dad comes ’ome to-night;
When ’e sees the mess you’ve — Don’t stand starin’ there!
Go an’ get the cart an’ neddy;
An’ the cream cans — are they ready?
Where’s the . . . . There! Fergot the fowls, I do declare!

Chuck! — Chook! — CHOOK! Why, there’s that white un lost another chick to-day!
Nell, ’ow many did I count? — Oh, stop that row!
Wot’s ’e doin’? Oh, you daisy!
Do you mean to tell me, lazy,
Thet you ’aven’t fed the pigs until jus’ now?
Oh, do ’urry! There’s the men ull soon be knockin’ off fer lunch.
An’ we ’aven’t got the . . . . Reach that bacon down.
Get the billies, Nell, an’ — Mary,
Go an’ fetch the . . . . Wot? ’Ow dare ’e!
Bill, yer NOT to wear yer best ’at inter town!

Get up the cans, an’ — Nell, go down the paddick with the lunch;
There’s that dog gone off with . . . . Bill, do ’urry on!
You must get to town in fas’ time
Or you’ll miss the train like las’ time.
Oh, an’ Bill, if there’s SOME EMPTIES . . . . There, ’e’s gone !
Now then, Mary, ’urry up, or . . . . Ow !
GOOD GAWD, LOOK AT THAT CALF!
TAKE IT FRUM ’IM, or ’e’ll chew it inter bits!
You’d no right to leave it out there
With them calves and things about there.
’Eavens ! wot a state! Dad’s best! My, you’ll get fits!

’Ave you washed the things, Matilder? Oh, do ’urry, girl, yer late!
Seems to me you trouble more — TAKE CARE! — You dunce!
Now you’ve broke it! Well I never!
Ain’t chu mighty smart an’ clever;
Try’n to carry arf a dozen things at once.
No back answers now! You hussy! Don’t chu dare talk back at me
Or I’ll . . . . Nelly, did ju give them eggs to Bill?
Wot? CHU NEVER? Well I . . . . Mary,
Bring them dishes frum the dairy;
No, not them, the . . . . Lord, the sun’s be’ind the hill!

* * * * * * * *

All right, Dad, all right; don’t worry. Now Matilder, goodness, ’urry!
Where’d ju put that pie that’s over? Wot? Which shelf?
Mary, wot about the tea things?
Must I alwis ’ave to see things
Managed proper? Can’t chu ’tend to it yerself ?
Where’s that Bill ? Wot! ain’t ’e back yet? Did ju ever see the like?
Dad, ju’ll ’ave to take an’ talk to that young Turk.
Ev’ry time ’e goes to town there,
’E just stays an’ loafs aroun’ there;
While ’e leaves us wimmin ’ere to slave an’ work.

’Ave you cleaned the sepy-rater, Nell? Well, get along to bed.
No; you can’t go ’crost to Thompson’s place to-night;
You wus there las’ Chusday — See, miss,
Don’t chu toss your head at me, miss!
I won’t ’ave it. Mary, ’urry with that light!
Now then, get yer Dad the paper. Set down, Dad — ju must be tired.
’Ere, Matilder, put that almanick away!
Where’s them stockin’s I wus darnin’?
Bill an’ Mary, stop yer yarnin’!
Now then, Dad. Heigh-ho! Me fust sit down ter-day.

Roamin’ Free

The miser sits beside his hoard,
The lover tarries by his bride,
And he who neither may afford
Is free to roam the whole world wide.
Ye prate of cares, of plans amiss,
With voices grave and faces long;
While I — I ask of life but this:
To drink, to kiss, to troll a song —

And rove a-roamin’, roamin’ free —
A-ringin’ in the changes.
Why linger here to waste a tear
When joy awaits o’er the ranges?
Why tarry there to nurse a care
When golden days are over?
For far and wide, where e’er men abide,
There’s welcome for the rover.

Who seeks to earn a life of ease:
For honor, wealth, and fame exist;
Then, growing old, and having these,
To sit and think of what he’s missed?
I live for love of life alone;
You live in wait for fortune’s smile —
Quote proverbs at a rolling stone,
And gather moss and trouble while —

I rove a-roamin’, roamin’free —
A-ringin’ in the changes.
If there’s no moss this side for me
There’s heaps across the ranges.
So have your say and slave away,
And set a store by small things;
Ye may be lords of hard-earned hoards,
But I’m the lord of all things.

Am I a constant lover? Nay:
Love, bounded, cloys, and bright eyes fade;
And he who loves and rides away
Rides on to meet a fairer maid.
’Tis sure, I’d find, if wed to Nell,
’Twas Jess or Lil I loved the best.
My faith! I love them all too well
To choose the one and lose the rest.

And I live a-lovin’, lovin’ free —
A-ringin’ in the changes.
’Tis: “Kiss me Nell, and now farewell.”
(Jess waits across the ranges).
And this, I boast, the rover’s toast
You’ll find the wide world over:
“From names refrain, and tankards drain
To the lass that loves a rover.”

 

Langwidge

“The flamin’ cows!” ’e ses; ’e did, an’ worse;
    ’Twas ’orrible the langwidge that ’e used.
It made me blood run cold to ’ear ’im curse;
    An’ me that taken-back-like an’ confused;
    W’ile them poor beasts ’e belted an’ abused.
“They couldn’t shift,” ’e ses, “a blanky ’earse!
                        The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!” You oughter ’eard ’im curse.
    You would a bin that shocked. . . . An’ the idear!
’Im usin’ such remarks about a ’earse;
    An’ ’is own brother buried not a year.
    “Not move a blanky ’earse!” ’e ses. My dear,
You ’ardly could imagine langwidge worse.
                        “The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!” Wot would the parson say?
    An’ ’im so friendly-like with ’im an’ ’er.
I pity ’er; I do, ’cos, in ’er way.
    She is respectable. But ’im! It’s fur
    From me, as you well know, to cast a slur,
On anyone; but wot I ’eard that day. . . . 
                        “The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!” I know quite well that we
    Ain’t wot you’d call thin-skinned; and nasty pride
Is wot I never ’ad. . . . But ’er! . . . W’y she—
    She’s allus that stuck-up an’ full o’ side;
    A sorter thing I never could abide.
An’ all the time ’er ’usband. . . . Goodness me!
                        “The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!”    O’ course ’e never knowed
    That I was list’nin’ to ’im all the w’ile.
’E muster bin a full hour on the road;
    An’, Lord, you could ’a’ ’eard ’im for a mile.
    Jes’ cos they stuck ’im in that boggy sile:
“If they ain’t blanky swine,” ’e ses, “I’m blowed!
                        The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!”    W’y, if it ’ad occurred,
    An’ me not ’eard, I’d ’ardly think it true.
An’, you know well, I wouldn’t breathe a word
    Against a livin’ soul, I don’t care ’oo;
    Not if the Queen of Hingland arst me to.
But, oh! that langwidge! If you only ’eard!
                        “The flamin’ cows!”

“The flamin’ cows!” ’e ses,, an’ more besides.
    An’ fancy! ’Im! To think that ’e would swear!
W’y “Blarst!” ’e sez. . . .     Yes! “Blarst the’r blanky ’ides!”
    (Oh, you may well throw up your ’ands an’ stare!)
    Yes—“Blarst,” ’e ses, “the’r blanky ’ides an’ ’air!
I’ll cut the blanky skin off er the’r sides!
                        The flamin’ cows!”

 

Doch-an-doris

Be aisy Pat! Don’t lave like that!
Shure home was ne’er like this, man!
’Tis little use to quit the booze
Whin things have gone amiss, man.
’Twill help us bear our bit iv care
Whin troubles lie before us.
Come, sit ye down — lave off that frown,
An’ dhrink the Doch-an-doris.

Yarrowie plain is wantin’ rain,
And Boolie’s dhry as tinder;
The grass along the billabong
Is shrivelled to a cinder.
But what’s the odds? Our ways ain’t God’s,
An’ fate’s not always for us;
So let it pass. Fill up your glass!
We’ll have the Doch-an-doris.

We’ve seen the time whin crops were prime,
An’ prices used to suit us;
Nor lacked a frind to help us spind
An’ condescind to loot us;
But now it’s o’er there’s little more
Than mortgagees to bore us,
But aise your mind. Put care behind,
An’ dhrink the Doch-an-doris.

Shure who can say a brighter day
Will be so long in comin’?
As good a one as thim that’s done
An’ times agin be hummin’?
Then never mind though fate’s unkind,
An’ former frinds ignore us,
I’m ownin’ yet a bob to wet —
Let’s have the Doch-an-doris!

Yes, I’ll allow I’m thinkin’ now
We might have thravelled mildly;
But faith, I’m sure if we had more
We’d spind it just as wildly.
So lave it go. We niver know
What fortunes lie before us;
But shine or rain — have one more drain!
The last — the Doch-an-doris!

 

An Old Master

We were cartin’ lathes and palin’s from the slopes of Mount St. Leonard,
    With our axles near the road-bed and the mud as stiff as glue;
And our bullocks weren’t precisely what you’d call conditioned nicely,
    And meself and Messmate Mitchell had our doubts of gettin’ through.

It had rained a tidy skyful in the week before we started,
    But our tucker-bag depended on the sellin’ of our load;
So we punched ’em on by inches, liftin’ ’em across the pinches,
    Till we struck the final section of the worst part of the road.

We were just congratulatin’ one another on the goin’,
    When we blundered in a pot-hole right within the sight of goal,
Where the bush-track joins the metal. Mitchell, as he saw her settle,
    Justified his reputation at the peril of his soul.

We were in a glue-pot, certain—red and stiff and most tenacious;
    Over naves and over axles—waggon sittin’ on the road.
“’Struth,” says I, “they’ll never lift her. Take a shot from Hell to shift her.
    Nothin’ left us but unyoke ’em and sling off the blessed load.”

Now, beside our scene of trouble stood a little one-roomed humpy,
    Home of an enfeebled party by the name of Dad McGee.
Daddy was, I pause to mention, livin’ on an old-age pension
    Since he gave up bullock-punchin’ at the age of eighty-three.

Startled by our exclamations, Daddy hobbled from the shanty,
    Gazin’ where the stranded waggon looked like some half-foundered ship.
When the state o’ things he spotted, “Looks,” he says, “like you was potted,”
    And he toddles up to Mitchell. “Here,” says he, “gimme that whip.”

Well! I’ve heard of transformations; heard of fellers sort of changin’
    In the face of sudden danger or some great emergency;
Heard the like in song and story and in bush traditions hoary,
    But I nearly dropped me bundle as I looked at Dad McGee.

While we gazed he seemed to toughen; as his fingers gripped the handle
    His old form grew straight and supple, and a light leapt in his eye;
And he stepped around the waggon, not with footsteps weak and laggin’,
    But with firm, determined bearin’, as he flung the whip on high.

Now he swung the leaders over, while the whip-lash snarled and volleyed;
    And they answered like one bullock, strainin’ to each crack and clout;
But he kept his cursin’ under till old Brindle made a blunder;
    Then I thought all Hell had hit me, and the master opened out.

And the language! Oh, the language! Seemed to me I must be dreamin’;
    While the wondrous words and phrases only genius could produce
Roared and rumbled, fast and faster, in the throat of that Old Master—
    Oaths and curses tipped with lightning, cracklin’ flames of fierce abuse.

Then we knew the man before us was a Master of our callin’;
    One of those great lords of language gone for ever from Out-back;
Heroes of an ancient order; men who punched across the border;
    Vanished giants of the sixties; puncher-princes of the track.

Now we heard the timbers strainin’, heard the waggon’s loud complainin’,
    And the master cried triumphant, as he swung ’em into line,
As they put their shoulders to it, lifted her, and pulled her through it:
    “That’s the way we useter do it in the days o’ sixty-nine!”

Near the foot of Mount St. Leonard lives an old, enfeebled party
    Who retired from bullock-punchin’ at the age of eighty-three.
If you seek him folk will mention, merely, that he draws the pension;
    But to us he looms a Master—Prince of Punchers, Dad McGee!

 

Wanderers Lost

Oh, we are the phantoms of rovers lost —
   See how the mocking mirages play!
Men who have ventured and paid the cost.
   Lone, waiting women, tis vain to pray!
We dies unshriven, as rovers die,
And no man knows where our white bones lie.
   Black birds gather when rovers stray,
   Out where the mocking mirages play.

A maiden has waited a long year thro’.
   Mark where a crow from the northward flies!
“Ah, can he be false that had sworn so true?”
   They say that a wanderer woos with lies.
A maiden has waited and counted the days,
Since a lover went roving the northward ways.
   What do they profit — unheeded sighs?
   Mark where a crow from the northward flies!

Out in the desert a still thing lies.
   Westward the sun is sinking low.
Who is to mourn when a rover dies?
   Hark!  Tis the caw of a sated crow.
Who is to tell of a mad’ning thrist —
Of a lonely death in a land accurst?
   Merciful God!  Is she ne’er to know?
   (Hark to the caw of a sated crow.)

Oh, we are the legion that never came back —
   Ever have rovers to count the cost.
Men who went out on the waterless track.
   Curst is the plain that was ne’er recross’d!
Restless to roam o’er the desert our doom,
Till our end shall be known and our bones find a tomb.
   Mourn for the souls of wanderers lost,
   Ever have rovers to count the cost.


The Looting of Jim

Jim Johnson is a farmin’ man — he is a farmin’ man —
And all year round the skin peels off his nose,
For up that way, I’ve heard them say, the sun is wont to tan
      The farmin’ man.
         And oh, to see his clothes!
He wears the strangest cast-ir’n lookin’ clothes.

For when he’s dressed up in his best — that is his very best —
Jim Johnson is the weirdest sight to see.
You’d be inclined to call to mind, when you beheld his vest,
      And — er — the rest,
         The local founderee —
A casting from the local founderee.

Now, do not think me rude; I’m not.  I certainly am not;
For Jim was honest, tho’ his style amused;
Aye, as the sun, or any one; and sometimes just as hot —
      That’s when he got
         Excited or confused.
And he was most pathetic when confused.

Well, just to cut the story short — (I’m sure you like it short) —
Jim Johnson recently said to his wife,
He thought he’d go and see the Show.  He said he really ought
      He ought, he thought,
         Just one time in his life.
He said he’d like to just for once in his life.

And so she brushed his Berlin suit — his cast-ir’n Sunday suit —
And Jimmy brushed his whiskers various ways;
Then got his nag and carpet bag, and after some dispute,
      Got on the brute,
         And faced the city maze —
Went, via railway station, to the maze.

Now, Jimmy knew a thing or two — a thing or two he knew :
In fact, he wasn’t quite the jay he seemed;
For he had heard a warning word — a friendly word or two
      About the crew
         Of spieling men who schemed —
Of how to rob poor farming men they schemed.

So, thinkin’ hard, he kept his guard — kept closely on his guard.
No purse-trick person had a chance with him.
He sort of thought he didn’t ought to have his pleasure marred
      In this regard,
         Considered cunnin’ Jim.
“I’ll floor ’em if they tackle me,” said Jim.

He viewed the city Show with glee — with most abounding glee.
The pigs and cattle interested him;
And there he ran against a man who strangely seemed to be
      Excessively
         Delighted to see Jim,
Tho’ Jim could not remember knowin’ him.

The stranger was extremely free — familiarly free;
In fact, he was most intimate indeed.
He had, he told, an uncle old, and then explained that he
      Was in Fiji;
         But he did not proceed.
He was too bruised and battered to proceed.

For Jim — well, you will understand — I’m sure you’ll understand;
“Revoltin’ details best not written down.”
Jim gave him fits, then wiped the bits of stranger off his hand —
      His hairy hand -
         And strolled around the town —
Went out the gates to stroll around the town.

And it was there he met the gal — a very pretty gal;
But whether he met her or she met him
Up to this day he cannot say. “Please, for the Hospi-tal.”
      This said the gal;
         And then she smiled at Jim.
The damsel sweetly smiled.  That finished Jim.

And such a charming girl was she — a perfect peach was she.
The sort that sort of takes your breath away —
Your breath and things — small offerings.  Her sphere appeared to be
      Society.
         And, say, her smile was gay;
Her smile was most embarrassing and gay.

He blushed behind his whiskers, and — his bushy whiskers — and
Remarked — well, he ain’t quite sure what he said,
Altho’, poor bloke, he must have spoke; for you will understand
      He was unmanned
         And queer about the head.
Nice girls, they always queered him in the head.

She wanted money for a cause — a most deserving cause;
At least, I’ve gathered facts to that extent.
And in his pockets Jim he socks his large and hairy paws,
      And then withdraws,
         And gives her ev’ry cent —
Except his railway ticket — ev’ry cent.

Of course, there’s no excuse for Jim — I ain’t excusin’ Jim;
But picture if you think there’s cause for blame —
A charming imp, and him all limp.  Supposing you were him —
      If you were Jim —
         I think you’d do the same.
You would if you had whiskers just the same.

And afterwards, when Jim he fled — back to his home he fled —
(I think I told you he was on the land) —
His missus she, well — seems to me that — anyhow, “Nuff sed” —
      The past is dead.
         I’m sure you’ll understand —
You’ll surely have the sense to understand.

 

Hopeful Hawkins

Hawkins wasn’t in the swim at all in Dingo Flat,
    And to bait him was our chiefest form of bliss;
But, in justice, be it said that he had a business head.
    (That’s why I’m standing here and telling this.)

He was trav’ling for a company, insuring people’s lives;
    And stayed about a month in Dingo Flat;
But his biz was rather dull, and we took him for a gull,
    An amazing simple-minded one at that.

He was mad, he was, on mining and around about the town
    Prospected every reef. But worse than that—
He’d talk for half a day, in a most annoying way,
    On “The mineral resources of the Flat.”

He swore that somewhere nigh us was a rich gold-bearing reef,
    If a fellow only had the luck to strike it;
And he only used to laugh when the boys began to chaff,
    And seemed, in fact, to rather sort of like it.

Well, we stood him for a month until he wellnigh drove us mad.
    And as jeering couldn’t penetrate his hide
We fixed a little scheme for to dissipate his dream,
    And sicken him of mining till he died.

We got a likely-looking bit of quartz and faked it up
    With dabs of golden paint; then called him in.
Oh, he went clean off his head; it was gold for sure, he said.
    And if we’d sell our claim he’d raise the tin.

But we weren’t taking any—not at least till later on;
    For we reckoned that we’d string him on a while.
When he wanted information of the reef’s exact location
    We would meet him with a knowing sort of smile.

At last we dropped a hint that set him pegging out a claim,
    And we saw that we were coming in for sport;
For the next account we heard was when Hawkins passed the word
    He was fetching up an expert to report.

When we heard that expert’s verdict we were blown clean out of time,
    And absorbed the fact that we had fallen in.
The gold, he said, would run ’bout four ounces to the ton;
    With traces, too, of copper, zinc and tin.

Old Hawkins he was jubilant, and up at Peter’s store
    A lovely lot of specimens was showing;
And we gazed at them and groaned, for the truth had to be owned:
    We had put him on a pile without our knowing.

We couldn’t let the thing slip through our fingers, so to speak.
    There were thousands in the mine without a doubt.
So me and Baker Brothers, and half a dozen others,
    We formed a syndicate to buy him out.

Well, he said he’d not the money to develop such a claim,
    And he’d sell it if we made a decent bid.
So we made pretence at dealing, and it almost seemed like stealing
    When he parted, for five hundred lovely quid.

* * * * * * * *

We haven’t seen the vendor in the Flat for nigh a week,
    And we’re wishing, on the whole, he’d never come.
The confounded mine’s a duffer; for that simple-minded buffer
    He had salted it. The “expert” was a chum.

Hawkins wasn’t reckoned much at all in Dingo Flat.
    We’d a notion that his headpiece was amiss.
But we wish to have it stated, he was rather underrated.
    (That’s why I’m standing here and telling this.)

 

Mutton

In the middle of the summer, when the town is limp with heat,
And the asphalt of the footpath curls your boots and burns your feet:
When you’re creased and crabbed and sodden, and can hardly raise a crawl,
And the perspiration’s drippin’ in a constant waterfall;
There’s a penetratin’ odor gets abroad and fairly roars;
It will creep in through the keyholes and it sneaks beneath the doors;
And it fills your happy home up from the cellar to the roof,
Until ev’ry other odor holds its breath and stands aloof.

            That’s Mutton! Mutton!
            Everlastin’ Mutton!
All-pervadin’, never-fadin’ smell of cookin’ sheep.
Into ev’ry room ’twill roam, chasin’ you from house and home,
Mutton flaunted, mutton-haunted, even in your sleep.

You can smell it in the parlor, you can feel it in the hall,
You can HEAR it in the kitchen, where it hugs you like a pall.
Hov’ring o’er your couch at midnight, wafting thro’ your troubled sleep:
First to greet you in the mornin’ when the day begins to peep.
Seek you vainly to evade it in an open-air retreat,
It will rise and upper-cut you, from the gratin’s in the street.
Vain are all your disinfectants, for they fail the woes to drown
Of a mutton-ridden people in a mutton-scented town.

Oh, the irony of hearin’ songs about the home, sweet home;
When you swelter in an oven where the kitchen odors roam.
When each kindly word is wafted on a mutton-scented breeze,
And each sigh stirs up remembrance of a week of hashed-up teas:
Where endearing terms are flavored with a touch of mutton raw,
And you sample last week’s dinner, ev’ry tender breath you draw.
Do you wonder that our home-life isn’t what it ought to be?
Do you know what sets us drinkin’, in our abject misery?

            It’s Mutton! Mutton!
            Soul-destroyin’ Mutton!
Over-cloudin’, odor-shroudin’ all in life that’s bright;
By a thoughtless movement stirred, chokin’ down a kindly word,
Ever-present, effervescent, mornin’, noon and night.

 

The Homeward Track

Once a year we lumber southward with the clip from Yarradee;
Spell the bullocks in the township while we run our yearly spree.
What’s a bullocky to live for? Days of toil are hard and long;
And you’d not begrudge him yearly one short week of wine and song.
While it lasts he asks no better.  When it’s over “Yoke ’em up,”
And we’ll make another promise for to shun the brimming cup.
When we’ve done our little cheque in, and the township’s at our back;
Then we start to think of mending—out along the Homeward Track.

For there comes a time of reck’ning when we’re trudging by the team;
Back again to work an’ worry; kind of waking from a dream;
We begin to see the folly of a week of wicked fun,
Bought with months of weary slaving, punching bullocks on the run.
But our views are somewhat tempered when we’ve done a twelve months’ drouth;
And our thoughts ain’t so religious when the team is heading south.
When the pleasure is before us, work and worry at our back,
We forget the grim reformers out along the Homeward Track.

What’s the odds? It’s got to happen. What we’ve done we’ll do again;
And we know it while we make ’em, resolutions are in vain.
Life’s a weary track to travel, mostly full of ruts and stumps:
Them that spends their days in drudging have to take their joy in lumps.
Yoke ’em up an’ get a move on! Gayest times must have an end,
There’s a weary track to travel when we’ve nothing left to spend.
If there’s still a bob we’ll wet it, and a last glad joke we’ll crack,
Time enough for vain regretting when we’re on the Homeward Track.

 

Cow

Aw, go write your tinklin’ jingle, an’ your pretty phrases mingle,
    For the mamby-pamby girl, all fluffy frill an’ shinin’ silk.
That’s the sort to bring you trouble, when you tries ’em, in the double.
    Blow your beauty! Wot’s the matter with the maiden ’oo can milk?
Them there rhymers of the wattle! An’ the bardlet of the bottle—
    ’Im that sings of sparklin’ wine, an’ does a perish for the beer;
An’ your slap-dash ’orsey poet! Why, if you blokes only know it,
    You ’ave missed the only subject fit to rhyme about down ’ere.
An’ although I ain’t a poet, with the bays upon my brow,
I consider that it’s up to me to sing about The Cow.

                        Cow, Cow—
                (Though it ain’t a pretty row,
It’s a word that ’ipnortises me; I couldn’t tell you how.)
                Though I ain’t a gifted rhymer,
                Nor a blamed Parnassus climber,
I’m inspired to sing a time er two about the Blessed Cow.

Oh, the cow-bells are a-tinklin’, and the daisies are a twinklin’—
    Well, that ain’t the style exackly I intended for to sing.
’Ark, was ever music greater then the buzzin’ sepyrater,
    Coinin’ gaily money daily for the—no, that’s not the thing!
’Omeward comes the cows a-lowin’, an’ the butter-cups are blowin’;
    But there’s better butter in the—Blarst! That ain’t the proper way!
See the pretty milkmaid walkin’—aw, it ain’t no use of talkin’.
    Listen ’ere, I want to tell you this: A COW’S THE THING TO PAY!
Sell your ’orses, sell your ’arrers, an’ your reapers, an’ your plough;
If you want your land to pay you, sacrifice your life to Cow.

                        Cow, Cow—
                Sittin’ underneath the bough,
With a bail, an’ with a pail, an’ with a little stool, an’ thou
                Kickin’ when I pull your teat or
                Swishin’ flies, the pretty creatur.
Ah, there ain’t no music sweeter—money squirtin’ from the Cow.

Listen to the lowin’ cattle. Listen to the buckets rattle,
    See, the sun is—(’ERE! YOU BILL! D’you mean to stay all day asleep?
’Ustle, or you’ll get a taste er—Wot? No cheek you flamin’ waster!
    This is wot I get fer payin’ ’ARF A QUID A WEEK AN’ KEEP!
Talk about your Unions, will you? Right, my covey, wait until you
    Come ’ere crawlin’—WHERE’S THAT SARAH? Ain’t she finished milkin’ Spot?
Is this wot I brought you up for; reared, an’ give you bite an’ sup for?
    ’Struth! A man’s own kids’ll next be talkin’ Union, like as not!
Garn, I ain’t got time to listen to your silly sniv’lin’ now.
Understan’ me, you was born an’ bred to THINK AN’ LIVE FER Cow!)

                        Cow, Cow—
                I’m a capitalist now
Tho’ I once was poor an’ lonely, an’ a waster I’ll allow.
                Now I’ve ’ands that I kin hector:
                I’m an Upper ’Ouse elector;
An’ the Sanit’ry Inspector is an interferin’ cow!

Talk about your modern schoolin’! Education’s wasteful foolin’!
    I got on all right without it—only teaches youngsters cheek—
(Where’s young Tom? Wot? Ain’t ’e back yet? Sam, go—
            ’Ere! YOU’LL GET THE SACK YET!
    Wastin’ time there, washin’ buckets! THEM WUS WASHED LAST TUESDAY WEEK!
Tell young Tom if ’e don’t ’urry, I’ll—. Now, mother, don’t you worry.
    I’ll deal Christian with ’im; but I’m not a Bible pa by ’alf.
That ole Scripture cove’s a driv’llin’; when ’is prodigal come sniv’lin’,
    Why, the blazin’, wasteful crim’nal GOES AN’ KILLS A PODDY CALF!
I’m no dotin’ daddy, but I know my duty, you’ll allow,
An’ the children of my loins is born to ’ave respect for Cow.)

                        Cow, Cow—
                (Bow your ’eads, you blighters, bow!)
Come an’ be initiated. Come an’ take the milky vow,
                Put your wife an’ fam’ly in it;
                Work ’em ev’ry wakin’ minit;
Fetch your sordid soul an’ pin it, signed an’ sealed an’ sold to COW.


Barley Grass

Wavin’ corn upon the hillside,
Twinklin’ daisies on the rise,
Mystic bushes across the ranges,
Wattle in its spring-time guise,
Stately gums that mark the twinin’s
Of the ole creek — let ’em pass.
Leave me here to lie, a-lazin’
In the noddin’ barley grass.

Barley grass was noddin’, noddin’
’Long the dear ole township track
Where, in school days, we were ploddin’:
Four mile there an’ four mile back.
Teacher, on the summer mornin’s,
Called us, scoldin’, from the class,
An’ we wasted precious moments
Pickin’ out the barley grass.

Barley grass insinuatin’,
In a summer long ago,
Gained a girl maternal ratin’,
Made a chap a holy show.
“Some one’s been to walk with some one —
Down the creek-side with a lass.
Fie, it ain’t no use denyin’
Tell-tale seeds of barley grass.”

Came a time, when fortune frownin’
Sent a spring in cruel guise:
Wilted corn upon the hillside,
Brown soil barren on the rise,
Droopin’ gums along the ole creek
Dry beneath a sky of brass;
An’ we longed for just the sight of
One green tuft of barley grass.

But we battle on together,
Her an’ me that mockin’ spring,
Never losin’ faith or doubting’
What the future was to bring.
Watchin’, waitin’ for the dawnin’,
For the time of trial to pass;
An’ ’twas her that found one mornin’
That first peep of barley grass.

We don’t want no wreath of roses,
We don’t want no immortelles,
When the last of us reposes
In the last of earthly spells.
Plant above—we ain’t presumin’
To be writ on stone or brass —
Just a modest, unassumin’,
Simple bit of barley grass.

 

Snakes

Reginald Alphonsus Bungey had a scientific mind.
From his early childhood was he taxidermic’ly inclined.
Birds and beasts of many species gathered he from far and wide —
Crawlywigs and crows and spiders — goodness knows what else beside.

Reggie stuffed, preserved and mounted, beetles, butterflies, and bees;
Guinea pigs and great “goanners,” fishes, finches, frogs and fleas.
He would roam by stream and scrubland with his rod and gun and net,
Stalking, killing, skinning, stuffing, every creature he could get,
In the noble cause of science — tho’ his heart was far from hard —
Transfixed he poor dumb cockroaches, thro’ the vitals, to a card.

Dawned at last the day when Reggie, specimens of all near home
Had within his vast collection. Then did he resolve to roam
Far afield; for stranger creatures — painted parrot, grov’ling grub —
Where the sportive bunyip gambols, in the distant Wild Dog Scrub.

* * * * * * * * * *

Wayback William was reflective, as he trudged along the track,
With his blackened billy swinging and his swag upon his back.
He was thinking deeply, sadly, man was prone to actions rash,
And deplored the tantalizing slippiness of hard-earned cash.
Suddenly, with exclamations that I’d rather not repeat,
William stopped, and, with a clatter, dropped his billy at his feet.
“Spare me days!” said he, with other exclamations I’ll omit.
“Is this ’ere a man afore me? Or ’ave I another fit?”

“Pardon me,” said Reggie Bungey, for ’twas none more strange than he.
“Pardon me? From your appearance, you’re a native here I see.
May I glean some information of the fauna that abound
In this wild delightful woodland and the countryside around?

“For I am a taxidermist.” “Taxey whatsey?” murmured Bill.
“Taxidermist,” answered Reggie. “I’ll be grateful if you will
Tell me of some bird or reptile roaming in these parts, you see?
And I’ll gladly pay for any information tendered me.”

“Reptiles,” pondered William, “Reptiles? Snakes, I s’pose, and lizards, too?
Look ’ere, mister; I ken put ye on t’a squirmin’, bloomin’ zoo!
Reptiles! Blime! Why, I’ve seen ’em be the thousand lately, mate —
Pink ’uns, blue ’uns, spotted red ’uns. Sorts ye’d never dream of, straight!

“Purple snakes with crinkled stockin’s, yaller frogs with scarlet bands,
Crimson rats, an’ cock-a-roaches standin’ on ther’ bloomin’ ’ands;
Why, I’ve seen a blue goanner playin’ circus with a ant;
Spotted spiders chewin’ damper, with their whiskers all aslant.

“Red-’aired toads with greenish eyeballs an’ the’r weskits inside-out;
Blue-necked mice an’ pink deaf-adders chasin’ catterworms about.
I ’ave seen bald-headed ringworms drinkin’ hoss-shoes be the pint;
Whip snakes kickin’ crippled beetles till the’r toes wus out o’ jint.

“Why, I’ve —” “Stop!” cried Reggie, wildly. “Have you met them in the scrub?”
“No,” said Bill, “about a mile on. Up at Paddy Casey’s pub.”
“Then,” said Reggie, “I will call there when I come this way again.
Now, I really must be leaving. Don’t you think it looks like rain?”

Handing Wayback Will a sovereign, wildly down the track he tore.
“Struth!” said William, turning pubwards, “think I’ll go an’ see some more.”

 

Mornin’ Magpies

   There’s a dismal fowl and dreary
   Haunts me thro’ the night-watch weary,
When the task of livin’s wearin’, and the world is lookin’ blue;
   When my daytime hopes are fallin’,
   I can hear the mopoke callin’
I can hear his mournful callin’ down the creek the whole night thro’.

   Then I feel my spirit sinkin’,
   And I lie a-thinkin’ — thinkin’
Of the good intentions stifled, and the resolutions broke,
   Of the things I’ve done I shouldn’t,
   And the times I said I wouldn’t;
Then he strikes the note I’m chantin’ with his sepulchral “Mo-poke!”

   When I feel the world has beat me,
   And the black thoughts come to greet me,
And I find myself a-doubtin’ if the sun will shine again;
   When the ghosts of old sins haunt me,
   And the fears of hell fires daunt me;
Then the croaking bird of Satan comes to chant his dismal strain.

   Oh, there ain’t no joy in livin’,
   And there ain’t no hope of heaven,
And the world is cold and barren — hope is dead and spirit broke.
   Call again, you dismal croaker!
   Rub it in, you ghoulish joker!
I am ripe for hellish banter. Call again! Mo-poke! Mo-poke!

   No, there ain’t no use in strivin’;
   Needs must with the devil drivin’;
And there ain’t no manhood in me, and there ain’t no chance to mend.
   All my chances are behind me,
   And despair has come to find me:
Come to find me — cowed and broken: come to stay until THE END.

   There’s the least faint streak out eastward,
   And I’m catchin’ just the least word
Of the bird talk in the gum-tops — just a sleepy, timid “tweek.”
   Hark!  From yonder forest giant,
   Hear it ring out, proud, defiant!
Hear the joyous mornin’ magpies carolin’ along the creek!

   Hope awake, and spirit lighter!
   Was there ever mornin’ brighter?
Where is now the broken blighter who would play a craven’s part?
   Who’s the one to sigh and rue things?
   I’m a man to dare and do things!
The mornin’ magpie’s callin’ — carolin’ within my heart.

 

Up ’Long The Billabong

Oh, the pleasures of the city were beguilin’ me;
The pleasant ways of spendin’ got a-spilin’ me;
The rugged road of earnin’ it was rilin’ me;
   Fer farmin’ in the wayback isn’t play.
But now the ’orny ’and of care is maulin’ me;
I ’ear the voice of ’omeland sof’ly callin’ me,
An’ feel the strings of memory a-haulin’ me
   Back ’long the billabong, afar away.

Born I was afar away frum ’ere,
   Out way back frum any noisy town.
I’ve knocked around the city fer a year,
   An’ cursed meself each day fer comin’ down.
Keepin’ sheep ’n’ things up there I was,
   Sold me ’appy ’ome fer most a song;
Left, an’ travelled citywards becos
   Times was slow along the billabong.

An’ I’ve knocked around the city fer a year ’r so,
An’ ’ardly made me tucker an’ a beer ’r so;
Until I’m startin’ now to ’ave a fear ’r so
   I’ll never know the dawnin’ of the day
When I see again the shepherds slowly follerin’
Their dusty flocks, an’ to their dogs a-hollerin’;
Or watch the lazy workin’ bullocks wanderin’,
   Up ’long the billabong afar away.

I wasn’t nohow used to city ways,
   An’ started on a roarin’ jamboree,
An’ spent a week of wild an’ wicked days,
   An’ likewise, ’alf me savin’s in a spree.
Since then I’ve drifted down frum bad to worse,
   An’ ev’ry game I tackled turned out wrong,
Till now ther’s nothin’ left me but to curse
   The fool thet left up ’long the billabong.

I on’y need a good square feed inside o’ me,
An’ decent togs to hide the blessed hide o’ me,
Jes’ so as not to ’urt the bloomin’ pride o’ me
   Are the folks, an’ fear o’ wot they’d say;
I’ll buckle to, an’ roll me blessed drum, I will;
An’ leave me noisy shanty in the slum, I will;
An’ either land, dead beat, in Kingdom Come, I will,
   Or ’long the billabong afar away.

 

When The Sun’s Behind The Hill

There’s a soft and peaceful feeling
Comes across the farming hand
As the shadows go a-stealing
Slow along the new-turned land.
The lazy curling smoke above the thatch is showing blue,
And the weary old plough horses wander home’ard two ’n’ two,
With their chains a-clinkin’, clankin’, when their daily toil is through,
                    And the sun’s behind the hill.

Then it’s slowly homeward plodding
As the night begins to creep,
And the barley grass is nodding
To the daisies, all asleep,
The crows are flying heavily, and cawing overhead;
The sleepy milking cows are lowing sof’ly in the shed,
And above them, in the rafters, all the fowls have gone to bed,
                    When the sun’s behind the hill.

Then it’s “Harry, feed old Roaney!”
And it’s “Bill, put up the rail!”
And it’s “Tom, turn out the pony!”
“Mary, hurry with that pail!”
And the kiddies run to meet us, and are begging for a ride
On the broad old “Prince” and “Darky” they can hardly sit astride;
And mother, she is bustling with the supper things inside,
                    When the sun’s behind the hill.

Then it’s sitting down and yarning
When we’ve had our bite and sup,
And the mother takes her darning,
While our Mary tidies up.
And Bess tells how the baldy cow got tangled in the wire;
And Katie keeps the baby-boy from tumbling in the fire;
And the baccy smoke goes curling as I suck my soothing briar,
                    When the sun’s behind the hill.

Then we talk about the season,
And of how it’s turning out,
And we try to guess the reason
For the long-continued drought.
Oh, a farmer’s life ain’t roses and his work is never done:
And a job’s no sooner over than another is begun.
For he’s toiling late and early from the rising of the sun
                    Till he sinks behind the hill.

But it grows, that peaceful feeling
While I’m sitting smoking there,
And the kiddies all are kneeling
To repeat their ev’ning prayer;
For it seems, somehow, to lighten all the care that must be bore
When the things of life are worrying, and times are troubling sore;
And I pray that God will keep them when my own long-day is o’er,
                    And the sun’s behind the hill.

 

Wheat

“Sowin’ things an’ growin’ things, an’ watchin’ of ’em grow;
That’s the game,” my father said, an’ father ought to know.
“Settin’ things an’ gettin’ things to grow for folks to eat:
That’s the life,” my father said, “that’s very hard to beat.”
For my father was a farmer, as his father was before,
Just sowin’ things an’ growin’ things in far-off days of yore,
In the far-off land of England, till my father found his feet
In the new land, in the true land, where he took to growin’ wheat.
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Oh, the sound of it is sweet!
       I’ve been praisin’ it an’ raisin’ it in rain an’ wind an’ heat
           Since the time I learned to toddle, till it’s beatin’ in my noddle,
       Is the little song I’m singin’ you of Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.

Plantin’ things—an’ grantin’ things is goin’ as they should,
An’ the weather altogether is behavin’ pretty good—
Is a pleasure in a measure for a man that likes the game,
An’ my father he would rather raise a crop than make a name.
For my father was a farmer, an’ “All fame,” he said, “ain’t reel;
An’ the same it isn’t fillin’ when you’re wantin’ for a meal.”
So I’m followin’ his footsteps, an’ a-keepin’ of my feet,
While I cater for the nation with my Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! When the poets all are beat
       By the reason that the season for the verse crop is a cheat,
           Then I comes up bright an’ grinnin’ with the knowledge that I’m winnin’,
       With the rhythm of my harvester an’ Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.

Readin’ things an’ heedin’ things that clever fellers give,
An’ ponderin’ an’ wonderin’ why we was meant to live—
Muddlin’ through an’ fuddlin’ through philosophy an’ such
Is a game I never took to, an’ it doesn’t matter much.
For my father was a farmer, as I might ’a’ said before,
An’ the sum of his philosophy was, “Grow a little more.
For growin’ things,” my father said, “it makes life sort o’ sweet
An’ your conscience never swats you if your game is growin’ wheat.”
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Oh, the people have to eat!
       An’ you’re servin’, an’ deservin’ of a velvet-cushion seat
           In the cocky-farmers’ heaven when you come to throw a seven;
       An’ your password at the portal will be, “Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.”

Now, the preacher an’ the teacher have a callin’ that is high
While they’re spoutin’ to the doubtin’ of the happy by an’ by;
But I’m sayin’ that the prayin’ it is better for their souls
When they’ve plenty wheat inside ’em in the shape of penny rolls.
For my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit an’ grieve
When he thought about the apple that old Adam got from Eve.
It was foolin’ with an orchard where the serpent got ’em beat,
An’ they might ’a’ kept the homestead if they’d simply stuck to wheat.
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! If you’re seekin’ to defeat
       Care an’ worry in the hurry of the crowded city street,
           Leave the hustle all behind you; come an’ let contentment find you
       In a cosy little cabin lyin’ snug among the wheat.

In the city, more’s the pity, thousands live an’ thousands die
Never carin’, never sparin’ pains that fruits may multiply;
Breathin’, livin’, never givin’; greedy but to have an’ take,
Dyin’ with no day behind ’em lived for fellow-mortals’ sake.
Now my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit and laugh
At the “fools o’ life,” he called ’em, livin’ on the other half.
Dyin’ lonely, missin’ only that one joy that makes life sweet—
Just the joy of useful labour, such as comes of growin’ wheat.
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Let the foolish scheme an’ cheat;
       But I’d rather, like my father, when my span o’ life’s complete,
          Feel I’d lived by helpin’ others; earned the right to call ’em brothers
       Who had gained while I was gainin’ from God’s earth His gift of wheat.

When the settin’ sun is gettin’ low above the western hills,
When the creepin’ shadows deepen, and a peace the whole land fills,
Then I often sort o’ soften with a feelin’ like content,
An’ I feel like thankin’ Heaven for a day in labour spent.
For my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit an’ smile,
Realizin’ he was wealthy in what makes a life worth while.
Smilin’, he has told me often, “After all the toil an’ heat,
Lad, he’s paid in more than silver who has grown one field of wheat.”
       Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! When it comes my turn to meet
       Death the Reaper, an’ the Keeper of the Judgment Book I greet,
           Then I’ll face ’em sort o’ calmer with the solace of the farmer
       That he’s fed a million brothers with his Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.


The Cruise of the “Nightmare.”

Ofttimes strange dreams have haunted me, of weird and fearsome things;
Such dreams as midnight reading or a heavy supper brings.
Of nightmares I have had a few, but none of them could rank
With the time when I was chased from Oodnadatta to Mount Schank.
Now I have a secret hobby for collecting native names,
For the native nomenclature oft my admiration claims.
Whoever ’twas created them the highest praise deserves,
But tho’ they’re sweet they’re apt at times to get upon the nerves.

* * * * * * * * * *

My dream at first was pleasant. It was filled with beasts and birds
Most beautiful. To picture them I’m beggared quite for words.
When suddenly I noticed, from behind a mulga tree,
A horrid looking bunyip glaring banefully at me.

I’ll not attempt to picture him — I couldn’t if I tried —
For I turned at once and bolted. There was not a place to hide;
And after me careering came that horrid looking chap,
And he did not give me respite till he’d chased me round the map.

He ran me thro’ to Paratoo, then to Tantanoola;
Wallaroo, Kalangadoo, over Arkaroola;
Wirrawilla, Yankalilla, up to Winnininnie;
Andamooka, Taltabooka, into Yudnapinnie;
Booborowie, Yeltacowie, round to Thackaringa;
Moralana, Wangianna, out by Wadnaminga;
Balcanoona, Pepegoona, up to Oodnadatta;
Mocatoona and Aroona into Boolcoomatta;
Italowie, Edeowie, then to Oratunga;
Burra Burra and Pandurra round about Willunga.

By now my legs were weakening and my wind was failing me.
And that horrid looking bunyip he was gaining, I could see.
But the nightmare stood beside me, so I leaped astride her back.
And she carried me as quietly as any common hack.

       Kopperamanna, Umberatana,
              Into Warrioota;
       Irrapatana, Parabarana,
              Rushing thro’ Baroota;
       Owieamdana, Nankaburyana,
              Out to Yantawena;
       Then from Wintabatinyana
              Westward to Wilgena.

My flight had now assumed the shape of quite a pleasant ramble,
The pace seemed hardly greater than an ordinary amble,
My nightmare was a stayer, fairly fit in wind and limb,
So we cantered from the bunyip, with a view to losing him.

       Yarrowie, Terowie;
       Willowie, Telowie;
       Gumbowie, Caltowie,
                     Aldinga.
       Tarcowie, Coobowie;
       Outowie, Canowie;
       Warcowie, Condowie,
                     Kooringa.
       Kapunda, Tanunda;
       Manunda, Eudunda;
       Koolunga, Echunga,
                     Winnowie.
       Beltana, Callana;
       Wooltana, The Anna;
       Woolyana, Pandanna,
                     Yarcowie.

We cantered thus for many miles, when, glancing to the rear,
It terrified me to behold the bunyip drawing near.
I knew my mare could lose him, if her wind would only last her,
So I gripped the pads and urged her ever faster and still faster.

       Booleroo, Billeroo,
       Parneroo, Pineroo,
       Mutooroo, Morudoo,
                     Garra.
       Orroroo, Beetaloo,
       Waukaloo, Warnamboo,
       Ninkerloo, Yednaloo,
                     Parra.

Oh, the places streamed behind us as we galloped like the wind,
And we left that horrid bunyip full a thousand miles behind.
The mare was sure the fleetest thing I ever chanced to ride.
Such bumps as Moondiepitchnie she included in her stride,
Until at last she bungled, and we came an awful spill in a
Confounded little creek they call Wergowerangerillina.

 

The Ballad Of Juno Sue

Sue Timmins lived in Sheaoak Town —
    She lived in Sheaoak Town,
Where ’er figger uster sorter cause comment;
    ’Twas all one way.  That is to say
’Twas all straight up an’ down
    From foot to crown.
You understand what’s meant?
I’m sure you understand the sort wot’s meant.

Just wot you’d call a gawky lump —
    A slim, slab-sided lump.
You’d scarcely ’ave the nerve to call ’er fat.
    An awkward wench; you’d ’ave to wrench
The truth to mention plump —
    Not at the jump,
There’s no denyin’ that.
I say, there ain’t no use denyin’ that.

You compre’end the sorter wench —
    Ungainly sorter wench —
I mean when I let loose remarks on Sue?
    A kinder stick, but not so thick.
You’d hardly name ’er French —
    Not this ’ere wench.
She weren’t no Parleyvoo.
I say that Sue she weren’t no Parleyvoo.

She didn’t ’ave no width, this piece —
    This elongated piece;
The figger that she ’ad was mostly length.
    I tell you, she reminded me
Of one perpetual lease
    That doesn’t cease.
Now, ’ave you got ’er strength?
I’ll now proceed if you ‘ave got her strength.

She ’ad brains this bit o’ skirt —
    This lengthy bit o’ skirt;
She wouldn’t ’ave no truck with any bloke,
    Although she knew as well as you
She weren’t built for a flirt;
    She’d treat like dirt
The chap that tried a joke.
To tell the truth, they weren’t inclined to joke.

O’ course this piece o’ muslin knew —
    She muster durn well knew
She weren’t the sorter girl that could attract.
    She weren’t that kind, an’ bear in mind
That wot I’m tellin’ you
    Is all dead true.
You take it fer a fact;
I’d never tell you ’less it was a fact.

Well, this ’ere Sue made up ’er mind —
    She fair made up her mind -
She’d wander on ’er lonely down to town.
    All on ’er own, that is, alone:
An’ she was just the kind
    To ’ave a mind;
An’ so she travelled down.
I say, she packed her duds an’ travelled down.

She stayed away about a week
    I think about a week;
An’ then she wandered back to Sheaoak Town,
    An’ when they knew that it was Sue
The people couldn’t speak,
    They was that weak.
This was no up-an’-down!
I tell you she was fur from up-an’-down.

We simply ’ad to stand an’ gape —
    Just simply stand an’ gape.
We was too dazed for any sane remark.
    You’d be inclined to call to mind
When you beheld ’er shape
    Beneath its drape,
A statoo in a park —
A Veenus or somethin’ in a park.

O’ course we thought ’twas mighty rum —
    Unquestionably rum;
An’ yet we ’ad to take it fer a fact.
    There stood out Sue, in straight fronts, too!
An’ then the truth it come
    An’ struck us dumb.
The bloomin’ girl was packed!
‘Er ’ips an’ all etceterers was PACKED!

But Sue she merely tossed ’er ’ead —
    Just proudly tossed ’er ’ead —
An’ never give a thought to climbin’ down.
    “I ain’t so bad as I do pad.”
Them was the words she said.
    (I near dropped dead.)
“They all pad up, in town.
There ain’t a girl that don’t pad up, in town.”

We reckoned, up in Sheaoak Town —
    Old folks in Sheaoak Town —
She’d fairly done ’er chance in with the boys.
    O’ course, they knew the shape o’ Sue.
An’ yet they chased ’er roun’,
    Yes, up and down,
Although they knew ’twas pads,
An’ just ’ow much was girl an’ ’ow much pads.

‘Er prance an’ waddle made me mad;
   ‘Er walk near drove me mad;
But ev’ry other girl was fairly stacked.
    “She was a bloomin’ gawk, was Sue.
But now,” ses ev’ry lad,
    “She ain’t too bad
Fer she is rorty, packed.
She’s just a bloomin’ Juno now she’s packed.”
 
To see the way she ’eld ’er skirts —
    The way she gripped ’er skirts —
See ’ere, I ain’t straight-laced, meself, perhaps,
    But, spare me days!  That woman’s way!
An’ talk about yer flirts!
    It always ’urts
To think o’ them poor chaps;
The way she played a game with them poor chaps.

Their sighs an’ courtin’ weren’t no use —
    Not any sorter use.
An’ then a squatter chap ’e seen our “pearl.”
    Ses ‘e, “Gee whizz!  Whoever is
That stately creature?  Dooce!
    Just introjuice
Me to that charmin’ girl —
That statuesquee Juno of a girl.”

I s’pose ’e knew wot paddin’ was —
    Wot them etcetrers was.
You see ’e lived in town, or thereabout;
    An’ Sue she told us ’ow the bold
Bad ’ussies there are draws.
    ‘Cos ’ow?  Becos
They never go without.
“Them girls,” she ses, “they never go without.”

You bet she married ’im.  ’E’d cash —
    ’Ad ’eaps o’ bloomin’ cash;
An’ give the go-by to the other lads.
    Our gawky, prue, slab-sided Sue!
An’ don’t she cut a dash!
    An’ dresses flash.
O’ course, she wears ’er pads.
You bet she don’t go out without ’er pads.

 

Me An’ Bates

Schoolmates — me an’ Billy Bates,
      Sixty year ago;
Though our schoolin’ was but foolin’ —
      Short an’ sweet, ye know.
Workin’ when we was but ten
      (Folks was poor, ye see).
Drivin’ ploughs an’ mindin’ cows —
      Billy Bates an’ me.

Shipmates — me an’ Billy Bates,
      Forty year ago;
Came out ’ere in the “Boundin’ Deer,”
      Straight to Bendigo.
Made a pile in a little while —
      Struck it rich did we;
Knocked it down when we got to town —
      Billy Bates an’ me.

Bedmates — me an’ Billy Bates,
      Thirty year ago;
Shearin’ sheep an’ livin’ cheap,
      Up on Wareko.
Nohow never ’ad a row,
      Even in a spree;
Friends we’d bin through thick an’ thin —
      Billy Bates an’ me.

Billy Bates an’ me wus mates,
      Twenty year ago;
Then old Billy acted silly,
      Got a girl in tow.
Men thet’s wed’s as good as dead,
      No more use fur me;
Saw ’em started, then we parted —
      Billy Bates an’ me.

Room-mates — me an’ Billy Bates —
      Come ’ere yesterday.
Wife is dead.  The life ’e led
      With ’er was cruel, they say.
Cut up rough, an’ spent ’is stuff,
      Acted like a brute.
So Billy Bates an’ me is mates —
      In the Destitute.

Cleanin’

The Kings that lives in palises, they alwis ’ave the’r care
   (Keep the blessed winnower agoin’).
Ther’s wealthy men that grumbles at the lot they ’ave to bear
   (We’re lucky if we ’ave enough for sowin’)
Fer man was born to grumble frum ’is cradle to ’is grave
   (Oh, it’s forty bloomin’ ’undred in the sun!)
About the case ’e ’as to spend, or wot ’e ’as to save
   (W’ell be ’appy when the cleanin’ up is done.)
But all the worries o’ the world is nothin’ else but play
   (Some one come an’ keep away the flies!)
To the cussedness of cleanin’ awn a broilin’ summer day
   (Ow! the grit is borin’ ’oles into my eyes.)

      Fer it’s cleanin’ an’ it’s swearin’
         ‘Cos the drought is awn the crop;
      An’ it’s graftin’, an’ its’ tearin’
         Till yer nearly fit to drop;
It’s baggin’ up an’ sewin’ frum the early dawn till late;
There’s seven miles to cart it, an’ the prize is — one-an’-eight.

The day of twenty-bushel crops is gawn an’ parst away
   (This ’ere life’s as ’ard as any man’s)
They reckon six or seven is a splendid yield to-day
   (The cockspur’s playin’ blazis with me ’an’s)
The farm an’ stock is mortgaged to the ’ilt fer all its worth
   (Look alive an’ send the thing along);
Why did I see this rain-forsaken country in the North?
   (Stop the fake! the screen is going wrong.)
I ought a bin a barrister, or else a city clerk
   (I’d a give an ’alf-a-sovereign for a beer!)
Fer this is blessed slavery, although they call it work
   (Let ’er go!  I got the beggar clear.)

      An’ it’s scoopin’ and it’s baggin’,
         When the dust is in yer eyes;
      An’ it’s growlin’ an’ it’s naggin’,
         Fer yer pestered wi’ the flies;
With prickles in yer fingers ye can ’ardly work at all,
An’ the sweat is pourin’ off ye like a bloomin’ waterfall.

Afore I come up ’ere I used to ’ave a bit o’ cash
   (Come an’ earn yer livin’ on the land.)
But the seasons an’ the prices they ’ave made an awful ’ash
   (Now I’ve run the needle in me ’and.)
I’m owin’ to the doctor, an’ I’m owin’ at the store.
   (Wonder wot it’s like to see it rain?)
An’ afore the year is over I’ll be likely owin’ more
   (Pass across the water bag again.)
An’ in a decent season, should it chance to come around
   (Ther’ ye go, ye goat, you’ve let it spill!)
I’ll ’ave to go insolvent for a trifle in the pound
   (Shut ’er down, the sun’s be’ind the Hill.)

      An’ it’s trudgin’ ’ome from cleanin’,
         When yer fairly flattened out;
      An’ ye try to see the meanin’
         Why the Lord ’as sent the drought.
For yer legs can ’ardly ’old ye, an’ yer nearly fit to drop,
Oh, it’s dainty work is cleanin’ up a durn three-bushel crop.

 

The Bleating Of The Sheep

Lo, I listened to the bleating of the sheep —
            Squatters’ sheep —
And I sat me down and pondered long and deep.
      And a cloud of gloom came o’er me
      At the empty leagues before me —
Yea, I marked the virgin grass-lands’ mighty sweep —
      Land that called for cultivation;
      Cried aloud for population —
Land that carried trees and fences, grass and sheep.

O, I listened to their bleating on the plain —
            Virgin plain —
And I spoke to them with epithets profane.
      In the valley, on the hill,
      Yet were sheep, and more sheep still.
(Which annoyed me very much, I must explain.
      For one sheep may be a blessing,
      But a million are depressing.)
And I cursed them, but I knew I cursed in vain.

Lo! and then I fell a-dreaming where I sat
            Sadly sat —
Till I didn’t see what I was looking at.
      And my dream was most alluring.
      Ah! But, had it been enduring,
What a reckoning it would have been for Fat!
      What a blessing for Australia
      If my dream — but inter alia,
I’ll explain to you what I am driving at.

Lo! (excuse this weird redundancy of “lo,”
            Soulful “lo”;
But I want to be impressive, you must know).
      Lo! instead of jumbucks bleating,
      I could hear the reaper’s beating;
And I saw abundant milk and honey flow.
      I espied snug homesteads dotted
      O’er the plain.  I also spotted
Towns, with factories and workshops, rise and grow.

Ay, at busy line of commerce filled the place —
            Desert place —
And mine eyes beheld a happy populace
      Wresting from the land its treasure
      Loving work and earning leisure.
Industry and population grew apace.
      I could hear the hammers ringing;
      Happy housewives blithely singing;
And I read Prosperity in every face.

Then I saw a file of troops go marching past —
            Bravely past.
Adown the plain I heard the bugle’s blast.
      I beheld the banners streaming,
      And I fancied in my dreaming
That our happy country owned an army vast.
      As each patriot marched proudly
      By, he cried, exulting loudly,
“Fair Australia is safely ours at last!”

Then a large, red man rode up upon a horse,
            (Large roan horse),
And spoke to me in strident tones and coarse.
      And his discourse was (diluted)
      “Wanderers are prosecuted
On this crimson run.  Now get!”  I got — of course.
      As I’ve said, the man was bulky,
      And he seemed morose and sulky;
And it just occurred to me he might use force.

But, in spite of him, my dream I still may keep —
            Fondly keep.
And from out it sprouts the wisdom that I reap
      For the benefit of all men,
      But especially of little men.
(Meaning men whose wealth does not exceed one heap.)
      Ay, the lesson is before you —
      Pray forgive me if I bore you;
But, my brothers, heed the lesson of the sheep!

For, hark ye, hear the bleating of the sheep —
            Human sheep!
(O, my brothers, but their sheephood makes me weep!)
      Mark ye, how they flock together
      After some old, sly bell-wether —
One that Fat finds it convenient to keep;
      Watch them how they follow, follow.
      See the verbal weeds they swallow,
And the squatter keeps his grass for paying sheep.

O, the squatter has of woolly sheep a lot —
            Quite a lot;
But they’re not the only sort of sheep he’s got.
      How he profits by their fleeces
      And, when price of meat decreases -
Human meat — the butcher, Fat, will take the lot.
      O, ye farmers and selectors!
      Landless voters!  Free electors!
Think, my brothers: are ye sheep, or are ye not?

 

Comin’ ’Ome Frum Shearin’

The shearin’ season’s over, an’ I’m ’umpin’ bluey ’ome,
   Fur I’ve busted ev’ry penny thet I ’ad;
                  (Do ye ’ear?) —
The times wus pretty ’ot, an’ I sunk the blessed lot
   In gamblin’ an’ in drinkin’ — w’ich is bad.
                  (Dam’ the beer).
   In poker an’ in guzzlin’ — w’ich is bad!
                                       An’ it’s —
            Comin’ ’ome frum shearin’,
               Walkin’ all the way;
      An’ I made enough to ’ave a decent spell.
            ’Ome to wife an’ kiddies;
               What’ll missus say? —
      Comin’ ’ome from shearin’, stiff as ’ell.

I’ve been to Parachilna, an’ up around the Peak,
   An’ work was alwa’s ready to me ’and
                   (At the board).
I grafted like a nigger, and I never spelled a week,
   An’ now I’m comin’ ’ome without the sand.
                   (Oh, my Gord!)
   Comin’ ’ome without the bloomin’ sand.
                                       An’ it’s —
            Comin’ ’ome frum shearin’,
               Walkin’ all the way;
      An’ I made enough to ’ave a decent spell.
            ’Ome to wife an’ kiddies;
               What’ll missus say? —
      Comin’ ’ome from shearin’, stiff as ’ell.

I’ve bin across the Border, an’ I’ve ’ad a decent shed;
   An’ I shore me eighty nearly ev’ry day
                    (Bet your life).
But like a bloomin’ jumbuck, I let meself get bled,
   An’ now I’m walkin’ ’ome without me pay —
                    (To me wife)
   Back ’ome, sweet ’ome, without me pay!
                                       An’ it’s —
            Comin’ ’ome frum shearin’,
               Walkin’ all the way;
      An’ I made enough to ’ave a decent spell.
            ’Ome to wife an’ kiddies;
               What’ll missus say? —
      Comin’ ’ome from shearin’, stiff as ’ell.

One day we started poker, cos it rained too ’ard to shear;
   An’ I dropped a fortnight’s earnin’s by the night —
                    (It’s a craze).
An’ I spent a bit at Casey’s on the pigwash e’ calls beer,
   An’ I lost a bloomin’ fiver awn a fight.
                    (Spare me days!)
   Dropped a fiver on a Sunday mornin’ fight.
                                       An’ it’s —
            Comin’ ’ome frum shearin’,
               Walkin’ all the way;
      An’ I made enough to ’ave a decent spell.
            ’Ome to wife an’ kiddies;
               What’ll missus say? —
      Comin’ ’ome from shearin’, stiff as ’ell.

An’ when I finished up with ’em—about a week ago —
   I ’ad about enough to pay the rent.
                    (It was wealth!)
But I stopped at Casey’s shanty, an’ I bust the bloomin’ show,
   An’ now I’m crawlin’ ’ome without a cent.
                    (Ere’s yer ’ealth!)
   ’Umpin’ bluey ’ome without a cent.
                                       An’ it’s —
            Comin’ ’ome frum shearin’,
               Swearin’ all the way;
      (I’ve sold me bleedin’ ’orse, an’ boozed the stuff).
            ’Ome a stoney broker;
               I dunno wot to say;
      But I reckon thet I’ve said about enough!

 

The Silent Member

He lived in Mundaloo, and Bill McClosky was his name,
But folks that knew him well had little knowledge of that same;
For he some’ow lost his surname, and he had so much to say—
He was called “The Silent Member” in a mild, sarcastic way.

He could talk on any subject—from the weather and the crops
To astronomy and Euclid, and he never minded stops;
And the lack of a companion didn’t lay him on the shelf,
For he’d stand before a looking-glass and argue with himself.

He would talk for hours on literature, or calves, or art, or wheat;
There was not a bally subject you could say had got him beat;
And when strangers brought up topics that they reckoned he would baulk,
He’d remark, “I never heard of that.” But all the same—he’d talk.

He’d talk at christ’nings by the yard; at weddings by the mile;
And he used to pride himself upon his choice of words and style.
In a funeral procession his remarks would never end
On the qualities and virtues of the dear departed friend.

We got quite used to hearing him, and no one seemed to care—
In fact, no happ’ning seemed complete unless his voice was there.
For close on thirty year he talked, and none could talk him down,
Until one day an agent for insurance struck the town.

Well, we knew The Silent Member, and we knew what he could do,
And it wasn’t very long before we knew the agent, too,
As a crack long-distance talker that was pretty hard to catch;
So we called a hasty meeting and decided on a match.

Of course, we didn’t tell them we were putting up the game;
But we fixed it up between us, and made bets upon the same.
We named a time-keep and a referee to see it through;
Then strolled around, just casual, and introduced the two.

The agent got first off the mark, while our man stood and grinned;
He talked for just one solid hour, then stopped to get his wind.
“Yes; but—” sez Bill; that’s all he said; he couldn’t say no more;
The agent got right in again, and fairly held the floor.

On policies, and bonuses, and premiums, and all that,
He talked and talked until we thought he had our man out flat.    
“I think—” Bill got in edgeways, but that there insurance chap
Just filled himself with atmosphere, and took the second lap.

I saw our man was getting dazed, and sort of hypnotized,
And they oughter pulled the agent up right there, as I advised.
“See here—” Bill started, husky; but the agent came again,
And talked right on for four hours good—from six o’clock to ten.

Then Bill began to crumple up, and weaken at the knees,
When all at once he ups and shouts, “Here, give a bloke a breeze!    
Just take a pull for half a tick and let me have the floor,
And I’ll take out a policy.” The agent said no more.

The Silent Member swallowed hard, then coughed and cleared his throat,
But not a single word would come—no; not a blessed note.
His face looked something dreadful—such a look of pained dismay;
Then he have us one pathetic glance, and turned, and walked away.

He’s hardly spoken since that day—not more than “Yes” or “No”.
We miss his voice a good bit, too; the town seems rather slow.
He was called “The Silent Member” just sarcastic, I’ll allow;
But since that agent handled him it sort o’ fits him now.

 

On The Land

Oh, the land it was me cradle, an’ the land ull be me grave;
’Twas me mother, an’ me mistress, an’ me tyrant, an’ me slave.
Tho’ it’s fickle with its favours, an’ it varies in its wage,
It’ll have to be me stan’-by in me old, old age.

By gum, I’m gettin’ old, I am!
An’ as I ses, las’ week, to Sam —
               That’s Sam McQueen,
That owns the pace ’tween mine an’ Jones —
Or rather, when I say he owns
               The place I mean
He rents it, like, frum off the State;
An’ that’s the same at any rate —
               He pays no rent:
Fer, same as me, an’ all the lot
Of cockies here, he hasn’t got
               A blessed cent.
Much less arrears an’ things to spare
When all his house’old debts are square
               Down at the store.
In fact, most years when we have sold
The crop, we find the debt, all told,
               A trifle more.

Ole Sam an’ me, we’ve had our groan,
When we have reaped not where we’ve sown,
               We’ve railed an’ cried;
But now we’re hardened, him an’ me,
An’ preach the good ole policy
               Of let it slide.
But tho’ I hold it ain’t no use,
There’s times when Sam ull get the blues
               An’ pitches tales
Of things that might have been, but ain’t;
’Twould try the temper of a saint —
               The way he rails,
At times, about his dearth of tin,
An’ how he might have been well in
               Had he been wise.
Fer we have struck some payin’ deals,
An’ had our twenty bushel yeil’s,
               An’ made a rise;
But if we acted spen’thrift then,
An’ if those times don’t come again,
               What use to damn
Our foolishness of those days, now?
The chance is gone—well, let it go;
               So I ses, “Sam —

“The land it was me cradle, an’ the land ull be me grave;
It might uv been my forchune if I’d sense enough to save.
Tho’ ’tis fickle with its favours, an’ it varies in its wage,
It ull have to be me stan’-by in me old, old age.”

 

Toolangi

He was obviously English, in his Harris tweeds and stockings.
And his accent was of Oxford, and his swagger and his style
Seemed to hint at halls baronial.  He despised the “demned Colonial”;
But he praised the things of England with a large and toothful smile.

He’d discourse for hours together on old England’s splendid weather;
On her flowers and fruits and fashions, and her wild-fowl and her game.
At all Austral things he snorted; pinned his faith to the imported.
And he said the land was rotten.  But he stayed here just the same.

Why, he came or why he lingered he was never keen to mention;
But he hinted at connections ’mid old England’s nobly grand.
Seems he drew a vague remittance — some folk said a meagre pittance —
And he sought to supplement it by a venture on the land.

So he journeyed to Toolangi, where the mountain ash yearns skyward,
And the messmate and the blue-gum grow to quite abnormal size.
’Spite the “stately homes” he vaunted, ’twas the simple life he wanted;
And he got it, good and plenty, at Toolangi on the rise.

It appears he had a notion that his “breeding” and his “culture”
Would assure him some position as a sort of country squire;
And he built a little chalet in a pretty, fern-clad valley,
And prepared to squire it nobly in imported farm attire.

But the “breeding” is in bullocks that they prize upon Toolangi.
Where the forelock-touching habit hasn’t grown to any size.
And he found, as on he plodded, and the natives curtly nodded,
That their “culture’s” agriculture at Toolangi on the rise.

First he started poultry farming, as a mild, genteel employment;
For the business promised profit, and the labor wasn’t hard;
But he wondered what the dickens was becoming of his chickens,
Till he found some English foxes prowling round his poultry yard.

So he cursed at things Australian, and invested in an orchard
That adjoined his little holding: and foresaw a life of ease.
But a flock of English starlings — pretty, “harmless” little darlings —
Ate his apples and his peaches as they ripened on the trees.

Once again he cursed the country, and fell back on cabbage-growing —
He had heard of fortunes gathered while the price was at the top
So he started, quite forgetting to erect the needful netting,
And some cheerful English rabbits finished off his cabbage crop.

Then his language grew tremendous, and he cursed at all the country;
Cursed its flora and its fauna north and south, from coast to coast:
Sat and cursed for hours together, at the “demned colonial weather”;
Till an English snow-storm bit him just as he was cursing most.

When the snow falls on Toolangi wise folk look to beam and rafter.
For the fall is ofttimes heavy as upon the roof it lies;
And it crushed the dainty chalet nestling in the pretty valley,
In the little fern-clad valley at Toolangi on the rise.

He was cursing yet, and loudly, as he crawled from out the wreckage:
Cursing as he packed his baggage and departed for his club,
For his club down in the city.  Vulgar folk — it seems a pity —
Hinted meanly that his club-house was a little back-street pub.

Now, away in far Toolangi, where the mountain peaks yearn skyward,
Folk will drop the dexter eyelid and the case epitomise;
“Yes, ‘the Duke’ has gone for ever.  British pests are far too clever.
And the English climate crushed him at Toolangi on the rise.”

 

Other Verses

The Sentimental Bloke

1. - A Spring Song

The world ’as got me snouted jist a treat;
    Crool Forchin’s dirty left ’as smote me soul;
An’ all them joys o’ life I ’eld so sweet
    Is up the pole.
Fer, as the poit sez, me ’eart ’as got
The pip wiv yearnin’ fer—I dunno wot.

I’m crook; me name is Mud; I’ve done me dash;
    Me flamin’ spirit’s got the flamin’ ’ump!
I’m longin’ to let loose on somethin’ rash. . . . 
    Aw, I’m a chump!
I know it; but this blimed ole Springtime craze
Fair outs me, on these dilly, silly days.

The young green leaves is shootin’ on the trees,
    The air is like a long, cool swig o’ beer,
The bonzer smell o’ flow’rs is on the breeze,
    An’ ’ere’s me, ’ere,
Jist moochin’ round like some pore, barmy coot,
Of ’ope, an’ joy, an’ forchin destichoot.

I’ve lorst me former joy in gettin’ shick,
    Or ’eadin’ browns; I ’aven’t got the ’eart
To word a tom; an’, square an’ all, I’m sick
    Uv that cheap tart
’Oo chucks ’er carkis at a feller’s ’ead
An’ mauls ’im . . . Ar! I wish’t that I wus dead! . . . 

Ther’s little breezes stirrin’ in the leaves,
    An’ sparrers chirpin’ ’igh the ’ole day long;
An’ on the air a sad, sweet music breaves
    A bonzer song—
A mournful sorter choon thet gits a bloke
Fair in the brisket ’ere, an’ makes ’im choke  . . . 

What is the matter wiv me? . . . I dunno.
    I got a sorter yearnin’ ’ere inside,
A dead-crook sorter thing that won’t let go
    Or be denied—
A feelin’ like I want to do a break,
An’ stoush creation for some woman’s sake.

The little birds is chirpin’ in the nest,
    The parks an’ gardings is a bosker sight,
Where smilin’ tarts walks up an’ down, all dressed
    In clobber white.
An’, as their snowy forms goes steppin’ by,
It seems I’m seekin’ somethin’ on the sly.

Somethin’ or someone—I don’t rightly know;
    But, seems to me, I’m kind er lookin’ for
A tart I knoo a ’undred years ago,
    Or, maybe, more.
Wot’s this I’ve ’eard them call that thing? . . . Geewhizz!
Me ideel bit o’ skirt! That’s wot it is!

Me ideel tart! . . .  An’, bli’me, look at me!
    Jist take a squiz at this, an’ tell me can
Some square an’ honist tom take this to be
    ’Er own true man?
Aw, Gawd! I’d be as true to ’er, I would
As straight an’ stiddy as . . . Ar, wot’s the good?

Me, that ’as done me stretch fer stoushin’ Johns,
    An’ spen’s me leisure gittin’ on the shick,
An’ ’arf me nights down there, in Little Lons.,
    Wiv Ginger Mick,
Jist ’eadin’ ’em, an’ doing in me gilt.
Tough luck! I s’pose it’s ’ow a man is built.

It’s ’ow Gawd builds a bloke; but don’t it ’urt
    When ’e gits yearnin’s fer this ’igher life,
On these Spring mornin’s, watchin’ some sweet skirt
    Some fucher wife—
Go sailin’ by, an’ turnin’ on his phiz
The glarssy eye—fer bein’ wot ’e is.

I’ve watched ’em walkin’ in the gardings ’ere
    Cliners from orfices an’ shops an’ such;
The sorter skirts I dursn’t come too near,
    Or dare to touch.
An, when I see the kind er looks they carst . . . 
Gorstrooth! Wot is the use o’ me, I arst?

Wot wus I slung ’ere for? An wot’s the good
    Of yearnin’ after any ideel tart? . . . 
Ar, if a bloke wus only understood!
    ’E’s got a ’eart:
’E’s got a soul inside ’im, poor or rich.
But wot’s the use, when ’Eaven’s crool’d ’is pitch?

I tells meself some day I’ll take a pull
    An’ look eround fer some good, stiddy job,
An’ cut the push fer good an’ all; I’m full
    Of that crook mob!
An’, in some Spring the fucher ’olds in store,
I’ll cop me prize an’ long in vain no more.

The little winds is stirrin’ in the trees,
    Where little birds is chantin’ lovers’ lays;
The music of the sorft an’ barmy breeze . . . 
    Aw, spare me days!
If this ’ere dilly feelin’ doesn’t stop
I’ll lose me block an’ stoush some flamin’ cop!

 

2. - The Intro

’Er name’s Doreen  . . . Well spare me bloomin’ days!
You could ’a’ knocked me down wiv ’arf a brick!
    Yes, me, that kids meself I know their ways,
    An’ ’as a name for smoogin’ in our click!
I just lines up an’ tips the saucy wink.
But strike! The way she piled on dawg! Yer’d think
    A bloke was givin’ back-chat to the Queen. . . . 
        ’Er name’s Doreen.

I seen ’er in the markit first uv all,
Inspectin’ brums at Steeny Isaacs’ stall.
    I backs me barrer in—the same ole way—
    An’ sez, “Wot O! It’s been a bonzer day.
’Ow is it fer a walk?” . . . Oh, ’oly wars!
The sorter look she gimme! Jest becors
    I tried to chat ’er, like you’d make a start
        Wiv any tart.

An’ I kin take me oaf I wus perlite.
An’ never said no word that wasn’t right,
    An’ never tried to maul ’er, or to do
    A thing yeh might call crook. Ter tell yeh true,
I didn’t seem to ’ave the nerve—wiv ’er.
I felt as if I couldn’t go that fur,
    An’ start to sling off chiack like I used . . . 
        Not intrajuiced!

Nex’ time I sighted ’er in Little Bourke,
Where she was in a job. I found’er lurk
    Wus pastin’ labels in a pickle joint,
    A game that—any’ow, that ain’t the point.
Once more I tried ter chat ’er in the street,
But, bli’me! Did she turn me down a treat!
    The way she tossed ’er ’ead an’ swished ’er skirt!
        Oh, it wus dirt!

A squarer tom, I swear, I never seen,
In all me natchril, than this ’ere Doreen.
    It wer’n’t no guyver neither; fer I knoo
    That any other bloke ’ad Buckley’s ’oo
Tried fer to pick ’er up. Yes, she was square.
She jist sailed by an’ lef’ me standin’ there
    Like any mug. Thinks I, “I’m out o’ luck,”
        An’ done a duck

Well, I dunno. It’s that way wiv a bloke.
If she’d ha’ breasted up ter me an’ spoke,
    I’d thort ’er jist a commin bit er fluff,
    An’ then fergot about ’er, like enough.
It’s jest like this. The tarts that’s ’ard ter get
Makes you all ’ot to chase ’em, an’ to let
    The cove called Cupid get an ’ammer-lock;
        An’ lose yer block.

I know a bloke ’oo knows a bloke ’oo toils
In that same pickle found-ery. (’E boils
    The cabbitch storks or somethink.) Anyway,
    I gives me pal the orfis fer to say
’E ’as a sister in the trade ’oo’s been
Out uv a jorb, an’ wants ter meet Doreen;
    Then we kin get an intro, if we’ve luck.
        ’E sez, “Ribuck.”

O’ course we worked the oricle; you bet!
But, ’Struth, I ain’t recovered frum it yet!
    ’Twas on a Saturdee, in Colluns Street,
    An’—quite by accident, o’ course—we meet.
Me pal ’e trots ’er up an’ does the toff
’E allus wus a bloke fer showin’ off.
    “This ’ere’s Doreen,” ’e sez. “This ’ere’s the Kid.”
        I dips me lid.

“This ’ere’s Doreen,” ’e sez. I sez “Good day.”
An’, bli’me, I ’ad nothin’ more ter say!
    I couldn’t speak a word, or meet ’er eye.
    Clean done me block! I never been so shy.
Not since I was a tiny little cub,
An’ run the rabbit to the corner pub—
    Wot time the Summer days wus dry an’ ’ot—
        Fer me ole pot.

Me! that ’as barracked tarts, an’ torked an’ larft,
An’ chucked orf at ’em like a phonergraft!
    Gorstrooth! I seemed to lose me pow’r o’ speech.
    But, ’er! Oh, strike me pink! She is a peach!
The sweetest in the barrer! Spare me days,
I carn’t describe that cliner’s winnin’ ways.
    The way she torks! ’Er lips! ’Er eyes! ’Er hair! . . . 
        Oh, gimme air!

I dunno ’ow I done it in the end.
I reckerlect I arst ter be ’er friend;
    An’ tried ter play at ’andies in the park,
    A thing she wouldn’t sight. Aw, it’s a nark!
I gotter swear when I think wot a mug
I must ’a’ seemed to ’er. But still I ’ug
    That promise that she give me fer the beach.
        The bonzer peach!

Now, as the poit sez, the days drag by
On ledding feet. I wish’t they’d do a guy.
    I dunno’ow I ’ad the nerve ter speak,
    An’ make that meet wiv ’er fer Sundee week!
But strike! It’s funny wot a bloke’ll do
When ’e’s all out . . . She’s gorn, when I come-to.
    I’m yappin’ to me cobber uv me mash. . . . 
        I’ve done me dash!

’Er name’s Doreen. . . . An’ me—that thort I knoo
    The ways uv tarts, an’ all that smoogin’ game!
An’ so I ort; fer ain’t I known a few?
    Yet some’ow . . . I dunno. It ain’t the same.
I carn’t tell wot it is; but, all I know,
I’ve dropped me bundle—an’ I’m glad it’s so.
    Fer when I come ter think uv wot I been. . . . 
        ’Er name’s Doreen.

 

3. - The Stoush o’ Day

Ar, these is ’appy days! An’ ’ow they’ve flown—
    Flown like the smoke of some inchanted fag;
Since dear Doreen, the sweetest tart I’ve known,
    Passed me the jolt that made me sky the rag.
An’ ev’ry golding day floats o’er a chap
Like a glad dream of some celeschil scrap.

Refreshed wiv sleep Day to the mornin’ mill
    Comes jauntily to out the nigger, Night.
Trained to the minute, confident in skill,
    ’E swaggers in the East, chock-full o’ skite;
Then spars a bit, an’ plugs Night on the point.
Out go the stars; an’ Day ’as jumped the joint.

The sun looks up, an’ wiv a cautious stare,
    Like some crook keekin’ o’er a winder sill
To make dead cert’in everythink is square,
    ’E shoves ’is boko o’er an Eastern ’ill,
Then rises, wiv ’is dial all a-grin,
An’ sez, “’Ooray! I knoo that we could win!”

Sure of ’is title then, the champeen Day
    Begins to put on dawg among ’is push,
An’, as he mooches on ’is gaudy way,
    Drors tribute from each tree an’ flow’r an’ bush.
An’, w’ile ’e swigs the dew in sylvan bars,
The sun shouts insults at the sneakin’ stars.

Then, lo! the push o’ Day rise to applaud;
    An’ all ’is creatures clamour at ’is feet
Until ’e thinks’imself a little gawd,
    An’ swaggers on an’ kids ’imself a treat.
The w’ile the lurkin’ barrackers o’ Night
Sneak in retreat an’ plan another fight.

On thro’ the hours, triumphant, proud an’ fit,
    The champeen marches on ’is up’ard way,
Till, at the zenith, bli’me! ’E-is-IT!
    And all the world bows to the Boshter Day.
The jealous Night speeds ethergrams thro’ space
’Otly demandin’ terms, an’ time, an’ place.

A wile the champeen scorns to make reply;
    ’E’s taken tickets on ’is own ’igh worth;
Puffed up wiv pride, an’ livin’ mighty ’igh,
    ’E don’t admit that Night is on the earth.
But as the hours creep on ’e deigns to state
’E’ll fight for all the earth an’ ’arf the gate.

Late afternoon . . . Day feels ’is flabby arms,
    An’ tells ’imself ’e don’t seem quite the thing.
The ’omin’ birds shriek clamorous alarms;
    An’ Night creeps stealthily to gain the ring.
But see! The champeen backs an’ fills, becos
’E doesn’t feel the Boshter Bloke ’e was.

Time does a bunk as us-u-al, nor stays
    A single instant, e’en at Day’s be’est.
Alas, the ’eavy-weight’s ’igh-livin’ ways
    ’As made ’im soft, an’ large around the vest.
’E sez ’e’s fat inside; ’e starts to whine;
’E sez ’e wants to dror the colour line.

Relentless nigger Night crawls thro’ the ropes,
    Advancin’ grimly on the quakin’ Day,
Whose noisy push, shorn of their ’igh-noon ’opes,
    Wait, ’ushed an’ anxious, fer the comin’ fray.
And many lusty barrackers of noon
Desert ’im one by one—traitors so soon!

’E’s out er form! ’E ’asn’t trained enough!
    They mark their sickly champeen on the stage,
An’ narked, the sun, ’is backer, in a huff,
    Sneaks outer sight, red in the face wiv rage.
W’ile gloomy roosters, they ’oo made the morn
Ring wiv ’is praises, creep to bed forlorn.

All faint an’ groggy grows the beaten Day;
    ’E staggers drunkenly about the ring;
An owl ’oots jeerin’ly across the way,
    An’ bats come out to mock the fallin’ King.
Now, wiv a jolt, Night spreads ’im on the floor,
An’ all the west grows ruddy wiv ’is gore.

A single, vulgar star leers from the sky
    An’ in derision, rudely mutters, “Yah!”
The moon, Night’s conkerbine, comes glidin’ by
    An’ laughs a ’eartless, silvery “Ha-ha!”
Scorned, beaten, Day gives up the ’opeless fight,
An’ drops ’is bundle in the lap o’ Night.

* * * * * * * * * *

So goes each day, like some celeschil mill,
    E’er since I met that shyin’ little peach.
’Er bonzer voice! I ’ear its music still,
    As when she guv that promise fer the beach.
An’, square an’ all, no matter ’ow yeh start,
The commin end of most of us is—Tart.

 

4. - Doreen

“I wish’t yeh menat it, Bill.” Oh, ’ow me ’eart
        Went out to ’er that evnin’ on the beach.
I knew she weren’t no ordinary tart,
            My little peach!
I tell yeh, square an’ all, me ’eart stood still
To ’ear ’er say, “I wish’t yeh meant it, Bill.”

To ’ear ’er voice! Its gentle sorter tone,
    Like soft dream-music of some Dago band.
An’ me all out; an’ ’oldin’ in me own
            ’Er little ’and.
An’ ’ow she blushed! O, strike! it was divine
The way she raised ’er shinin’ eyes to mine.

’Er eyes! Soft in the moon; such boshter eyes!
An’ when they sight a bloke . . . O, spare me days!
’E goes all loose inside; such glamour lies
            In ’er sweet gaze.
It makes ’im all ashamed uv wot ’e’s been
To look inter the eyes of my Doreen.

* * * * * * *

The wet sands glistened, an’ the gleamin’ moon
    Shone yeller on the sea, all streakin’ down.
A band was playin’ some soft, dreamy choon;
            An’ up the town
We ’eard the distant tram-cars whir an’ clash.
An’ there I told ’er ’ow I’d done me dash.

“I wish’t yeh meant it.” ’Struth! And did I, fair?
    A bloke ’ud be a dawg to kid a skirt
Like her. An’ me well knowin’ she was square.
            It ’ud be dirt!
’E’d be no man to point wiv her, an’ kid.
I meant it honest; an’ she knoo I did.

She knoo. I’ve done me block in on her, straight.
    A cove ’as got to think some time in life
An’ get some decent tart, ere it’s too late,
            To be ’is wife.
But, Gawd! ’Oo would ’a’ thort it could ’a’ been
My luck to strike the likes of ’er? . . . Doreen!

Aw, I can stand their chuckin’ off, I can.
    It’s ’ard; an’ I’d delight to take ’em on.
The dawgs! But it gets that way wiv a man
            When ’e’s fair gone.
She’ll sight no stoush; an’ so I have to take
Their mag, an’ do a duck fer her sweet sake.

Fer ’er sweet sake I’ve gone and chucked it clean:
    The pubs an’ schools an’ all that leery game.
Fer when a bloke ’as come to know Doreen,
            It ain’t the same.
There’s ’igher things, she sez, for blokes to do.
An’ I am ’arf believin’ that it’s true.

Yes, ’igher things—that wus the way she spoke;
    An’ when she looked at me I sorter felt
That bosker feelin’ that comes o’er a bloke,
            An’ makes ’im melt;
Makes ’im all ’ot to maul ’er, an’ to shove
’Is arms about ’er . . . Bli’me? but it’s love!

That’s wot it is. An’ when a man ’as grown
    Like that ’e gets a sorter yearn inside
To be a little ’ero on ’is own;
            An’ see the pride
Glow in the eyes of ’er ’e calls ’is queen;
An’ ’ear ’er say ’e is a shine champeen.

“I wish’t yeh meant it,” I can ’ear ’er yet,
    My bit o’ fluff! The moon was shinin’ bright,
Turnin’ the waves all yeller where it set—
            A bonzer night!
The sparklin’ sea all sorter gold an’ green;
An’ on the pier the band—O, ’Ell! . . . Doreen!

 

Brothers O’ Mine

Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine,
All the world over, from pole to pole —
All of them brothers of mine and thine —
Every wondering, blundering soul.
Banded together by grace divine,
Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine.

Good Brother Green at the service sat —
Sat in the chapel and bowed his head;
Praying most fervently into his hat;
Bending his knee when The Word was read.
For good Brother Green was a godly man —
A godly keristian; and what be more,
He loved all sinners, and carefully ran
A worldy and prosperous grocery store.

“Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine,”
Quoted the preacher, with dolorous drone:
“The Lord He hath given thee all that is thine.
Love ye not gold for itself alone.
E’er to the fallen thy mercy incline,
Love thou thy neighbour! O, brothers o’ mine.”

Good comrade Hal in the tavern sat —
Sat in the tavern and tossed his head,
Tilting a glass to the brim of his hat;
Bending his arm when the toast was said.
But comrade Hal was a godless man —
A godless sinner; and what be more,
He loved good liquor, and carelessly ran
A long, long bill at the grocery store.

“Brother o’ mine, brother o’ mine,”
Shouted the tippler in riotous tone,
“Toiled thou, and sweated for all that is thine;
But love not gold for itself alone.
Gold bringeth gladness and red, red wine.
Fill up another! O, brother o’ mine.”

Every Sabbath, since childhood years,
Good Brother Green at the service sat —
A traveller stern in this vale of tears —
Breathing his piety into his hat;
Praying for guidance and praying for light;
Vowing unworthiness more and more;
With a nice warm feeling that all was right
With the business of Green’s Cash Grocery Store.

“Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine,”
Turn not away from thy brother in sin.
Afar let the light of your righteousness shine,
A beacon to gather the wanderer in.
Lovers of wickedness, lovers of wine,
All,”
said the worshipper, “brothers o’ mine.”

Every Sabbath, since childhood’s years,
Comrade Hal in the tavern sat —
A rioter gay in this vale of tears,
Tilting his glass to the brim of his hat;
Drinking from morn to the fall of night;
Vowing good-fellowship more and more;
With a nice warm feeling that all was right,
And a curse for the bill at the grocery store.

Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine,
Seek ye a pew or a pewter to-day?
Where is the brotherhood vaunted divine —
Here, in the tavern - or over the way?
Drink is a snare, and a mocker is wine;
But the world? - Nay, forget it, O brothers o’ mine!

Monday morn, with a soul for work,
Good Brother Green stood rubbing his hands —
Rubbing his hands with an oily smirk;
Seeking the trade a good name commands.
Came there a widow who pleaded for time —
For a month, for a week!  Ah, what would it mean!
“Sell up her sticks.  This pretence is a crime!
And business is business,” quoth good Brother Green.
 
Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine!
Cover your drunkenness, cover your spite!
Brother in piety, brother in wine —
Are we a brotherhood?  Lord give us light!
Lover of cant, or the lover of wine —
Which lov’st thou of these brothers o’ thine?

Heavy and dull on the Monday morn,
Comrade Hal went rubbing his head -
Rubbing his head with an air forlorn;
Seeking the tavern where wine is red.
Passed he a beggar who aid invoked.
“Catch, then, brother,” he merely cried,
Spinning a coin as he smiled and joked.
“Now I go thirsty,” the tippler sighed.

Brothers o’ mine, brothers o’ mine —
Brothers in purple, brothers in rags —
Who can the bonds of your kin define?
Plead ye beggars, and jest ye wags!
“Nay, beggar brother, why dost thou whine?
All these good people are brothers o’ thine.”


The Joy Ride

Ah Gawd! It makes me sick to think
    Of what I ’eard an’ seen;
Poor ’Arry like a wet rag flung
    Across the wrecked machine;
An’ Rose, ’er face all chiner-white
    Against the gory green.

Now ’Arry Cox ’e drives a car
    For Doctor Percy Gray.
Ses ’e to me: “On Sund’y nex’
    The Doc will be away.
’Ow is it for a little trip
    To Fernville for the day?

“I know two bonzer girls,” ’e ses;
    “Fair ’otties, both, they are.
There’s Rose who serves behind the joint
    In Mudge’s privit bar,
An’ Lena Crump who jerks the pump
    Down at the Southern Star.”

Now, who’d refuse a Sund’y trip
    With girls an’ all give in?
The car was there an’ oil to spare.
    To rat would be a sin!
An’ who’d refuse a drop o’ booze
    When pals is flush o’ tin?

Wot all the courts an’ papers say
    Can’t add to my distress. . . . 
Rose, with the blood upon ’er face
    An’ on ’er crumpled dress!
An’ that poor champ who got the bump—
    Ah, Gawd! ’E was a mess!

The girls ’ad stout at ten mile out,
    An’ we was drinkin’ beer.
I swear they lies like ’ell who ses
    That we was on our ear!
For, or we was both, I take me oath,
    As sober as me here.

Now, Lena was a dashin’ piece,
    ’Igh-spirited an’ flash.
’Twas plain enough to me that day
    That ’Arry’d done ’is dash.
An’ Rose—(Ah! how ’er eyes did stare)
    Rose was my speshul mash.

It’s easy now fer folks to talk
    Who might have done the same.
We meant no ’arm to anyone,
    An’ ’Arry knew ’is game.
’Twas like a flash, the skid—the crash.
    An’ we was not to blame.

I wisht I could shut out that sight;
    Fergit that awful row!
Poor Rose!    ’Er face all chiner-white,
    Like I can see it now;
An’ ’Arry like a heap o’ clothes
    Jist chucked there any’ow
.

They ses we painted Fernville red;
    They ses that we was gay;
But wot come after dull’s me mind
    To wot them liars say.
We never dreamed of death an’ ’ell
    When we set out that day.

’Twas ev’nin’ when we turned for ’ome:
    The moon shone full that night:
An’ for a mile or more ahead
    The road lay gleamin’ white:
An’ Rose sat close aside o’ me.
    ’Er face turned to the light.

Wot if we sung a song or two?
    Wot if they ’eard us shout?
Is song an’ laughter things to curse
    An’ make a fuss about?
“Go faster! faster!” Lena screams.
    An’ ’Arry let ’er out.

I’d give me soul jist to ferget.
    Lord!    how ’er eyes did stare!
’Er kisses warm upon me lips,
    I seen ’er lyin’ there.
Blood on ’er face, all chiner-white,
    An’ on ’er yeller ’air.

I never took no ’eed o’ pace
    (I’ve been on twenty trips).
An’ Rose was restin’ in me arms,
    ’Er cheek against my lips.
A precious lot I dream of skids,
    A lot I thought of slips.

I only know we never thinks—
    I know we never dreams
Of folk walkin’ on that road;
    Till, sudden, Lena screams. . . . 
An’, after that, the sights I saw
    I’ve seen again in dreams.

We never seen the bloke ahead!
    ’Ow can they call us rash?
I jist seen ’Arry move to shove
    ’Is arm around ’is mash;
I seen ’er jump to grab the wheel,
    Then, Lord! . . . there came the smash!

Aw, they can blame an’ cry their shame!
    It ain’t for that I care.
I held ’er in my arms an’ laughed. . . . 
    Then seen ’er lying’ there,
The moonlight streamin’ on ’er face,
    An’ on ’er yeller ’air.

 

The Tory

In “the early eocene” when the mammoth strode, serene,
O’er the tertiary green, monopolising most o’ things;
Rose a creature called a man, with a system and a plan,
Claiming rights, and straight began to organise a host o’ things.

Said the creature, queer of shape — once an anthropoidal ape —
“Things are in a shocking scrape; I’m bent upon improving them.
I am going to expand.  There are troubles in the land;
I intend to take a hand reforming or removing them.”

Then a Tory mastodon, fat and fierce to gaze upon,
In whose rheumy eye there shone a light of shocked propriety,
Cried with indignation vast: “Socialist!  Iconoclast!
He’ll disorganise and blast respectable society!”

But the resolute ex-ape moulded matters into shape;
Seeking ever to escape a state of things frustraneous;
And the dear old mastodon — Tory of the ages gone —
Rests his ancient bones upon the strata subterraneous.

In the days when godly men thought their wives — say nine or ten —
Wholly insufficient when they could afford a score or so;
When Solomon (who owned the mines) couldn’t count his concubines;
And all moneyed masculines could boast at least of four or so —

Rose there then, within the land, one who made a strange demand;
This no less — that they should hand all surplus femininity —
Concubine and paramour — round to the deserving poor,
Holding to themselves secure each one a lone affinity.

Then polygamists, with fat quaking, asked by this and that,
What the Devil was he at?  This was stark insanity!
“Fool!” they cried, in shocked surprise, “Are you seeking — dash your eyes!—
To ruin private enterprise to satisfy your vanity?”

And the old monopolists ramped about and shook their fists,
Shouted, hooted, cursed and hissed.  Men of proven piety
Swore at him with language bad.  “Socialist!” they yelled. “You’re mad!
Visionary!  Why your fad’s an insult to society!”

But those dear old Tory chaps have departed; and, perhaps,
Modern marriage — bar mishaps — now satisfies democracy.
Thus, at last — at least they say — that reformer got his way;
And polygamy to-day revolts the aristocracy.

In the feudal days of yore, a baron — Tory to the core —
Owned a thousand serfs or more; and land? — he had the run of it
For many leagues about.  But lo! a foolish, low-born lout
Bewailed his lot, and blurted out he “couldn’t see the fun of it.”

Roared the good old baron then, calling on his serving men;
Clapped the caitiff in a den; and swore with loud impiety.
“Zounds! Gadzooks!” the baron cried, when the rack had been applied.
“A Socialist! ’Tis well he died! A menace to society!”

So on, down throughout the ages, that old Tory person rages.
Note the cry, in all its stages, heard in every latitude.
Though the primal type has gone, hear the same old mastodon
Rave, and snort, and trumped on the same old Tory platitude.

“Stop the Socialistic fraud! Private Enterprise! Good Lord!
(Let the good news not get abroad.)  It’s BLASPHEMY!! IMPIETY!!
It seeks my ‘sacred rights’ to wrest; land, gold — all that’s best.
Arrest it!  It is menacing respectable society!”

Same old tough polygamist; same old fat monopolist;
Greedy eye and grasping fist, air of sunny propriety.
Mastodon or merchant robber; feudal lord or Crown-lands jobber —
It’s the same old Tory slobber, same old whine about “society”.

 

The Austral—aise

Fellers of Australier,
    Blokes an’ coves an’ coots,
Shift yer —— carcases,
    Move yer —— boots.
Gird yer —— loins up,
    Get yer —— gun,
Set the —— enermy
    An’ watch the —— run.

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on,
        Have some —— sense.
    Learn the —— art of
        Self de- —— -fence.

Have some —— brains be-
    Neath yer —— lids.
An’ swing a —— sabre
    Fer the missus an’ the kids.
Chuck supportin’ —— posts,
    An’ strikin’ —— lights,
Support a —— fam’ly an’
    Strike fer yer —— rights.

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on, etc.

Joy is —— fleetin’,
    Life is —— short.
Wot’s the use uv wastin’ it
    All on —— sport?
Hitch yer —— tip-dray
    To a —— star.
Let yer —— watchword be
    “Australi- —— ;-ar!”

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on, etc.

’Ow’s the —— nation
    Goin’ to ixpand
’Lest us —— blokes an’ coves
    Lend a —— ’and?
’Eave yer —— apathy
    Down a —— chasm;
’Ump yer —— burden with
    Enthusi- —— -asm.

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on, etc.

W’en the —— trouble
    Calls yer native land
Take a —— rifle
    In yer —— ’and
Keep yer —— upper lip
    Stiff as stiff kin be,
An’ speed a —— bullet for
    Pos- —— -terity.

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on, etc.

W’en the —— bugle
    Sounds “Ad- —— -vance”
Don’t be like a flock er sheep
    In a —— trance
Biff the —— foeman
    Where it don’t agree
Spifler- —— -cate him
    To Eternity.

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on, etc.

Fellers of Australier,
    Cobbers, chaps an’ mates,
Hear the —— enermy
    Kickin’ at the gates!
Blow the —— bugle,
    Beat the —— drum,
Upper-cut an’ out the cow
    To kingdom- —— -come!

CHORUS:
    Get a —— move on,
        Have some —— sense.
    Learn the —— art of
        Self de- —— -fence.

 

My Poor Relation

I have a poor relation, but
    He never troubles me.
He’s bowed with care; he wears an air
    Of abject misery.
Yet, I am happy to relate,
He never is importunate.

I meet him often in the street;
    Sometimes he speaks to me;
I know, indeed, he is in need—
    That’s very plain to see.
Yet, though he is in want, I own
He never asks me for a loan.

His cuffs are frayed around the edge;
    His hat’s a sight to see;
His coat is torn; his pants are worn,
    And baggy at the knee.
Yet, though his need is manifest,
He never brings me one request.

I know he often wants for food,
    His tradesmen are unpaid,
His life’s accurst with one large thirst
    That never is allayed.
Yet, ne’er by hint or sign does he
Suggest that it is “up to me.”

Is he too proud? Well, truly, no;
    To beg he’s not ashamed.
Yet, his neglect in that respect,
    Is scarcely to be blamed.
In fact he knows full well, you see,
That I am just as poor as he.


The Martyred Democrat

The annual report showed that steady progress had been made. The membership of the Toorak branch numbered 500. Public and drawing-room meetings had been held, and the electorate had been canvassed. - Report of the Vic. Wimmen’s League

The main note of Liberal policy, as declared in the platform, is that it is Federal and democratic. - Melbourne ARGUS.

[Note. - This tragic recitation may be delivered at ordinary gatherings without fee or charge; but the right to recite it in “select” drawning-rooms, stock exchanges, boudoirs, bank parlors, directors’ board-rooms or Legislative Councils is stricly reserved.]

                    (Begin breezily):
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, where float the strains of Brahms,
While cultured caterpillars chew the leaves of potted palms —
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, upon a summer’s day,
The democrats of Toorak met to pass an hour away.
They hearkened to a long address by Grabbit, M.L.C.,
While Senator O’Sweatem passed around the cakes and tea;
And all the brains and beauty of the suburb gathered there,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room — Miss Fibwell in the chair.

                 (With increasing interest):
Ay, all the fair and brave were there — the fair in fetching hats;
The brave in pale mauve pantaloons and shiny boots, with spats.
But pride of all that gathering, a giant ’mid the rest,
Was Mr Percy Puttipate, in fancy socks and vest.
Despite his bout of brain-fag, plainly showing in his eyes,
Contracted while inventing something new in nobby ties,
He braved the ills and draughts and chills, damp tablecloths and mats,
Of Lady Lusher’s drawing-room: this prince of Democrats.

                    (Resume the breeze):
Upon a silken ottoman sat Willie Dawdlerich,
Who spoke of democratic things to Mabel Bandersnitch.
And likewise there, on couch and chair, with keen, attentive ears,
Sat many sons and daughters of our sturdy pioneers;
Seed of our noble squatter-lords, those democrats of old,
Who held of this fair land of ours as much as each can hold;
Whose motto is, and ever was, despite the traitor’s gab:
“Australia for Australians — as much as each can grab.”

                    (In cultured tones):
“Deah friends,” began Miss Fibwell, “you — haw — understand ouah league
Is formed to stand against that band of schemers who intrigue —
That horrid band of Socialists who seek to wrest ouah raights,
And, with class legislation, straive to plague ouah days and naights.
They claim to be the workers of the land; but Ai maintain
That, tho’ they stand for horny hands, we represent the bwain.
Are not bwain-workers toilers too, who labah without feah?”
(The fashioner of fancy ties: “Heah, heah!  Quaite raight!  Heah, heah!”)

“They arrogate unto themselves the sacred name of Work.
But still, Ai ask, where is the task that we’ve been known to shirk?
We’re toilahs, ev’ry one of us, altho’ they claim we’re not.”
(The toiler on the ottoman: “Bai jove, I’ve heard thet rot!”)
“Moahovah, friends, to serve theah ends, they’re straiving, maight and main,
To drag down to theah level folk who work with mind and bwain.
They claim we do not earn ouah share, but, Ai maintain we do!”
(The grafter in the fancy socks: “The’ah beastly rottahs, too!”)

                   (With rising inflexion):
“Yes, friends, they’ll drag us down and down, compelling us to live
Just laike themselves — the selfish class, on what they choose to give.
Nay, moah, they’ll make us weah theah clothes — plain working — clothes, forsooth!
Blue dungarees in place of these.” . . . “Mai Gahd!  Is this the
   trooth?

                    (With fine dramatic force):
A gurgling groan; a sick’ning thud; a flash of fancy socks,
And Mr Percy Puttipate fell like a stricken ox.
Crashed down, through cakes and crockery, and lay, ’mid plate and spoon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room one summer afternoon.

                    (With a rush of emotion):
A scream from Mabel Bandersnitch pierced thro’ the ev’ning calm
(The cultured grubs, alone unmoved, still chewed the potted palm).
Strong men turned white with sudden fright; girls fell in faint and swoon
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room that fateful afternoon.

                    (With tears in the voice):
But Puttipate? ... Ah, what of him — that noble Democrat,
As he lay there with glassy stare, upon the Persian mat?
What recks he now for nobby ties, and what for fancy socks,
As he lies prone, with cake and cream smeared on his sunny locks?

                    (Mournfully):
Good Mr Grabbit took his head, O’Sweatem seized his feet;
They bore him to an ambulance that waited in the street.
Poor Mabel Bandersnitch sobbed loud on Dawdlerich’s vest;
A pall of woe fell over all — Miss Fibwell and the rest.
A mournful gloom o’erspread the room, as shades of ev’ning fell,
And, one by one, they left the place till none was left to tell
The tale of that dire tragedy that wrecked the summer calm —
Except the apathetic grubs, who went on eating palm.

                    (Suggestive pause; then, with fresh interest):
There still be men — low common men — who sneer at Toorak’s ways,
And e’en upon poor Puttipate bestow but grudging praise.
But when you hear the vulgar sneer of some low Labor bore.

                    (With fine dramatic intensity):
Point to that pallid patriot on Lady Lusher’s floor!
Point to that daring Democrat, that hero of Toorak,
Who lifeless lay, that fateful day, upon his noble back!
Point to that hero, stricken down for our great Party’s sake,
His sunny locks, his fiery socks o’er-smeared with cream and cake.

                    (In scathing tones):
Then lash with scorn the base poltroon who sullies his fair fame.
Who, moved by fear, attempts to smear the lustre of that name.
Great Puttipate! The Democrat! Who perished, all too soon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, one summer afternoon.

(Finish with a noble gesture, expressing intense scorn, bow gracefully, and
   retire amidst great applause.)

 

The Idolators

The veil was rent, and mundane Time merged in Eternity;
And I beheld the End of Things.  I heard the Last Decree
Pronounced on all the World that Is, and Was, and Is to Be.

Rank upon rank before the Throne the Nations were arrayed,
And every man since Time began by his own act was weighed;
Till, to the Right, the diffident Elected stood dismayed.

For here the lowly Lazarus, and all his kind and ken —
Repentant knave and serf and slave and humble beggar-men —
In wonder looked from Damned to Throne, then on the Damned again.

Gaunt, towsled creatures of the streets still trembled, half in fear;
Weak women who had “sinned” for love, and common folk were here,
Facing the Lost, yet doubting  still that the Decree was clear.

For on the Left amid the Damned, a thousand million strong,
There stood a band of “righteous” folk — a very “genteel” throng;
All much surprised and scandalised, and scenting “something wrong.”

Here reigned Respectability ’mid virgins sour and chaste;
Prim, haughty dames, whose worldly aims had been in perfect taste,
Shorn of their pride, stood side by side with sweaters leaden-faced.

Strict folk, who ne’er had sinned without due reck’ning of the cost,
Sniffed disapproval and declared the function was a frost,
And vowed the angel-ushers erred in marking them as Lost.

Strange men there were of ev’ry age since Man did first increase,
From Adam on to Babylon, from Persia to Greece,
From Greece and Rome, to England, on till Time was bidden cease.

Courtiers were there, and prince and peer — ay, even brewere-knights —
Preachers and parsons, Pharisees, Gentiles and Israelites,
Pharaohs and Caesars, Emperors and smug suburbanites.

Yea, every canting hypocrite since early Eocene,
In skin and silk and suit of mail and broadcloth stood serene,
Full sure his plight would be set right when the “mistake” was seen.

And, as they gazed, shocked and amazed, upon the chosen side —
On folk ill-clad in rags that had half-clothed them when they died —
Lord God, they’re not respectable! Nay, have a care!” they cried.

Then stepped there forth, consumed with wrath, an unctuous alderman;
And, standing out before the Throne, he pompously began —
(In life he built a church, and many “charities” he ran) —

“Most High, the Heavenly Court, and Friends I do not wish to blame
Where blame is not deserved; but I protest it is a shame
That such a state of things exists; and I regret I came.

“I — I, a pillar of the Church, a famed philanthropist,
Who, on a Sabbath went to chapel thrice, and never missed;
I, rich, respectable, am down on the ‘Rejected’ list.

“It is absurd, upon my word, when even Royalty
Is bid make way for yon array of rags and misery!
Ay, even vice, to my surprise, in their soiled ranks I see!

“’Tis past a jest; and I protest it is an insult when
That common, motley crew of low, ill-bred, unlettered men
Is set on high, while such as I are herded in this pen!

And, as he closed, the huddled rows of Damned caught up the cry ;
From many million “genteel” throats a shout went to the sky:
“Lord God, they’re not respectable! Beware, beware, Most High!”

Close on their shout The Voice rang out, and took them like a flood;
Till king and khan and alderman and prince of royal blood,
And chief and lord and preacher cowered and trembled where they stood.

“Ye knew my life, ye knew my Law, ye mocked with hollow praise;
Ye knelt to me in blasphemy once in the Seven Days;
Then raised an idol in my place and went your idol’s ways.

“To this ye turned; for this ye spurned the Man of Galilee;
And in your hearts ye sacrificed to other gods than me;
Nor ceased to crawl to it ye call ‘Respectability.’

“And when its Law was not my Law, say, whither did ye lean?
Did ye heed my Word or seek to aid my humble folk and mean?
Ye prayed unto a myth and scorned the lowly Nazarene.

“E’en as ye judged my People here, so are ye judged and weighed;
But the humble mates of Christ the Carpenter today are paid.
My folk they be; I know not ye.  Go, call your god to aid.”

And lo, adown the shining stairs, each with a flaming sword,
Avenging hosts of angels came — yet howled the stricken horde,
“Lord God, they’re not respectable!  Be warned in time, O Lord!”

Then yawned agape and greedily a horrid, fiery cleft,
And prince and king and alderman, of pomp and pride bereft,
Went, pressed like herded cattle, till no trace of gloom was left.

Yet, as they fell, the gates of Hell gave back a cry that came —
Now far and faint, a doleful plaint—all muffled through the flame,
“Lord God, they’re not respectable!  O, King of Kings, for shame!”

 

The Lovers

One idle hour she sought to see
   Whose image ’twas he cherished so
(All fondly certain whose ’twould be),
   And found — a girl she did not know.

A trusty maiden’s modest face,
   All innocence and purity.
“What nun is this that fills my place?
   Alas, he loves me not!” sighed she.

“Nay, daughter, let no foolish fears
   Your trust in his devotion mar,”
Her mother said.  “Come, dry your tears;
   That is the girl he thinks you are.”

All fondly curious with love
   (Half guessing what he would lay bare)
He rifled her heart’s treasure trove,
   And found — a stranger’s image there.

“This is the man she loves!” said he,
   And, searching in the noble face,
Read high resolve and constancy.
   “This saint,” he cried, “usurps my place!”

“Nay,” spake his friend.  “Your anger cool;
   Gaze on that God-like face once more:
Then be satisfied, O fool;
   That is the man she takes you for.”

 

The Nearing Drums

Beside my own house-door am I
   With all the world at peace.
A little cloud against the sky
   Trails by its tattered fleece,
The sunlight sports amid the tossing trees,
Their leaves now dark, now silver in the breeze.

The brown-tipped saplings bend and sway
   As in a mimic strife,
Like merry children at their play.
   Aglow with careless life ....
And, muffled, like the roll of distant drums,
A drone of waters from the gully comes.

The Jack has laughed the whole day long —
   A jocund bird is he!
This eve, a thrush his even song
   Pipes merrily to me.
He pipes of idle hours, of pleasant days,
Of lives cast blessedly in tranquil ways.

With peace and freedom over all
   The summer day has flown;
And well content am I to call
   This happy land mine own.
Mine own! ... And in the thrush’s careless song
I mark a changing note: “How long? How long?”

How long?  And, as the years march on,
   Shall it be e’er as this?
Or shall some alien look upon
   These scenes we love — as his?
Still from the gully sounds that rhythmic beat:
The menace of the drums; the marching feet!

Shall this dear land we call our own
   Be ours one other year?
Mark how the drums have louder grown!
   The tramping feet draw near!
And thro’ the drone breaks forth a warning voice:
“Yours be the sacrifice!  Yours is the choice!”

The challenge of a bugle blast!
   The thrush’s song is lost.
Pale, stern-faced men march grimly past
   Where saplings swayed and tossed;
And where the peaceful clouds sailed slowly by,
I see black smoke of cannon in the sky.

I mark the smoke of cannon rise
   To hide the summer sun;
I hear the soldiers’ fighting cries,
   The booming of a gun.
My countrymen!  Our summer day has flown!
To-morrow! — shall this loved land be our own?

Ours is the choice. And shall our sons,
   When those dark days are o’er —
When stilled again are drums and guns —
   Sit each beside his door? —
Beside his own house-door and proudly say,
“’Tis to our sires we owe this summer day?”

Or shall they, vanquished and enslaved,
   Mourn for a country lost —
The land their fathers might have saved
   Who meanly shirked the cost?
And shall they curse, upon that evil day,
The dolts who dreamed one summer time away?

Beside mine own house-door am I,
   With all the world at peace,
A little cloud trails slowly by
   Its torn and tattered fleece,
And sweetly, to my idle ear there comes
The note of happy bird-talk in the gums.

The brown-tipped saplings bend and gleam,
   Like careless boys at play:
Like careless boys we laugh, we dream
   The livelong summer day.....
Louder the sound from out the gully comes;
The marching feet; the sullen roll of drums.

 

The Royal Hat

Now a hat is a hat, and a head is a head,
And there’s “reason in most things,” as someone has said,
And a joke is a joke; but, I give you a word,
This roofing of kings is becoming absurd.

In days neolithic, when clothing was rare,
And a trogkodyte’s wardrobe comprised mainly hair
When a nose-bone and anklet were reckoned “the thing,”
The cave-men elected a kind of a king.

Then trouble arose; for the bloke in the street
Didn’t bow to the king when they happened to meet;
For when a king’s hairiness sums up his clobber,
A loyalist hardly knows when he should slobber.

This king set to work, with a serious frown,
And in fewer than six months he’d invented the crown —
A mere wreath of rushes, not much of a thing,
But it published the fact that the wearer was king.

Now, I put it to you, as a man to a man
There was reason and sense in that troglodyte’s plan;
For as he remarked, “’Tisn’t much of a fit,
But ’twill help to proclaim to the crowd I am It.”

But he didn’t call round him his dukes and his lords,
His cousins and aunts, and relations in hordes,
His troglodyte bishops to buther and rave;
No, he just shoved it on in his own private cave.

But the king who came next was a vain sort of man
(And this is just where all the trouble began).
He was fond of a “function” and eager for show;
And he sowed all the seeds of the nonsense we know.

It started like that; and the foolishness grew
From inviting a friendly and intimate few,
Till the time when the whole blinded nation was bid on
The day when the king had to get his new lid on.

With a babble the rabble goes forth to the Fog,
Forgetting the rent, and forsaking the dog;
They are rushing to London and all because — Why?
To see a crown cocked o’er the boss-prince’s eye!

From its innermost heart to its outermost spot
The whole bloomin’ Empire has gone off its dot.
For to count “any class” you must be in the swim,
And shout with the crowd at the hatting, “That’s ’im!

“That’s ’is ’ighness the King with the large golden hat —
It’s worth twice the money to see ’im like that!”
And every old person “of note” will be there,
Who can dodge the collector and rake up the fare.

Barons and bishops and boodlers in hordes,
The earliest earls and the lordliest lords,
Nabobs and niggers from India’s strand
And the juiciest Jews that they raise on the Rand.

Marshals and marquises, brewers in sheaves,
Admirals, aldermen, stock-exchange thieves,
And the duckiest duchesses, gorgeously gowned,
Will flock into London to see the King crowned.

Princes and premiers from over the seas
Will jostle the Rajahs and Labor M.P.’s;
The peerage and beerage will crowd in the Stand,
With squatters and rotters who libel their land.

And, when you consider the crowd and the time,
You expect them to burst into babyish rhyme:
“With a rumpity-bump, and a pit-a-pit-pat.
To see an archbishop put on the king’s hat.”

But I put it to you, as a friend to a friend:
What the deuce is the use of it all in the end?
For you’d think, once he’s under his gorgeous cover,
There ought to be something to show when it’s over.

But, save you! he don’t wear the thing in the street,
To signify something to coves he may meet;
He wraps it in wadding and puts it away,
And wears a plain billycock tile every day!

And when all the blither and blather is o’er,
The rustle and bustle, the rush and the roar,
Then, this is what calls for hilarious laughter:
He’s just as much monarch before it as after!

The bills and the bailiffs come round as before,
And buzz-flies will buzz in the springtime once more,
It doesn’t make milkers or mining shares rise,
Or cure indigestion or specks ’fore the eyes.

The welkin may ring with the national glee,
(You’ll know, though I don’t, what the welkin may be).
And the “thin crimson thread of our kinship” may twang;
But that ain’t improvin’ the birthrate a hang.

So, I put it to you, as a cobber to cobber;
Do you see the sense of this silly old slobber?
Take any old head, and take any old hat,
Sove one on the other — what’s there in that?

For a hat is a hat, and a head is a head,
And a joke is a joke, as I’ve previously said;
But a farce is a farce, and, I give you my word,
This roofing of kings is becoming absurd.

 

Under The Party Plan

This is written for a future generation, and may be recited in “drawing-rooms” by veteran M’s.P. 50 or 100 years hence, after the establishment of Elective Ministries.

Ah, yes, but the story’s an old one now;
’Tis an ancient tale, but, if you’ll allow,
I’ll tell you something of how they made
Our laws in the days of the Biff brigade;
In the days of valor and old Romance,
When a hasty word or an angry glance
Brought vengeance, swift as a shooting star;
And a member hurtled across the bar.
When a man relied on his strong right hand,
And — a book, or a bottle, or a glass ink-stand;
When the Speaker’s voice, like the Crack o’ Doom,
Echoed and volleyed across the room,
Suspending members in threes and fours
’Mid the Labor shrieks and the Lib’ral roars.
Ah! Those were the days when a man was a man
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

Who, in these days, can conceive the sight
When they battled for office as strong men fight?
And who can picture the baresark rage
Of a member baulked of a Minister’s wage?
’Twas woe to the member who failed to duck
When the missiles flew in that ancient ruck.
And woe to the Speaker who left the Chair
Without precaution, without due care
That the way was clear for a swift retreat;
For....Hist!....Was that thunder?  Nay, ’twas the feet
Of the Opposition in swift pursuit,
Eager to settle an old dispute;
Eager to settle it then and there,
Like hounds on the scent of a startled hare.
For a feud was a feud, and a clan was a clan,
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

Was a man too timid to tell the truth
Because of a Sergeant-at-Arms, forsooth?
Was a man too craven to speak his mind
For fear of the Law and the men behind?
Was a man to be hounded from place and pay
By the votes of an ignorant people?  Nay!
An interjection, a word misplaced,
And answer given in nervous haste,
And....quick as a flash: “You lie!  You cur!
You’re a dirty....Order!....Disgraceful!....Sir!....
I rise to....Scoundrel!....I won’t withdraw!....
You blackguard!....Liar!!....I’ll break your jaw!...
I name the member....I’ll let you see!...
Let go my whiskers!....Apologise?  Me??
I’ll see you....Order!....Come on outside!....
Dog!....Traitor!....Villain!....I’ll tear your hide!....
Sergeant, remove the....Contemptible!  Bash!!....
Insulting!....Constable, do your....CRASH!!”
Ah, show me the heroes to-day, if you can,
   As in Parliament under the Party plan.

Those were the days when a member fought
For his place and pay as a strong man ought;
When they spoke their minds till the borrowed hair
Stood straight on the head of the startled Chair;
When they said their say, till the clerks turned pale,
And the pressmen bent ’fore the awful gale.
And many a fierce and gory fight
Cheered up the sitting on some late night.
But finest of all was the last brave stand
Of the member for Fatville, Claude Legrand,
The hope, the pride of the Cursing Clan....
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

He had called the Premier a low-bred hound,
He had scattered a few choice names around,
But he scarce had warmed to his subject yet,
When the insolent Speaker bade him — “get!”
“What?”....For an instant a hush like death
Fell on the House; and the labored breath
Of the pressmen, over the Speaker’s Chair,
Was the only sound on the calm, still air.
Then....Biff!....Like a tiger Claude Legrand
Reached down, and, straight from his strong right hand,
His boot came fair at the Speaker’s head,
And he dropped from the Chair like a thing of lead.
’Twas the signal!....Boom!!  In the far-off street
They heard that thunder of rushing feet;
They heard the shrieks as the members fell
With a smothered curse or a muffled yell.
For their blood was up when the fight began
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

’Twas an even battle; this way and that
The members struggled and fought and spat
Fierce oaths and teeth, as they tore and scratched,
Ay, the sides that day were right well matched.
Evenly matched till — ah, tell it with shame —
At the Government’s bidding policemen came!
And six of them hastened to Claude Legrand
Where he fought and cursed at the head of his band.
Did he blanch?  Did he quail?  Did he sue for peace?
Nay, not for a breath did his cursing cease.
On, on he fought till the Chamber floor
Was strewn with collars and coats and gore.
On, on they battled till, one by one,
His side went down to the low John Dunn.
Then scratched, and bleeding, and cut, and torn,
Brave Claude Legrand to the floor was borne.
And ten strong constables held him tight,
Then heaved him forth in the outer night...
And he who had come to the House that morn
Well-groomed, and tailored, and shaved, and shorn,
With a shiny hat, and a sleek black coat,
And a spotless collar around his throat,
Went, clothed in glory, and gore, and dirt,
And a pair of pants, and a tattered shirt....
Ah, such were the heroes who led the van
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

Yes, that is the story of Claude Legrand,
The leader of that last Liberal stand.
And through the ages his name shall ring
As the last of the Lashers, the Cursing King....
And you wonder, now that I’m old and grey,
That I take no heed of affairs to-day.
You wonder why, in the Halls of State,
I find no joy in the dull debate.
’Tis because my thoughts and my heart are there
In the days when a man defied the Chair;
In the days of valor and old Romance,
When a blow came quick on an angry glance;
When they cast them hither in threes and fours
’Mid the Labor shrieks and the Lib’ral roars;
When the pack yelped high as the Speaker ran —
   In Parliament under the Party plan.

 

Yarra Flats

A spieler came to Yarra Glen upon the Yarra flats;
He wore a suit of noisy cheeks and something cute in hats.
         He was a wicked man, they say,
         Such as they grow down Melbourne way.
         A spieler gay,
         From Melbourne way,
Who sought for Yarra flats.

He taught them an amusing trick with three elusive cards;
But with suspicion such vain things the Yarra flat regards.
         And then, with fingers mighty quick,
         He tried them with the thimble trick.
         A nimble trick,
         The thimble trick,
As tricky as the cards.

But still the stolid natives stood, and let him have his say,
But always changed the subject when he wanted them to play.
         They were not parting with their “dough.”
         “But now,” said they, “give us a show.
         We’ll do a trick,
         The river trick,
The only trick we know.

“We’ll bet you fifty pounds,” they said, “that we produce a man
Who’ll throw you clean across the river Yarra — and he can —
         Right where the stream is swift and wide
         And land you on the other side.”
         “I call your bluff!
         Put up the stuff!”
The spieler chap replied.

They led him to the river bank — the day was bleak and cold —
And on his collar and his pants their strong man took a hold.
         He swung him once, he swung him twice —
         (The strong man’s grip was like a vice) —
         Then, with a flop,
         He let him drop —
The stream was cold as ice.

The spieler scrambled to the bank.  “I’ve won!” he cried.  “I’ve won!”
“Get out!” the simple natives jeered.  “Our strong man hasn’t done.
         He’s only tried it once, you fool!
         He’s going to try again.  Keep cool.”
         “I’ve done my dash;
         You take the cash,”
The spieler said: “I’m full.”

The spieler went from Yarra Glen; his clothes were dripping wet.
“These are,” he murmured brokenly, “the fliest flats I’ve met.”
         And, as the natives saw him off,
         They cheered him on with shout and scoff;
         “We’re all strong men
         In Yarra Glen,
But Yarra flats are off!”

 

The First Elective Ministry

In the neolithic age of our Australia, long ago,
There dwelt a wise old chieftain, as you probably don’t know;
His royal tastes and habits I won’t venture to describe,
But his plain horse-sense was noted and applauded by his tribe.

Now, this chief was not a despot, as you will, perhaps, conclude;
For, though debate was noisy and procedure somewhat crude,
There did exist a Parliament, elected in due form,
With a Premier and Ministry — which made things pretty warm.

For the style of Party Government, in vogue about that time,
Was inclined to lead to discord — not to mention down-right crime.
For boomerangs and waddies were used freely in debate;
And, as a rule, ex-Ministers were spoken of as “late.”

For the salaries of Ministers were not to be despised;
And “emoluments of office” were, indeed, most highly prized.
The Premier got five ’possums and ten fat grubs a day,
While a snake and three gohannas were his colleagues’ daily pay.

Then other perks and privileges happened such as these;
The Minister controlling Rain and State Corroborees
Got all his ochre on the nod — in other words, his clothes.
So portfolios were coveted, as you may well suppose.

In consequence, the whole procedure of the House was “fight.”
No Ministry created in the morning saw the night.
And all the posts were sinecures the shorthand writers filled;
For the press-reports read briefly: “Sixteen wounded; seven killed.”

Now, the practical King Billy could not fail to recognise
That this bad old Party system was not either right or wise.
Public works were at a standstill, and the tribe was losing wealth.
Not to mention that the House’s sittings menaced public health.

The Department of Smoke-Signalling was in a shocking state;
And Defence had been forgotten in the noise of the debate.
The Flint and Sandstone Bonus Bill was shelved time and again;
And the tribe was getting very short of able-bodied men.

The commoon-sensed old chief sat down and pondered hard and long;
And thought him out a simple scheme to right this crying wrong.
Then he dissolved the Parliament and called his tribe around,
And told his plan; and all agreed his arguments were sound.

“But then,” they said, “it’s most unconstitutional, you know.
Besides, we have no precedent; therefore you have no show.”
But Bill dispensed with precedent and substituted sense —
Whereat the anger of the tribal Tories was immense.

“The nation’s welfare,” said the chief, “is what I have in mind;
And this bad old Party Government must all be left behind.
Henceforth I set my Parliament a task it may not shirk,
And members will, please, understand that fighting isn’t work.

“We’ll have Elective Ministries, and they shall rule unharmed
For forty moons; and members must attend the House unarmed.
Next election you may club them, should their actions prove unwise;
And for the second term the victors may enjoy the prize.”

They called it “socialistic”; but King Billy had his way.
For forty moons each Minister enjoyed his place and pay.
Since only once within that time the chance of office came,
The members took to making laws, and ceased to “play the game.”

Peace and prosperity henceforth smiled on the chieftain’s reign;
And, ere he died, he said, “Behold, I have not ruled in vain.
Down through the future ages shall my Great reform descend.
Australia shall bless my Simple Notion till the end.”

But, if you study recent history, you’ll note King Bill
Was most forlornly out of it; for they are at it still.
The daily fight for fatted grubs excites the same old gang;
And debate is mainly waddy, and division boomerang.

 

It Was Never Contemplated

When the Federal Constitution was drafted it was never contemplated, etc. etc. - Ancient Tory Wheeze.
We have no precedent. -
Another.

      When old ADAM bit the apple,
      And thereafter had to grapple
With hard toil to earn his daily bread by sweat,
      There’s no doubt that he protested
      That his “rights” had been molested,
And he’s probably protesting strongly yet:
      “When this garden was created
      It was never contemplated
It was never in the schedule or the plan —
      ’Twasn’t even dimly hinted
      That my living would be stinted,
Or that Work would ever be the lot of man.”

      But in spite of protestation
      ADAM, with his lone relation,
Was evicted in an arbitrary way,
      Even though that resolution
      Wasn’t in the Constitution,
And his children have been grafting to this day.
      But poor ADAM’S old contention
      Has become a stock convention
’Mid the ADAMS of the nations ever since,
      ’Mid the shufflers and the shirkers,
      Crusted Tory anti-workers,
They whom nought but “precedent” can e’er convince.

They’re the ADAMS of the race; they’re the men that clog the pace,
With their backs upon the vanguard and their eyes upon the rear;
Praising loud their point of view, and regarding owt that’s new
With a rabid Tory hatred and a vague old-fashioned fear.
They’re the men of yester-year loitering all needless here,
And meandering around and
’round in aimless, endless rings.
Ever ready to resent acts without a precedent,
Such as were not contemplated in the ancient scheme of things.

      “O, it was not contemplated!”
      ’Tis the cry of the belated,
The complaint of all the Old Worlds waterlogged;
      ’Tis the trade-mark of the Tory;
      ’Tis the declaration hoary;
’Tis the protest of the busted and the bogged.
      Mark, whenever it is uttered —
      By the lips of ancients muttered,
There is wisdom lacking here, at any rate
      For, when Tories were created
      It was never contemplated
That they ever would attempt to contemplate.

      There are many things decided,
      Quite by precedent unguided.
It was never contemplated, by the way.
      When the scheme of things was shaping,
      And mankind emerged from aping,
That he’d ever learn to eat three times a day;
      Yet, all precedent unheeding,
      Even Tories time their feeding,
And are known to be quite regular at meals;
      Though in neolithic ages
      ’Twas laid down by ancient sages
That a man shall eat when so inclined he feels.

He’s the dead weight at the back; he’s the log upon the track;
He’s the man who shouts the warning when the danger’s past and gone;
He’s the prophet of the old by defunct traditions hold;
He’s the chap who sits and twaddles while the crowd goes marching on.
Of the things uncontemplated in the councils of the dead;
But the nation marches by heedless of his bitter cry —
Marches on and contemplates the vital things away ahead.

      In the shaping of a nation
      Can we crowd all contemplation —
Can we plan it in a hurried week or so?
      Cease your ancient whiskered story
      And observe, O gentle Tory,
We are contemplating matters as we go.
      E’en to-day we’re contemplating
      Matters princip’ly relating
To the shaping of to-morrow’s onward way;
      And to-morrow ev’ry grafter
      Will be forming plans for after;
But we are not harking back to yesterday.

      For the future days arranging;
      Seeking, planning, ever changing;
Weeding out the old mistakes of yester-year;
      Planting now the seed of new things
      March the men who dare and do things,
Opening up the unblazed road without a fear.
      And, O mark you, gentle Tory,
      We shall judge your measures hoary
By the use in this day’s scheme they represent;
      We shall use them if we want them;
      If we don’t we shall supplant them,
For we do not care a damn for precedent.

He’s discretion at its worst; he a harbinger reversed;
He’s the obstinate old party who abhors the new and strange.
He’s the man whose ancient eyes ever fail to recognise
That the Law of Man was ever Change, and ever will be Change.
He’s a scoffer at the Law; he’s a blemish and a flaw;
And he whines as did old ADAM when he lost the realms of bliss.
When they shored him in the cold in the parlous days of old:

“THIS WAS NEVER CONTEMPLATED!  YOU’VE NO PRECEDENT FOR THIS!”

 

“Weighed In”

There’s mourning on the course to-day,
   The hurdle rails are splashed and red,
A jockey hurt, or killed, they say:
   And — did you hear?  The favourite’s dead.

Gay, laughing women in the stand;
   And eager throng upon the flat.
“They’re off!  Hurrah!  The start was grand!
   They seldom get away like that!”

With steady eye and steady hand
   He rides, nor gives a thought to fear.
The favourite springs at his command;
   And gaunt Death, grinning, gallops near.

“One, two, three, . . . . Over!  Every one!
   Man, this is racing, . . . . good to see!
They’ll smash, for sure, before it’s done,
   That pace will test their pedigree.”

With brain alert and tight held rein
   He schemes and battles for a place;
The blood bounds fast in his veins,
   And grim Death follows in the race.

“Hey!  Watch the way they take the sticks!
   The pace is just a cracker now;
The favourite has ’em in a fix!
   The favourite has ‘em anyhow!

With stern-set face and kindling eye; 
   No thought of danger in his mind,
He notes the furlongs flashing by,
  And Death rides hard, a length behind.

“Ay, was there ever such a race?
   See how he leaves them one by one.
They’ll never catch him!  What a pace!
   He leads!  The race is as good as done.”

Bright colours flash beneath the sun,
   The quickening hoof-beats spurn the earth;
“One jump, and then, the race is won!”
   (Gaunt Death draws level with his girth).

“The favourite wins!  The favourite wins!
   Look, look!  Oh, curse the bungling clown!
(Now, God deal gently with his sins).
   “The favourite’s down!  The favourite’s down!”

Up in the stand a woman’s shriek,
   A still form lying in the sun,
Upon the rails a crimson streak.
   The cheering crowd. . . . The race is won.

“A splendid horse, clean-limbed and strong,
   A thoroughbred in ev’ry limb;
A pity, mate, they rode him wrong,
   We seldom see the likes o’ him.”

A white cloth over his pale face,
   A wild-eyed woman by his side.

(Look out!  They’re starting the next race!)
   And grim Death chuckles o’er the ride.

Gay, laughing women in the stand,
  Tense, feverish gamesters on the flat.
“The Steeple?  Man, the race was grand!
   A shame the favourite fell like that.”

There’s mourning on the course to-day,
   The hurdle rails are splashed and red.
The favourite’s killed!  The rider?  Nay,
   There’s some will surely mourn him dead.

 

The March

In early, prehistoric days, before the reign of Man,
When neolithic Nature fashioned things upon a plan
That was large as it was rugged, and, in truth, a trifle crude,
There arose a dusky human who was positively rude.

Now, this was in the days when lived the monster kangaroo;
When the mammoth bunyip gambolled in the hills of Beetaloo;
They’d owned the land for centuries, and reckoned it their own;
For might was right, and such a thing as “law” was quite unknown.

But this dusky old reformer in the ages long ago,
One morning in the Eocene discovered how to “throw”;
He studied well and practised hard until he learned the art;
Then, having planned his Great Campaign, went forth to make a start.

“See here,” he said—and hurled a piece of tertiary rock,
That struck a Tory bunyip with a most unpleasant shock—
“See here, my name is Progress, and your methods are too slow,
This land that you are fooling with must be cut up. Now go!

They gazed at him in wonder, then they slowly backed away;
For “throwing” things was novel in that neolithic day;
’Twas the prehistoric “argument,” the first faint gleam of “art.”
Yet those mammoths seemed to take it in exceedingly bad part.    

Then a hoary, agéd bunyip rose, and spluttered loud and long;
He said the black man’s arguments were very, very wrong;
“You forget,” he said, indignantly “the land is ours by right,
And to seek to wrest it from us would be—well, most impolite.”

But the savage shook his woolly head and smiled a savage smile,
And went on hurling prehistoric missiles all the while,
Till the bunyip and the others couldn’t bear the argument,
And they said, “You are a Socialist.” But, all the same—they went.

Some centuries—or, maybe, it was æons—later on,
When the bunyip and the mammoth kangaroo had passed and gone;
While the black man slowly profited by what his fathers saw,
While he learned to fashion weapons and establish tribal law.

There came a band of pale-faced men in ships, from oversea,
Who viewed the land, then shook their heads and sadly said, “Dear me!”
Then they landed with some rum and Bibles and a gun or two,
And started out to “civilize,” as whites are apt to do.

They interviewed the black man and remarked, “It’s very sad,
But the use you make of this great land is positively bad;
Why, you haven’t got a sheep or cow about the blessed place!
Considering the price of wool, it’s simply a disgrace!”

Then they started with the Bibles and the rum—also the guns;
And some began to look for gold and others “took up runs,”
For, they said, “This land must be cut up; it’s simply useless so:
Our name is Progress, and you’re out of date, so you must go!”

But the black was most indignant, and he said it was a shame;
For he’d been full and satisfied before the white man came,
And he used a word unpublishable in his argument,
Which is native for “A blanky Buccaneer.” And yet—he went.

It’s the same old “march unceasing.” We are getting down the list,
And yesterday’s “Reformer” is tomorrow’s “Monopolist,”
For history will repeat itself in this annoying way:
Who stood for “Progress” yesterday is “Retrograde” to-day.

 

A Ballad Of Elderly Kids

Now this is the ballad of Jeremy Jones,
   And likewise of Bobadil Brown,
Of the Snooks and the Snaggers and Macs and Malones,
   And Diggle and Daggle and Down.
In fact, ’tis a song of a fatuous throng.
   Which embraces “the man in the street,”
And the bloke on the ’bus, and a crowd more of us.
   And a lot of the people we meet.

Yes, this is the story of Jack and of Jill,
   Whose surnames are Snawley or Smith,
And of Public Opinion and National Will,
   And samples of Popular Myth.
For Jeremy Jones, as a very small boy,
   Was encouraged to struggle for pelf,
And to strive very hard in his own little yard,
   But never to think for himself.

Then, Hi-diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
   Come, sing us a nursery rhyme.
For, in spite of our whiskers, we elderly friskers
   Are kiddes the most of our time.
So this is the song of the juvenile throng,
   And its aunts and its big brother Bill,
Its uncles and cousins, and sisters in dozens,
   Louisa and
’Liza and Lill.

Now, Jeremy Jones was exceedingly “loyal,”
   And when any procession went by,
He’d cheer very loud with the rest of the crowd,
   Though he honestly couldn’t tell why.
He was taught that his “rulers” toiled hard for his sake,
   And promoted the “general good”;
That to meddle with “customs” was quite a mistake.
   And Jones didn’t see why he should.

To gird at the “Order of Things as they Are,”
   He was told, was the act of a fool.
He was taught, in effect, to regard with respect
   Ev’ry’ “Precedent,” “Practice” and “Rule.”
And if we deserted the “Usual Plan”
   He believed that the nation would fall.
So Jones became known as a “right-thinking man,”
   Which meant that he didn’t at all.

Oh, Little Miss Muffett, she sat on a tuffet,
   But fled from a spider in fright;
For no one had told her that if she was bolder,
   She might have asserted her right.
Ho, rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub,
   On a sea of political doubt;
And they argue together concerning the weather,
   But never attempt to get out.

They made him a grocer when Jerry left school,
   And a very good grocer was he;
And a dunce he was not, for he knew quite a lot
   Of such matters as treacle and tea.
But the making of nations, and things so immense,
   He considered beyond his control.
He was busy on week-days at saving his pence,
   And on Sundays at saving his soul.

But politics Jones did not wholly neglect!
   He subscribed to a paper, THE SAGE;
And every morn, with becoming respect,
   He scanned its political page.
He believed what was said in each leader he read,
   For a “right-thinking person” was he.
Who was shocked at their vices, who growled of the prices
   Of Sugar or treacle or tea.

Oh, Little Jack Horner sits in a corner,
   A look of delight in his eye,
At the sight of a plum on the end of his thumb,
   While there’s somebody sneaking his pie.
Then, ride a cock hoss to Banbury Cross —
   Though the Lord only knows why we do.
But there’s precedent for it, and those who ignore it
   We class as an ignorant crew,

So Jeremy Jones he meanders through life,
   Behaving as Grandmother bids;
And so do his very respectable wife
   And extremely conventional kids.
Their bosses can trust ’em, for habit and custom
   They’ve learnt in the regular school;
And they call him “right-thinking,” while privately winking
   And setting him down as a fool.

Convention’s his master; he vows that disaster
   Will swiftly encompass its foes.
He thinks Evolution a Labor delusion,
   And “Progress” a “something’ that grows.
He’s one of the many — a credulous zany —
   The leadable, bleedable type —
Who looks upon “Time” — instructed by Granny —
   As something that rarely is ripe.

Oh, Goosey, goose gander, where do you wander?
   Only, kind sir, where I’m told;
For my master has said I must go where I’m led,
   And to contradict him would be bold.
And Little Bo-peep she lost her sheep.
   It’s the Socialist’s fault, she’ll insist.
But leave her to grieve, for she’ll never believe
   That a Meat Trust could ever exist.

Then this is the ballad of elderly kids,
   Of Jeremy Jones and his kind,
Of Bobadil Brown, and Daggle and Down,
   And the crowd with the juvenile mind.
Oh, this is a song of the National Will,
   Of the Snooks, and the Snaggers, and Smiths,
Their aunts and their cousins, and big brother Bill,
   Convention and Popular Myths.

A sad little song of the fatuous throng,
   A string of sedate little rhymes,
Concerning the crowd who consider it wrong
   To collide with the “trend of the times.”
A song about Us, who are missing the ’bus,
   While we trifle and toy with pretence.
For we play very hard in our own little yard,
   But we seldom look over the fence.

Then Hi-diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle —
   We’re never concerned with the cause.
Let’s giggle and snif for the Trust and the Ring
   Are really our old Santa Claus.
Effects may surprise us, but Granny’ll advise us;
   We’ll never behave as she bids.
Ho, grocers and drapers, let’s stick to the papers;
   We’re all of us elderly kids.

 

Moonshine

I love you, dear, o’ morn and moon.
     I love your ev’ry mood and guise;
But, neath the soft, enchanting moon,
     Such loveliness the gods must prize.
’Tis then I long to dare and fight
     The world for you, my queen o’ night.

We wander in a jewelled bower;
     And, tho’ I be your humble slave,
Within that brief, enchanted hour
    I know that I am strong and brave.
’Tis then red war I yearn to make
     And conquer worlds for your sweet sake.

And old romance in splendour comes
    From out the hills to linger nigh;
And in our cause the brave old gums
    Stand sentinel against the sky.
’Tis then I would outrival Mars
     For you — the sovereign of the stars!

 

The Eternal Circle

Now, a visitor from somewhere right outside this Mundane Ball —
Do not ask me where he came from, for that point’s not clear at all;
For he might have been an angel, or he might have come from Mars,
Or from any of the other of the fixed or unfixed stars.
As regards his mental make-up he was much like you or me;
And he toured about the country, just to see what he could see.

Well, this superhuman person was of most inquiring mind,
And ’twas noted, from his questions, he was very far from blind,
And the striking thing about him was his stern, compelling eye,
That demanded Truth ungarbled when he paused for a reply.
And, despite the mental wriggles of the folk he interviewed,
When they placed the Truth before him she was ab-so-lutely nude.

At our Civilised Society he stared in some amaze,
As he muttered his equivalent for “Gosh!” or “Spare me days!”
For our cherished modes and customs knocked him sideways, so to speak.
“To solve,” said he, “this mystery, now whither shall I seek?
For a sane and sound solution I must question those on high,”
Said this extra-mundane being with the stern, compelling eye.

Now, his methods were intelligent — I confess,
For he started with our Politics, religion and the Press.
Thus, he read a morning paper through, intently, ev’ry leaf,
Then hied him out to interview the editor-in-chief:
“They say that Truth lives in a well,” he muttered as he went;
“But her well is not an inkwell, I will lay my last lone cent.”

It chanced he found the editor unguarded and alone
At the office of the paper — ’twas the MORNING MEGAPHONE.
“Now, I take it,” said the visitor, “you represent the Press,
That great Public Educator?”  And the pressman murmured, “Yes.”
“Yet in yesterday’s edition I perceived a glaring lie!
How’s this?”  He fixed the pressman with his stern, compelling eye.

Then the editor he stammered, and the editor he “hemmed”
And muttered things like “Gracious me!” and likewise, “Well, I’m demned!”
But the lady Truth came tripping, all undressed and unashamed;
“Oh, I own it!” cried the editor.  “But how can I be blamed?
There’s our blighted advertisers and our readers — Spare my grief!
But we’ve got to please the public!” moaned the editor-in-chief.

“Now to interview a statesman and consider his reply,”
Said this strange Select Committee with the stern, compelling eye.
And the Honorable Member for Mud Flat he chanced to find
In a noble Spring-street building of a most palatial kind.
And the Honorable Member viewed his visitor with awe,
For he surely had the most compelling eye you ever saw.

“Now, then, tell me,” said the visitor; “you are a man of State,
And you blither on the platform of this Nation grand and great;
Of this noble Land’s great destiny I’ve heard you talking hard,
But, whene’er it comes to voting, it’s the ‘claims’ of your back yard.
Do you represent the Nation, as you often say you do,
Or a hen-roost or a cow-yard, or a parish-pump or two?”

Then the politician stuttered, and the politician stared,
But to voice his patriotic platitudes he felt too scared;
For the lady Truth insisted, and he blurted, “It’s the Votes!
You must blame the dashed electors when you see us turn our coats!
Our constituents control us.  You must please remember that.
And we’ve got to please the public!” whined the Member for Mud Flat.

“Now to look into religion,” said the visitor, “I’m told
I may get much information from a Wowser-of-the-Fold.”
And he sought him out a Wowser of the very sternest breed:
“Sweet Charity, they tell me, is the keynote of your creed.
And of mercy for the sinner, and of succor for the weak.
From the pulpit, on a Sunday, I have often heard you speak;
Yet Charity is turned to Spite, and Scorn becomes your creed
When they speak of giving bounty to weak Magadalene in need.”

Then the Wowser hesitated, and the Wowser rolled his eyes,
And sought in vain to call to mind some Wowserish replies.
But the lady truth came peeping, and the Wowser cried, “O, Lor!”
And he hastily drew the blind and softly closed the door.
“She is naked!” gasped the Wowser.  “Oh, where are the hussy’s clothes?
If my dear brethren saw me now!  Oh, what do you suppose!”

“The Truth!” exclaimed the querist with the stern, compelling eye.
“’Tis my flock!” exclaimed the Wowser.  “Oh, I cannot tell a lie!
My flock of virgins sour and chaste, and matrons undeceived,
They would hound me from the pulpit if I said what I believed!
I dot on notoriety!  The Truth it must be told.
Oh, I’ve got to please my public!” moaned the Wowser-of-the-Fold.

“Now, this Public; I must nail it,” said the queer Inquisitor.
“’Tis the favor of this mighty god they all seem eager for;
And they always strive to please him, and his sentiments express
In their Parliaments and Pulpits and their organs of the Press.
And I’ll get a sure solution if I have the luck to meet —
What is this he’s called? — the Man, or Bloque, or Fellow-in-the-Street.”

A Fellow-in-the-Street was found, and typical was he,
An eager hunter of the thing that men call £. s. d.
He wore a strained expression on his features, dull and flat,
Also bifurcated coat-tails, and a little hard round hat.
His talk was mainly platitutdes, when it wasn’t shop or horse,
And he had some fixed opinions and a bank account, of course.

“Now, then, tell me,” said the visitant,  “What are your private views
On your Politics, Religion and the Sheet that gives you news?
I have heard a lot about you, and a deal I’d like to know
Of why you work, and what you think, and where you hope to go.
I feel assured that I shall find the Truth in your reply.”
And he fixed the foolish Fellow with his stern, compelling eye.

The Fellow hemmed and hawed a bit, the Fellow looked about,
And the lady Truth smiled sweetly while he murmured, as in doubt.
“Well, re-al-ly, my views upon those things I can’t express.
You must ask our Politicians and the Parsons and the Press.
But as for me — well, candidly, you’ve got me off my beat;
For I don’t know much about it!” said the Fellow-in-the-Street.

’Tis the Circle!” cried the visitor.  “’Tis the same old crazy game
Right through the trackless Milky Way to there from whence I came.
The Earth is round, the Moon is round, and Jupiter and Mars,
Their orbit’s all, and Saturn’s rings, and countless million stars.
All throughout the constellations I have journeyed, to and fro,
But ev’rything goes round and round no matter where I go.
All the Universe is circles!  All one tantalising twirl!
Oh, is there nothing straight or square in all this cosmic whirl?

And with these strange and cryptic words the Being fled afar,
Back to his native hiding-place — his fixed or unfixed star.
Some say his name was “Reason,” other hold ’twas “Intellect”:
But as for me I have no views to voice in that respect.
His motives seemed mysterious; I know not how nor why;
I only know he had a stern and most compelling eye.

 

The Chase Of Ages

Light of my lives! Is the time not yet?
   Lo, I’ve brooded on a star
Through many a year, with the hope held dear
   That, in some future far,
I would know the joy of a love returned.
   Are my lives lived vainly, all,
Since that cosmic morn when life, new-born,
   First moved on this mundane ball?

Yea, I mind it yet, when first we met
   On a tertiary rock,
Flow the graceful charm of your rudiments
   Imparted love’s first shock.
But I was a mere organic cell
   In that early Eocene,
While you were a prim, primordial germ,
   And the mother of protogene.

So I loved and died, and the ages sped
   Till the time of my second birth;
When I took my place in the cosmic race,
   And again came down to earth.
Once more we met.  Ah, love, not yet!
   You were far above my state!
For how could I raise my mollusc gaze
   To a virtuous vertebrate?

Again we died, and again we slept,
   And again we came to be —
I as an anthropoidal ape,
   And you as a chimpanzee.
You as a charming chimpanzee,
   With a high, patrician air;
And I watched you waltz from tree to tree
   As I slunk in my lowly lair.

And yet again, in an age or so,
   We met, and I mind the sob
I sobbed when I found that I was—what?
   And you were a thingumbob.
You had sold your tail for a kind of soul,
   You had grown two thumbs beside;
And I knew again that my love was vain,
   So I went to the woods and died.

As a humble homunculus, later on,
   I crept to your cave at night,
And howled long, love-lorn howls in vain
   To my lady troglodyte.
And I grew insane at your cold disdain,
   And my howlings filled the place,
Till your father sought me out one night,
   And—again I yearned in space.

Then, light of my lives!  Is the time not yet?
   Say, in what distant life —
In what dim age that is still to come
   May I win and call you wife?
Still high above!  My love, my love!
   Nay, how can I raise my eyes
To you, my star of the Eocene,
   My ever elusive prize?

Lo, Time speeds on, and the suns grow cold,
   And the earth infirm and hoar,
And, ages past, we are here at last —
   Ay, both on the earth once more.
But, alas, dear heart, as far apart
   As e’er in this cosmic whirl;
For I’m but a lowly writer-man
   And you are a tea-room girl.


The Bridge Across The Crick

       Joseph Jones and Peter Dawking
        Strove in an election fight;
    And you’d think, to hear them talking,
        Each upheld the people’s right.
Each declared he stood for Progress and against his country’s foes
When he sought their votes at Wombat, where the Muddy River flows.

    Peter Dawking, scorning party,
        As an Independent ran;
    Joseph Jones, loud, blatant, hearty,
        Was a solid party man.
But the electors up at Wombat vowed to him alone they’d stick
Who would give his sacred promise for the “bridge across the crick”.

    Bland, unfaithful politicians
        Long had said this bridge should be.
    Some soared on to high positions,
        Some sank to obscurity;
Still the bridge had been denied it by its unrelenting foes—
By the foes of patient Wombat, where the Muddy River flows.

    Up at Wombat Peter Dawking
        Held a meeting in the hall,
    And he’d spent an hour in talking
        On the far-flung Empire’s Call,
When a local greybeard, rising, smote him with this verbal brick:
“Are or are yeh not in favour of the bridge across the crick?”

    Peter just ignored the question,
        Proudly patriotic man;
    Understand a mean suggestion
        Men like Peter never can,
Or that free enlightened voters look on all Great Things as rot,
While a Burning Local Question fires each local patriot.

    Joseph Jones, serene and smiling,
        Took all Wombat to his heart.
    “Ah,” he said, his “blood was b’iling”—
        He declared it “made him smart”
To reflect how they’d been swindled; and he cried in ringing tones
“Gentlemen, your bridge is certain if you cast your votes for Jones!”

    Joseph Jones and Peter Dawking
        Strove in an election fight,
    And, when they had finished talking,
        On the great election night
They stood level in the voting, and the hope of friends and foes
Hung upon the box from Wombat, where the Muddy River flows.

    Then the Wombat votes were counted;
        Jones, two hundred; Dawking, three!
    Joseph, proud and smiling, mounted
        On a public balcony,
And his friends were shrill with triumph, for that contest, shrewdly run,
In the House gave Jones’s Party a majority of one.

    Jones’s Party—note the sequel—
        Rules that country of the Free,
    And the fight, so nearly equal,
        Swayed the whole land’s destiny.
And the Big Things of the Nation are delayed till Hope grows sick—
Offered up as sacrifices to “the bridge across the crick”.

    Dawking now is sadly fearing
        For the crowd’s intelligence.
    Joseph, skilled in engineering,
        Full of pomp and sly pretence,
Still holds out the pleasing promise of that bridge whene’er he goes
Up to Wombat, patient Wombat, where the Muddy River flows.


Son Of A Fool

Gyved and chained in his father’s home,
    He toiled ’neath a conqueror’s rule;
Bowed to the earth in the land of his birth;
    The Slave who was Son of a Fool.

Poor remnant he of a conquered race,
    Long shorn of its power and pride,
No reverence shone in his sullen face
    When they told how that race had died.
But the meed that he gave to his father’s name
Was a down-drooped head and a flush of shame.

Oh, the Fool had reigned full many a year
In the Land of the Bounteous Gifts,
Dreaming and drifting, with never a fear,
As a doomed fool pleasantly drifts;
And he ate his fill of the gifts she gave—
The Fool who was sire of a hopeless Slave.

Year by year as his harvest grew,
    He gleaned with a lightsome heart;
His barns he filled, and he sowed and tilled,
    Trading in port and mart.
Proud of his prowess in sport and trade
Was the Fool, who scoffed at an alien raid.

Little he recked of the gathering cloud
    That boded a swift disgrace.
Was he not seed of a manly breed,
    Proud son of a warlike race?
And he told of the deeds that his sires had done—
While he wielded a bat in the place of a gun.

Small were his fears in the rich fat years,
    Loud was his laugh of scorn
When they whispered low of a watching foe,
    Greedy for gold and corn;
A foe grown jealous of trade an power,
Marking the treasure, and waiting the hour.

And, e’en when the smoke of the raiders’ ships
    Trailed out o’er the northern skies,
His laugh was loud: “’Tis a summer cloud,”
    Said the Fool in his Paradise.
And, to guard his honor, he gave a gun
To the feeble hands of his younger son.

Oh, a startled Fool, and a Fool in haste
    Awoke on a later day,
When they sped the word that a foe laid waste
    His ports by the smiling bay,
And his voice was shrill as he bade his sons
Haste out to the sound of the booming guns.

And scarce had he raised his rallying cry,
    Scarce had he called one note,
When he died, as ever a fool must die,
    With his war-song still in his throat.
And an open ditch was the hasty grave
Of the Fool who fathered a hopeless Slave.

They point the moral, they tell the tale,
    And the old world wags its head:
“If a Fool hath treasure, and Might prevail,
    Then the Fool must die,” ’tis said.
And the end of it all is a broken gun
And the heritage gleaned by a hapless son.

Gyved and chained in his father’s home,
    He toiled ’neath a conqueror’s rule;
While they flung in his face the taunt of his race:
    A Slave and the Son of a Fool.


Suburbia - A Yearn

O man with a Position, prithee tell,
How is’t you mould your sal’ried life so well;
Holding in lofty scorn that lowly mob
Of “Blokes” who earn mere “wages” at a “job”.

Knights of Suburbia, whose only care
Is to be counted ’mid the “naicest” there,
Teach me how I, some day, may learn to be
Clothed in drab Respectability.

I cannot muster due respect for those
Who wear the very nicest kind of clothes;
Nor does the Upper House sufficiently
Impress the dull, “right-thinking” part o’ me.

Fain would I garb my meekness in a coat
Whose very blackness struck a pious note,
And crease my pants, and aye, with tender care,
Arrange becomingly my plebian hair.

A “Something in the City” would I be,
With due respect for men of Propputy.
Or sooth, if such ambition be too rash,
I’d, as a godlike grocer, groce for cash.

Ah, lead me to some suburb grey and calm!
My very soul craves for a potted palm
In my front porch.  Nay, but it were sublime
To stalk the stealthy slug o’ summer-time.

Then would I take some proper girl to wife,
And know the joys of a “well-ordered” life,
Beget suburban daughters who would be
Models of drawing-room propriety.

Ah me, that drawing-room! — my lady’s pride.
With products of Chow-labor side by side.
An upright grand by Bubblestein and Bohrs,
And framed enlargements of our ancestors.

Our arms — a “what not” rampant on a ground
Of pious drab.  There would we sit around
While Bertha thumped the keys o’ balmy eves,
And caterpillars chewed the fuschia leaves.

There would we offer incense, highly toned,
And worship, nightly, FURNITURE enthroned.
There would we — nay, I may not even hope,
Whose only wash-hand bowl is plugged with soap.

With yellow soap, to caulk a leak obscene —
Whose writing-table once held kerosene.
What does he wot of over-mantels, he
Who keeps tobacco where he should keep tea?

Knight of Suburbia, your daily round,
Treading to morning trains the same old ground,
Is not for me; though I would gladly be
A champion at passing cakes and tea.

O, that the stars had willed it were my fate
To be immoderately moderate;
To sit at eve, ’mid fans and photo, frames,
And play at sundry senseless parlor games;

Then, having bathed my soul in revelry,
Put out the cat, and turned the front door key,
Away to rest, by one dim taper’s gleam,
To court the vague, unnecessary dream.

 

The High Priest

Nay, why do foolish politicians strive
    To win a fleeting popularity?
In vain, in vain, they jealously contrive
    To turn the doting Public Eye from Me.
What was this land, this nation, destined for?
    For Art, Trade, Politics? All out of place.
Behold, I am the Sporting Editor!
                I call the race!

Reviewers, leader writers—what are they?
    Subs, poets, novelists? Scribes of a sort—
Mere puny scribbling creatures of a day;
    While I, the people’s idol, stand for Sport!
For mark, when inspiration falls on me,
    What recks the public of that nameless band?
I ope’ my lips, and wisdom, gushing free,
                O’erflows the land.

I lift my voice, and, lo! an army wakes—
    A mighty host, a hundred thousand strong—
To spread the message; while the nation quakes
    And thunders with the burden of my song:
Ten lengths from home ‘Gray Lad’ outstripped ‘The Witch,’
    And passed the post by just a short neck, first.

These are the words, the pregnant words, for which
                The land’s athirst.

They are the children of my brain, mine own!—
    These mighty words for which the people yearn;
The product of my genius alone!
    Would you begrudge the laurels that I earn?
Mark you, yon sturdy native, strong o’ limb,
    That leans against the lamp-post o’er the way—
Approach, and learn of my great fame from him.
                Approach and say:—

“Awake! Arise! A curse on him who waits!
    Behold, young man, thy country needs thy like;
The foeman’s hordes are panting at our gates.
    Arouse, young patriot, go forth and strike!
Awake, and cast thy reeking ‘fag’ away!
    Arise, and take the white man’s burden up!”
“I’ll lay you ten to one, in ‘quids,’” he’ll say:
                “Wot’s won the Cup?”

Behold, the High Priest of the people’s creed!
    Proclaim his genius loud. The bays! The bays!
Come, crown the Sporting Editor—indeed,
    He is familiar with bays—with grays.
Ten lengths from home!” How exquisite!    How chaste!
    “‘Gray Lad’ outstripped ‘The Witch’!” What style! What grace!
Come, beauty, twine a laurel wreath. Nay, haste!
                He calls the race!

 

“Paw”

                                                              Haw!
Ai’ve just obteened a pension for mai Paw.
And you should hev seen the people that were theah.
    Re-ally, it was surpraising!
    Maind, Ai am not criticaising,
But it was embarrassing, Ai do decleah.
Ai met the Snobson-Smythes and Toady-Browns, and many moah
Belonging to ouah set; and wondahed what they came theah foah.

And, of course, Ai didn’t say a word of Paw.
Ai rather think they’ve nevah heard of Paw.
    But Ai thought it well to mention
    That Ai came to get the pension
For an aged person who had worked for Maw.
The Snobson-Smythes said, “Fancy!  That is just why we came dahn.”
But Ai’ve heard they hev a mothah hidden somewheah out of tahn.

                                                              Haw!
Ai do deserve some gratitude from Paw.
To think what Ai’ve gone thro’ foah him to-day!
    Mixing with the lowah classes—
    And Ai never saw such masses
Of disreputable creatuahs, Ai must say.
Imposters, Ai’ve no doubt, if most of them were but unmasked.
And then, the most humiliating questions Ai was asked!

Yes, he forced me to admit it was foah Paw.
Asked me, brutally, if it was foah mai Paw.
    Some low-bred official fellow,
    Who conversed in quaite a bellow,
And he patronised me laike a high Bashaw.
And his questions, rudely personal, Ai hardly could enduah.
The Government should teach its people mannahs, Ai am suah!

                                                              Haw!
Ai’m glad we’ve got the pension foah Pooah Paw.
His maintenance has been—O, such a strain.
    Ouah establishment’s extensive
    And exceedingly expensive,
As mai husband has remawked taime and again.
It’s quaite a miracle how Ai contrive to dress at all.
He cut me dahn to twenty guineas for last Mayoral Ball!

And it’s such a boah to hev to think of Paw—
To hev a secret skeleton laike Paw.
    Paw, you know, was once a diggah,
    And he cuts no social figgah.
And his mannahs! O, they touch us on the raw.
Of course, we’re very fond of him, and all thet sort of thing;
But we couldn’t hev him—could we?—when theah’s naice folk visiting.

                                                              Haw!
It’s cost us pawnds and pawnds to care foah Paw.
And then, it is so hard to keep him dawk.
    Why, no later then last Mond’y,
    Ai was out with Lady Grundy,
When we ran raight into him outsaide the Pawk.
Goodness knows!  Ai managed, somehow, to elude him with a nod,
And Ai said he was a tradesman; but she must hev thought it odd.

You can’t picture the ubiquity of Paw,
And he’s really very obstinate, is Paw.
    Why, he held to the contention
    That this most convenient pension
Was a thing he hadn’t any raight to draw!
He said we’d kept him eighteen months, and ought to keep him yet.
But mai husband soon convinced him that he couldn’t count on thet.

                                                              Haw!
He was a pioneah, you know, mai Paw.
But of mai early laife Ai never tell.
    Paw worked, as Ai hev stated;
    And he had us educated;
And, later on, Ai married rather well.
And then, you know, deah Paw became—er—well, embarrassing.
For he is so unconventional and—all thet sort of thing.

But the Government has taken ovah Paw.
We are happy now we’ve aisolated Paw.
    And a bettah era’s dawning,
    For mai husband said this mawning
Thet the money saved would buy a motah-caw.
Paw was so good to us when we were young, that, you’ll allow,
It’s really taime the Government did something foah him now.


Weary

Oh, I’m sick of the whole darn human race,
    And I’m sick of this earthly ball;
I’m sick of the sight of my brother’s face,
    And his works and talk and all;
I’m sick of the silly sounds I hear,
    I’m sick of the sights I see;
Omar Khayyam he knew good cheer,
    And it’s much the same with me.

Give me a bit of a bough to sit
    Beneath, and a book of rhyme,
And a cuddlemsome girl that sings a bit,
    But don’t sing all the time:
That’s all I ask, and it’s only just;
    For it’s all that I hold dear—
A bough and a book and a girl and a crust;
    That, and a jug of beer.

Then I’ll cuddle my girl and I’ll quaff my ale
    As we sit on the leafy floor;
And when the book and the beer jug fail,
    I’ll cuddle my girl some more.
For jugs give out and books get slow.
    But you take my tip for square—
Though the bough and the book and the beer jug go,
    The girl, she’s always there.

I’m sick of the sound of my fellow’s voice,
    I’m sick of their schemes and shams;
Of trying to choose when there ain’t no choice,
    And of damning several damns;
So, give me a girl that ain’t too slow,
    You can keep your book of rhyme,
And your bough and bread and your beer. Wot O!
    And I’ll cuddle her all the time.


Brown’s Tram

A city clerk was Henry Brown,
Whose suburb knew nor tram nor train;
And ev’ry morn he walked to town.

From nine till five, with busy brain,
He labored in an office dim.
Each eve he walked out home again.

And all this tramping seemed to him
A waste of time, for, ’mid the strife,
He could not keep his lawn in trim.

It clouded his domestic life —
This going early, coming late —
And much distressed his little wife.

Then some wise man declared the State
Should put in trams, and for this scheme
Brown was a red-hot advocate.

At last he realised his dream;
And daily in and out of town
He trammed it with content supreme.

For, though it cost him half-a-crown
A week in fares, the time he saved
Meant much to him and Mrs. Brown.

And so they lived and pinched and slaved
And their suburban happiness
Seemed all that they had ever craved.

The little wife began to bless
The trams; nor grieved their meagre dole
Was weekly two and sixpence less.

Then Brown’s employer, kindly soul,
Learned of this tram-car luxury,
And promptly rose to take his toll.

He sent for Brown and said that he
Should now contrive to come at eight
Since trams blessed his vicinity.

He also deemed it wise to state
That idleness begat much ill,
And it was wrong to sleep in late.

Yet Brown contrived to tram it still,
And trim his lawn with tender care,
And pay his rent and baker’s bill.

His little wife vowed it unfair;
But bowed to stern, relentless fate,
And smiled and sewed and worked her share.

Just here, the landlord wrote to state,
Since trams improved his property,
He’d raise the rent as from that date.

“Three shillings weekly will not be
Too much—an equitable rise,
Considering the trams,” wrote he.

What profit oaths or women’s sighs?
His “sacred rights,” of wealth the fount,
A landlord has to recognise.

To what do poor clerks’ lives amount?
An extra hour of slavery
Swells an employer’s bank account.

The wealthy boss thanks God that he
Has saved some money out of Brown.
The landlord smiles contentedly.

The trams run gaily up and down,
A sight Brown sadly notes as he
Plods daily in and out of town.

 

The Bore

Ah, prithee, friend, if thou hast aught
    Of love and kind regard for me,
Tell not yon bore the stories droll
    That yesternight I told to thee.

Nor tell him stories of thine own,
    Nor chestnut of antiquitee;
Nor quip nor crank, nor anything
    If thou hast aught of love for me.

For sense of humour hath he none,
    No gift for telling tales hath he;
Yet thinks himself, within his heart,
    A wit of wondrous drolleree.

And in the golden summer-time
    With ear a-cock he roameth free,
Collecting quibble, quip, and crank;
    And anecdotes collecteth he.

Then in the dreary winter nights
    He sits him down ’neath my rooftree,
And in a coarse, ungentle voice
    He fires those stories back at me.

He hath no wit for telling tales,
    He laughs where ne’er a point there be;
But sits and murders honest yarns,
    And claims them as his propertee.

And when he laughs I rock and roar,
    And vow he’ll be the death o’ me.
For, mark thou, friend, my martyrdom—
    He is a creditor to me.

Ay, prithee, friend, if thou hast love
    For goodly jests or care for me,
Then tell him not the merry tale
    That yesternight I told to thee.

 

Overweight

Me heart strings are riven!
I’ve struggled and striven
To pen a neat melody,
                Nicely rhymed;
But the rhyming is awful,
The metre’s unlawful;
The soft and the heavy are
                Badly timed.

I’m in a quan-dary;
Me large diction-ary
Of rhymes, it refuses to
                Ease my state.
The Muses they shun me;
It’s dawnin’ upon me
I’m ridin’ old Pegasus
                Overweight.

Despite how I whip, it
Refuses to trip it,
But flounders and falters and
                Breaks its stride.
Oh, Muse! Am I clever?
Pray tell me if ever
This poor, patient poet will
                Learn to ride.

I’m bound to confess it:
I’m stiffened, and — yes, it
Is awful to know Pega —
                Sus will trot
When I want him to canter.
Pray, pass the decanter.
(“Decanter” and “canter!” Now,
                Ain’t that rot?)

Whatever I do me
Gross flesh will hang to me.
I’ve trained and I’ve dieted
                Past belief.
Still I roll an’ I pitch, an’
Me side’s got a stitch, an’
Oh, Muses! I’m sufferin’!
                Grant relief.

I’ve lived for a week on
“Pale moons” without squeakin’,
Existed for months on a
                 “Sunset glow.”
It’s turnin’ me brain, an’
I’m full up of trainin’.
I’m goin’ to stop. Wo, then!
                Pegasus. Wo!

And now, just a few words.
Hi! Call up the stewards!
Oh, rub me out, gentlemen —
                Off the slate.
Don’t tarry to try me —
Just disqualify me —
I’m ridin’ old Pegasus
                Overweight.

 

The Glossary

For the use of the thourghly genteel.

Alley, to throw in the. - To surrender.
Ar - An exclamation expressing joy, sorrow, surprise, etc., according to the manner of utterance.
Aussie. - Australia; an Australian.

Bag of tricks. - All one’s belongings.
Barrack. - To take sides.
Beat the band. - To amaze.
Bint. - Girl.
Bird, to give the. - To treat with derision.
Blighty. - London.
Blind. - Deception, “bluff.”
Bloke. - A male adult of the genus homo.
Bluff. - Cunning practice; make-believe; to deceive; to mislead.
Bonzer. - The best.
Book. - In whist, six tricks.
Booked. - Engaged.
Buckley’s (Chance). - A forlorn hope.
Buck up. - Cheer up.
Bunk, to do a. - To depart.

Chap. - A “bloke” or “cove.”
Chuck off. - To chaff; to employ sarcasm.
Chuck up. - To relinquish.
Chump. - A foolish fellow.
Cobber. - A boon companion.
Coot. - A person of no account (used contemptuously).
Cove. - A “chap” or “bloke.” q.v. (Gipsy).
Cow. - A thoroughly unworthy, not to say despicable person, place, thing or circumstance.
Crack. - To smite.
Crack hardy. - To suppress emotion; to endure patiently; to keep a secret.
Crook. - Unwell; dishonest; spurious; fraudulent. Superlative, dead crook.
Crook. - A dishonest or evil person.
Crool. - To frustrate; to interfere with.

Dead. - In a superlative degree; very.
Deal. - A “hand” at cards.
Digger. - An infantryman; a comrade.
Dilly. - Foolish; half-witted.
Dinkum. - Honest; true.
Dipped. - Mentally deficient.
Dizzy limit. - The utmost; the superlative degree.
Dope. - A drug.
Dud. - No good; ineffective; used up.

Fag. - A cigarette.
Final, to run one’s. - To die.
Final kick. - Final leave.
Fly. - A turn; a try.

Game. - Occupation; scheme; design.
Grandstand play. - Playing to the gallery.
Groggy. - Unsteady.
Grouch. - To mope; to grumble.
Hokey Fly, by the. - A mild expletive, without any particular meaning.
Hump, to - To carry, as a swag or other burden.

Job. - Work, occupation.
John ‘Op (or Jonop). - Policeman.
- A blow.

Keep one down. - Take a drink.
Kick. - Leave.
Kick about. - To loaf or hang about.
Kid. - A child.
Kid, to. - To deceive; to persuade with flattery.
Lob, to - To arrive.
Lurk. - A plan of action; a regular occupation.
Moniker. - A name; a title; a signature.
Mug. - A simpleton.
Nail. - Catch.
Nark. - s., a spoilsport; a churlish fellow.
Nark, to. - To annoy; to foil.
Neck and neck. - Side by side.
Nix. - Nothing.
Nod, on the. - Without payment.

Pal. - A friend; a mate (Gipsy).
Part. - Give; hand over.
Pins. - Legs.
Pull, to take a. - To desist; to discontinue.
Pull off. - Desist.
Pull my (or your) leg. - To deceive or get the best of.
Punter. - The natural prey of bookmakers (betting men).
Push up daisies, to. - To be interred.

Quid. - A sovereign, or pound sterling.

Rag. - Song in rag time.
Rattled. - Excited; confused.
Recomeniber. - Remember.
Renege. - To fail to follow suit (in playing cards); to quit.
Rile. - To annoy.
Riled. - Roused to anger.
Ringer. - Expert.
Rook, to. - To “take down.”
Rouse (or Roust). - To upbraid with many words.
Ructions. - Growling; argument.
Run ’is final. - Died.

Sawing wood. - “Bluffing;” biding one’s time.
School. - A club; a clique of gamblers, or others.
Scoot. - To hurry; to scuttle.
Scrap. - Fight.
Shicker. - Intoxicating liquor.
Skite. - To boast.
Slam. - Making all the tricks (in card-playing).
Sling. - Discard; throw.
Slope, to. - To leave in haste.
Smooge. - To flatter or fawn; to bill and coo.
Snarky. - Angry.
Sock it into. - To administer physical punishment.
S.O.S - Signal of distress or warning, used in telegraphy.
Spare my days. - A pious ejaculation.
Spell. - Rest or change.
Sprag. - To accost truculently; to convince.
Spuds. - Potatoes.
Square. - Upright; honest.
Squeak. - To give away a secret.
Stoke. - Eat.
Stop one. - To receive a blow.
Stoush. - To punch with the fist. s., Violence.
Strength. - Truth; correct estimate.
Strike me! - The innocuous remnant of a hardy curse.
’Struth! - An emaciated oath.
Stunt. - A performance; a tale. [At the front: a battle, engagement]
Swank. - Affectation; ostentation.
Swap. - Exchange.
Swiv’ly. - Afraid, or unable, to look straight.

Take down. - Deceive; get the best of.
Tart. - A young woman (contraction of sweetheart).
Tater. - Potato.
Throw in the alley. - To surrender.
Tip. - A warning; a prognostication; a hint.
Toff. - An exalted person.
Tony. - Stylish.
Tossed out on my neck. - Rejected.
Track with. - To woo; to “go walking with.”
Treat. - Very much or very good.
Tucker. - Food.
Twig. - To observe; to espy.

Umptydoo. - Far-fetched; “crook.”
Up to us. - Our duty.

Wade in. - Take your fill.
Wise, to put. - To explain; to instruct.
Wowser. - A narrow-minded, intolerant person.

Yap. - To talk volubly.

 


THE END

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