The digger's cultured daughter:
Her youth was wildly free.
Now by the placid water
Of tree-girt Wendouree
She walks, a gracious lady,
Where sculptured beauty gleams
By verdant paths and shady,
And dreams her golden dreams.
Her father was a digger,
Bearded and blunt and crude,
His hand quick to the trigger
Should tyranny intrude.
With lifts of sudden riches
He heaped his hoyden lass,
Whose flowering new bewitches
With beauty all who pass.
For she has sown her gardens
To hide the scars of greed,
And, where the old dump hardens,
Springs many a fruitful seed.
And, as she gathers graces
In loveliness to last,
A turbulence long past.
Her father was a miner,
Great in his day and age;
But here to ideals finer
She shapes her heritage.
Until it spreads in glamor,
A wonder to behold
Of peace come after clamor,
Of grace that followed gold.
The cattle-lands of Corryong,
The maiden of the snows
(Where silver streams the winter long
Sing pleasantly their tinkling song)
Not many a town man knows.
And here sleek cattle, deep in grass,
Watch placidly the seasons pass.
Her beauty has a wondrous worth
This maiden cleanly bright
A beauty won from her rich earth
Where the great Murray has his birth,
And gathers up his might
To scatter rich fertility
On his long journey to the sea.
Her face is laved in waters clear
Snow waters dashing down.
That flash, and hide, and reappear
To feed the pastures far and near
About this lovely town
Fair Corryong, the Cattle Queen,
Hiding her beauty here unseen.
A glory here the scene presents
Glory that may not die;
Where, up from these green, gleaming bents,
Great Kosciusko's battlements
Lift to the laughing sky.
And Corryong contentment knows
The joyous maiden of the snows.
The League Of Youth
There was never a hint, when I was a boy,
That the joy of the wilds might bring man joy;
Never a thought that a wild thing slain
Might wake in the slayer pain for pain.
We were savages all, with the hunter's thrill
In the lure of the chase and the lust of the kill;
And the bud on the bough, and the bird in the nest
Were beautiful things to be possessed.
But a worthier thing comes now to the earth,
Since pity in minds of the young has birth.
'Tis the glorious gift, that wisdom brings,
Of knowing and loving all lovely things:
Of loving and sharing with all the boon
Of the glad free things that may teach us soon
The gift of living, as glad and free,
As bird and blossom in Arcady.
'Oh, youth is heedless,' the elders say,
'Youth is callous and cruel in play,'
Say they, forgetting that all youth heeds
Comes down through lauding of elders' deeds.
But the law of savage - of fang and claw
Gives what was in the end to a worthier law;
And man, emerging from ways uncouth,
Sees visions anew in the League of Youth.
A Beauty Hint
Sweet, think how much the better it would be
If you thro' life should thus preserve your beauty.
It really doesn't matter much to me;
But don't you think you owe the world a duty,
And don't you think that thro' some kindly thought -
Of me, for instance - beauty were well bought?
Those wrinkles on your face, dear,
Those bags beneath your eyes
Are but the evil trace, dear,
Of temper, spite and lies.
Why can't you be a saint, dear,
Like dear old Joan of Arc;
Be pleasant - which you ain't, dear,
And do not be a nark.
Consider, sweetheart, if you smiled always
How much, thro' weeks, your face might be improving;
In place of which, in these unhappy days,
You go to beauty shops for the removing
Of wrinkles, blemishes and ugly warts.
Why, when a smile will serve, seek these resorts?
Why can't you raise a grin, sweet,
And be a little beauty?
For ugliness is sin, sweet,
And loveliness a duty.
So, for my sake, why can't you make
An effort to he glad.
Just think of me and joyful be;
For I am not too bad.
Where the road's white bracelet runs
Round the cliff 'twixt bush and sea,
Gleaming 'neath the summer's suns
There she rests delightfully
There she rests, a jewel set
In the bracelet's shining band
Far from all the stress and fret
Of the markets of the land.
Summers come and summers go:
There she beckons pleasantly
By the gentle ebb and flow
Of her blue, eternal sea.
Where the Ocean Road dips down,
There she greets, the Southern Queen,
Weary men from mart and town,
Seeking strength from her bright scene.
Wooded slope and waterfall,
Mountain path and shining sand,
Bush and beach - she offers all
Offers with a generous hand.
All the gifts for which men sigh,
Seeking ease and soft release.
And the summers, drifting by,
Bring her loveliness increase.
In the light of Loutitt Bay,
There she smiles, the Southern Queen,
Lending to a summer's day
Grateful rest and mood serene.
Lady Lorne, the lovely one,
Jewel of uncounted price
Friend of the children of the sun,
The honeymooners' paradise.
Where Feathertop frowns thro' the winter scud,
Where Buffalo broods on high,
Dwells she, a lass of royal blood,
And a sparkle lights her eye
The clear, clean glint of the sun on snow,
Where the small streams, singing down,
Into the golden Ovens flow,
To decorate her town.
Wild was she on an olden day
And a wilful lass, forsooth,
When the rough, tough diggers came her way
Ere she emerged from youth.
From her river flats they dredged the gold
And laid sad waste to these,
While they drove in thousands from their fold
The thrifty, scared Chinese.
Waxing in beauty, she has grown
To a maid of wide renown;
For the wild, swift days have long since flown.
Now, by her tree-girt town,
Where her plaited river murmuring flows
Thro' sylvan scenes and rare,
A maiden clad in beauty goes
To her hop-fields gleaming there.
Yet men still scheme to dredge these fields,
And filch their loveliness,
All for the sake of bigger yields
In gold, that count far less
Than the rare, rich harvests won today
In calm security.
Leaving but ruin and decay
To sad posterity.
Up and down the roads they go
Vale to hill, and hill to vale
Leading on to Omeo
Over many an olden trail
Dainty lady of the hills,
Rosy-cheecked amid her snows;
Beauty that her landscape fills
Tips the peak and downward spills,
Down to where old Tambo flows.
As Tambo winds, so winds the road;
Cascades sparkly by the way
Where o'er granite, waters flowed
Since some pre-historic day.
Limestone glints and marble gleams,
Beautiful and many-hued,
Bared by ever flowing streams
To recapture long-lost dreams
Of an age-old solitude.
Six grey horses drew the coach.
Climbing up and clattering down,
To the picturesque approach
Of this quaint, old-fashioned town.
While the driver yarned apace,
Six grey horses, coats agleam,
Straining steady at the trace,
Drew up at the stopping place
The Blue Duck Inn where anglers dream.
Dainty lady of the hills.
Rosy-cheeked amid her snows,
Peace her quiet hamlet fills
As full well the angler knows.
Peace and quiet pride inform
All her moods as seasons go.
Summer sun nor winter storm
Naught may change that welcome warm
Of the Lady Omeo.
A country lass with rosy cheeks,
A healthy maid with merry ways;
Labor 'mid loveliness she seeks,
And strives to crowd with joy her days.
For she was raised upon a farm;
Upon a farm she grew in grace,
And in that clear air won this charm,
This sweet allure of form and face.
Where she had won the art to grow,
About her house, about her door,
Such loveliness as these days show,
Ask of the years that went before.
But learn she did, as scenes attest
By tree-girt lawn and flowery way,
Even her bridge-heads flank some nest
Of nodding roses, richly gay.
Beyond her home the wheatlands roll,
To yield their tithes upon her dower;
Yet, 'spite her soft, aesthetic soul,
She gives not all to field and flower.
For, show the lass a well-set horse;
Show her a dog with grace or speed;
Set her upon some sunlit course,
And she knows full content indeed.
A country lass with rosy cheeks,
Deft and delightful, who can be
A hostess rare to one who seeks
Her kindly hospitality.
And here she reigns, a queen indeed,
About her flowery realm to ride,
Mounted upon a well-bred steed,
A good hound trotting by her side.
A golden maid whose golden voice
Calls to the northern lands,
Of riches she has had her choice.
Twin treasures to make men rejoice
Came easy to her hands:
The golden harvest of broad fields,
Or that dark gift of sudden yields
Won from her golden sands.
But men have scorned her worthier pride
In rich and fruitful soil;
And, spreading desolation wide,
Ranged all her verdant countryside
To ravage and despoil.
And now grey wastes of tortured earth
Await the glory of rebirth
Thro' nature's patient toil.
She has the wish, she has the will
To gather beauty round.
Though gold's fierce lure stays with her still,
She lives to plan and strive until
Springs from this barren ground
Earth's only treasure, scorned of yore,
And smiling verdure clothes once more
Full many a bare, bleak mound.
She guards the gateway of the north
The broad lands of the sun.
Hospitably her hand goes forth,
Eager to vindicate the worth
Of happier tasks begun,
And in gay gardens to express
A newer urge to loveliness
And kinder virtues won.
A virile lass, in no wise strange,
Of true Australian breed:
Where drab days into sunlight charge
Across the Great Dividing Range
She scatters now the seed
That shall bring yields a thousandfold
When gardens count for more than gold
And peace outvalues greed.
Her Majesty The Rose
Here in my garden at the long day's close
I sing again her Majesty the Rose.
The Rose who can with magic most complete
Bring worshippers again about her feet
Forsaking other loves, who, thro' the year
Had won them by sheer beauty, shining clear.
Now, where the Queen beside the trellis grows,
Courtiers acclaim, 'Her Majesty the Rose!'
The Rhododendron by her side appears
With all that magic quality of tears;
Patrician truly, yet still lacking, she,
That touch of rare imperial majesty.
Viola, violet worship at her feet;
Proudly the flaunting poppy would compete,
Yet fails, for all her striving, to disclose
The grace that guards her Majesty the Rose.
Oh, we have walked 'mid many lovely things
In lovely gardens - walked where Lilac swings
Her jewelled censers, wreathed in wondrous scent;
Where Gladiolus, giving great content,
Holds up her prideful head to so outshine
The meeker charm of Phlox and Columbine.
And yet, how soon, how swift their threldom goes
When once we greet her Majesty the Rose.
City of Roses, herein lies your wealth
This beauty, stealing in, almost by stealth
As garden after garden springs from earth
To bless the gardener with fresh beauty's birth.
A gift most grand, a miracle to see
Of rich content and meet prosperity
Wealth dwells in beauty, as each liegeman knows
Who bows before her Majesty the Rose.
Aesthete In The Avenue
Within the wooded avenue I stood,
And I was proud.
I looked upon the scene and found it good;
For here, I vowed,
Reigned Beauty rare. Sweet praises filled my mouth
For this, the loveliest city of the south;
Yet not a soul could hear,
Altho' my lyric praise with fervor flowed;
For, as I spoke, there rumbled down the road
A lorry-load of beer.
I tried again. I spoke of civic pride,
With those rare phrases, culled from far and wide,
I waxed in aphoristic ecstasy,
Hymning the loveliness of sky and tree;
Yet not a single soul
Gave heed to me; for sudden thunders grew
As round the bend there lumbered into view
A waggon piled with coal.
'Goths!' I exclaimed. 'Did you raise Beauty here
In this green place
But for the sport of flinging coal and beer
In her sweet face?'
A large truck missed me by a hair's-breadth then
Manned by a crew of large, unlovely men
Who jeered and darned my eyes.
'Vandals!' I shouted. 'Nay, repent your sins!'
Then leapt again to dodge a load of skins
That smelled unto the skies.
Still on they came, truck, waggon, rank on rank,
I dodged, I leapt;
The threw myself upon a grassy bank
And there I wept,
Wept for the city . . . A park-keeper came,
A mean, ungracious man, who took my name.
'O man!' I cried. 'Alas,
See how I weep. Must beauty disappear?'
Said he: 'Buzz orf! You can't do that there 'ere.
Spoilin' our nice noo grass!'
A Few Lines To Beauty
You with the bobbed hair or Mary Pickford curls,
Likewise you others
Who still adopt the hair-dressing style,
That makes the moderns smile.
But was undoubtedly the dearest attribute of your mothers.
And, by the by,
You with the glad-eye -
We've seen you in the street
Looking particularly sweet.
And we ask you
Do you think that those girls in the city that is reputed to possess a harbor
can overtask you?
In the matter of looking nice -
We do not seek to give advice;
And, frankly, we don't know.
We have seen both types and so,
We refrain from expressing an opinion that is too emphatic.
We'll leave it to the vote,
Yet hasten to remark that we simply dote
Upon the maiden who
Is just like you,
We seek not to assume the office or prerogative of a special pleader.
And we own that this question of State Rights
Gives us uneasy dreams o' nights.
Take no notice of those churls
Who tell you that the Sydney girls
Can put it all over you in regard to female beauty.
My dears, you have a duty
At any rate,
Toward your State.
Among you are undoubtedly quite a number of perfect peaches
And the sirens of the Sydney beaches
May yet be proved to be not exactly the pick of the basket.
With or without curls,
The honor of your State and the noble men therein ask it.
Here I conclude.
And I trust that these few well-chosen remarks have not been in bad taste or
Hi, it's a funny world! This mornin' when I woke
I saw red robin on the fence, an' heard the words he spoke.
Red robin, he's a perky chap, an' this was his refrain:
'Dear, it's a pity that poor Jenny is so plain.'
To talk like that about his wife! It had me scandalized.
I'd heard him singin' so before, but never recognised
The meaning of his chatter, or that he could be so vain:
'Dear, it's a pity that poor Jenny is so plain.'
I don't know how, I don't know why, but this reminded me
I was promised to the widow for this Sunday night to tea.
I'd promised her for weeks an' weeks, until she pinned me down.
I recollects this is the day, an' gets up with a frown.
I was thinkin' of the widow while I gets me clobber on -
Like a feller will start thinkin' of the times that's past an' gone.
An', while my thoughts is runnin' so, that bird chips in again:
'Dear, it's a pity that poor Jenny is so plain.'
Now, the widow's name is Jenny, an' it strikes me sort of queer
That my thoughts should be upon her when that robin's song I hear.
She ain't so homely neither; but she never could compare
With a certain bonzer vision with the sunlight in her hair.
When I wander down that evenin', she come smilin' to the gate,
An' her look is calculatin', as she scolds because I'm late.
She takes my hat an' sits me down an' heaves a little sigh.
But I get a queer sensation from that glimmer in her eye.
She starts to talk about the mill, an' then about the strike,
An' then she digs Ben Murray up an' treats him nasty-like;
She treats him crool an' cattish, as them soft, sweet women can.
But I ups an' tells her plainly that I think Ben is a man.
First round to me. But she comes back, an' says Ben is a cad
Who's made a laughin'-stock of her, an' treated her reel bad.
I twig she's out for sympathy; so counters that, an' says
That Ben's a broken-hearted man about the mill these days.
The second round to me on points; an' I was havin' hopes.
(I might have known that widows were familiar with the ropes.)
'But he'd never make a husband!' says the widow, with a sigh.
An' again I gets a warnin' from that glimmer in her eye.
I says I ain't no judge of that; an' treats it with a laugh.
But she keeps the talk on 'usbands for a minute an' a half.
I can't do much but spar a bit, an' keep her out of range;
So the third round is the widow's; an' the fight takes on a change.
I'm longin' for a breather, for I've done my nerve a lot,
When suddenly she starts on 'Love,' an' makes the pace reel hot.
In half a jiff she has me on the ropes, an' breathin' hard,
With not a fight inside me - I can only duck an' guard.
She uppercuts me with a sigh, an' jabs me with a glance.
(When a widow is the fighter, has a single bloke a chance?)
Her short-arm blows are amorous, most lovin' is her lunge;
Until it's just a touch an' go I don't throw up the sponge.
I use my head-piece here a bit to wriggle from the fix;
For the widow is a winner 'less I fluke a win by tricks.
An' I lets a reel mean notion (that I don't seek to excuse),
when I interrupts her rudely with, 'But have you heard the news?'
Now, to a woman, that's a lead dead certain of a score,
An' a question that the keenest is unable to ignore.
An' good old Curiosity comes in to second me,
As I saw her struggle hopeless, an' 'What news is that?' says she.
An' here I spins a lovely yarn, a gloomy hard-luck tale
Of how I've done my money in, an' I'm about to fail,
How my house an' land is mortgaged, how I've muddled my affairs
Through foolin' round with racin' bets and rotten minin' shares.
I saw the fight was easy mine the minute I begun;
An', after half a dozen words, the time-keep counted 'One.'
An' when I finish that sad tale there ain't the slightest doubt
I am winner of the contest, an' the widow's down an' out.
But not for long. Although she's lost, the widow is dead game:
'I'm sorry, Mister Jim,' says she, 'for both your loss an' shame.
All things is changed between us now, of course; the past is dead.
An' what you were about to say you please will leave unsaid.'
. . . . . . . . . .
I was thinkin' in the evenin' over how I had escaped,
An' how the widow took it all - the way she stared an' gaped.
She looked her plainest at that time; but that don't matter now;
For, plain or fair, I know of one who's fairer, anyhow.
I tells meself that beauty ain't a thing to count with man,
An' I would never choose a wife on that unthinkin' plan.
No robin was awake, I swear; but still I heard that strain;
'Dear, it's a pity that poor Jenny is so plain.'
A Freak Of Spring
At any other time of year
It might have passed, but Spring is queer.
He says somethin' - I dunno
Somethin' nasty. I says, 'Ho!'
'Ho, yourself!' he says, an' glares.
I says nothin' - only stares.
'Coot!' says he . . . Then up she goes!
An' I land him on the nose.
It was Spring, Spring, Spring! Just to hear the thrushes sing
Would make a fellow laugh, or love, or fight like anything.
Which mood called I wasn't carin'; I was feelin' fine an' darin';
So I fetches him a beauty with a lovely left-arm swing.
Ben Murray staggered back a bit an' howled a wicked word
Which gave me feelin's of great joy . . . An' that's how it occurred.
'On the sawdust!' yells old Pike,
Gloatin' and bloodthirsty-like.
'On the sawdust with yeh both!
Truth to tell, I'm nothin' loth.
I peel off my coat an' vest.
Murray, with his rage suppressed,
Comes up eager, pale with spite.
'Glory!' shouts old Pike. 'A fight!'
It was Spring, glad Spring, an' the swallows on the wing
Made a man feel kind an' peaceful with their cheery twittering.
As I watched their graceful wheelin' with a pleasant sort of feelin'
Old man Pike pulled out his ticker, an' the mill-hands made a ring.
There was gold upon the wattle an' the blackwood was in bud,
An' I felt the call for action fairly sizzin' in my blood.
Murray comes on like a bull;
Both his eyes with spleen are full.
Let him have it - left an' right. . . .
Pike is bustin' with delight. . . .
Right eye once and left eye twice
Then he grabs me like a vice. . . .
Down into the dust we go
Bull-dog grip and short-arm blow.
It was Spring! Mad Spring! Just to feel him clutch an' cling
Told me plain that life was pelendid an' my strength a precious thing.
On the sawdust heap we scrambled, while the fellows yelled an' gambled
On the fight; an' Ben loosed curse-words in a never-endin' string.
Oh, I glimpsed the soft sky shinin' and I smelled the fresh-cut wood;
An' as we rolled I pummelled him, an' knew the world was good.
''Tain't a dog-fight!' shouts Bob Blair.
'Stand up straight an' fight it fair.'
I get end-up with a grin.
'Time!' yells Pike, an' bangs a tin.
'Corners, boys. A minute's spell.'
'Good lad, Jim! You're doin' well,'
Says the little Dusty, Dick. . . .
Murray's eye is closin' quick.
It was Spring, sweet Spring, an' a man must have his fling:
Healthy men must be respondin' to the moods the seasons bring.
That sweet air, with scrub scents laden, all my body was invadin',
Till each breath I drew within me made me feel I was king.
'Twas the season to be doin' - fondlin' maids, or fightin' men -
An' I felt my spirit yearnin' for another crack at Ben.
Pike bangs on his tin again.
'Time!' he roars. 'Get to it, men!'
I come eager, fit to dance;
Ben spars cautious for a chance.
With a laugh I flick him light;
Then - like lightin' comes his right
Full an' fair upon the jaw
Lord, the purple stars I saw!
It was Spring, wild Spring! When I felt the sudden sting
Of a clout all unexpected, I was just a maddened thing -
Just a savage male thing ragin'; battle all my wits engagin'.
Instant I was up an' at him, an' I punched him round the ring.
I forgot the scents an' season; I lost count of time an' place;
An' my only aim an' object was to batter Murray's face.
Pike is dancin' wild with joy;
Dusty Dick howls, 'At him, boy!'
I am at him, fast an' hard.
Then, as Murray drops his guard,
I get in one, strong an' straight,
Full of emnity an' weight.
Down he goes; the fellows shout.
'One!' starts Pike, then. . . 'Ten - an' out!'
It was Spring, gay Spring. Still were swallows on the wing,
An', on a sudden, once again I heard the thrushes sing.
There was gold upon the wattle, an' my recent wish to throttle
Murray, as he lay there groain', was a far-forgotten thing.
In the soft blue sky were sailin' little clouds as fine as fluff.
'Wantin' more?' I asked him gently; but Ben Murray said, 'Enough.'
'Well done, Jim,' says old Bob Blair.
''Tis the brave deserves the fair.'
An' he laughs an' winks at Pike
In a way that I don't like.
Widders,' grins young Dusty Dick,
'Likes a bloke whose hands is quick.
Now poor Ben can take the sack.'
But I frowns, an' turns my back.
It was Spring, the fickle Spring; an' a most amazin' thing
Came upon me sudden-like an' set me marvellin'.
For no longer was I lookin' for a wife to do my cookin',
But for somethin' sweet and tender of the kind that kiss an' cling.
Oh, for such a one I'd battle, an' I'd win by hook or crook;
But it did seem sort of foolish to go fightin' for a cook.
Standin' on the sawdust heap
I feel mean an' rather cheap,
Widows? Let the widow go!
What we fought for I don't know.
Murray offers me his hand:
'Jim, you've won; so understand,
I don't mean to block your road . . .'
But I answer, 'That be blowed!'
'Why, it's Spring, man, Spring!' (An' I gave his fist a wring)
'If you reckoned me your rival, give up thinkin' such a thing.
I just fought for fun an' frolic, so don't you get melancholic;
An', if you have notions yonder, why, buck up an' buy the ring!
Put some beefsteak on your eye, lad, an' learn how to keep your guard.'
Then I put my coat an' vest on, an' walked homeward . . . thinkin' hard.
He was a Glug of simple charm;
He wished no living creature harm.
His kindly smile like sunlight fell
On all about, and wished them well.
Yet, 'spite the cheerful soul of Sym,
The great Sir Stodge detested him.
The stern Sir Stodge and all his Swanks -
Proud Glugs of divers grades and ranks,
With learning and attainments great
Had never learned to conquer hate.
And, failing in their A. B. C.,
Were whipt by Master Destiny.
'Twas thus that Gosh's famous schools
Turned out great hordes of learned fools:
Turned out the ship without a sail,
Turned out the kite with leaden tail,
Turned out the mind that could not soar
Because of foolish weights it bore.
Because there'd been no father Joi
To guide the quick mind of a boy
Away from thoughts of hate and blame,
Wisdom in these was but a name.
But 'mid the Glugs they count him wise
Who walks with cunning in his eyes.
His task well done, his three rhymes writ,
Sym rose at morn, and packed his kit.
'At last!' he cried. 'Off and away
To meet again the spendthrift Day,
As he comes climbing in the East,
To bless with largesse man and beast.
'Again the fields where wild things run!
And trees, all spreading to the sun,
Run not, because, of all things blest,
Their chosen place contents them best.
0 come, my little prick-eared dog!' . . .
But, 'Halt!' exclaimed his Nibs of Quog.
'Nay,' said the Mayor. 'Not so fast!
The day climbs high, but sinks at last.
And trees, all spreading to the sun,
Are slain because they cannot run.
The great Sir Stodge, filled full of hate,
Has challenged you to hold debate.
'On Monday, in the Market Square,
He and his Swanks will all be there,
Sharp to the tick at half-past two,
To knock the stuffing out of you.
And if your stuffing so be spread,
Then is the Cause of Quog stone dead.
'In this debate I'd have you find,
With all the cunning of your mind,
Sure victory for Quog's great Cause,
And swift defeat for Stodge's laws.'
'But cunning I have none,' quoth Sym.
The Mayor slowly winked at him.
'Ah!' cried his Worship. 'Sly; so sly!'
(Again he drooped his dexter eye)
'I've read you thro'; I've marked you well.
You're cunning as an imp from Hell . . .
Nay, keep your temper; for I can
Withal admire a clever man.
'Who rhymes with such a subtle art
May never claim a simple part.
I'll make of you a Glug of rank,
With something handy in the bank,
And fixed opinions, which, you know,
With fixed deposits always go.
'I'll give you anything you crave:
A great, high headstone to your grave,
A salary, a scarlet coat,
A handsome wife, a house, a vote,
A title, or a humbled foe.'
But Sym said, 'No,' and ever, 'No.'
'Then,' shouted Quog, 'your aid I claim
For Gosh, and in your country's name
I bid you fight the Cause of Quog,
Or be for ever named a dog!
The Cause of Quog, the weal of Gosh
Are one! Amen. Down with King Splosh!'
Sym looked his Worship in the eye,
As solemnly he made reply:
'If 'tis to serve my native land,
On Monday I shall be at hand.
But what am I 'mid such great men?'
His Worship winked his eye again . . .
'Twas Monday in the Market Square;
Sir Stodge and all his Swanks were there.
And almost every Glug in Gosh
Had bolted lunch and had a wash
And cleaned his boots, and sallied out
To gloat upon Sir Stodge's rout.
And certain sly and knowing Glugs,
With sundry nudges, winks and shrugs,
Passed round the hint that up on high,
Behind some window near the sky,
Where he could see yet not be seen,
King Splosh was present with his Queen.
'Glugs,' said the chairman. 'Glugs of Gosh;
By order of our good King Splosh,
The Tinker and Sir Stodge shall meet,
And here, without unseemly heat,
Debate the question of the day,
Which is - However, let me say -
'I do not wish to waste your time.
So, first shall speak this man of rhyme;
And, when Sir Stodge has voiced his view,
The Glugs shall judge between the two.
This verdict from the folk of Gosh
Will be accepted by King Splosh.'
As when, like teasing vagabonds,
The sly winds buffet sullen ponds,
The face of Stodge grew dark with rage,
When Sym stepped forth upon the stage.
But all the Glugs, with one accord,
A chorus of approval roared.
Said Sym: 'Kind friends, and fellow Glugs;
My trade is mending pots and mugs.
I tinker kettles, and I rhyme
To please myself and pass the time,
Just as my fancy wandereth.'
('He's minel' quoth Stodge, below his breath.)
Said Sym: 'Why I am here to-day
I know not; tho' I've heard them say
That strife and hatred play some part
In this great meeting at the Mart.
Nay, brothers, why should hatred lodge . . .
'That's ultra vires!' thundered Stodge.
''Tis ultra vires!' cried the Knight.
'Besides, it isn't half polite.
And e'en the dullest Glug should know,
'Tis not pro bono publico.
Nay, Glugs, this fellow is no class.
Remember! Vincit veritas!'
With sidelong looks and sheepish grins,
Like men found out in secret sins,
Glug gazed at Glug in nervous dread;
Till one with claims to learning said,
'Sir Stodge is talking Greek, you know.
He may be bad, but never low.'
Then those who had no word of Greek
Felt lifted up to hear him speak.
'Ah, learning, learning,' others said.
'Tis fine to have a clever head.'
And here and there a nervous cheer
Was heard, and someone growled, 'Hear, hear.'
'Kind friends,' said Sym . . . But, at a glance,
The 'cute Sir Stodge had seen his chance.
'Quid nuncl' he cried. 'O noble Glugs,
This fellow takes you all for mugs.
I ask him, where's his quid pro quo?
I ask again, quo warranto?
'Shall this man filch our wits from us
With his furor poeticus?
Nay!' cried Sir Stodge. 'You must agree,
If you will hark a while to me
And at the Glugs' collective head
He flung strange language, ages dead.
With mystic phrases from the Law,
With many an old and rusty saw,
With well-worn mottoes, which he took
Haphazard from the copy-book,
For half an hour the learned Knight
Belaboured them with all his might.
And, as they wakened from their daze,
Their murmurs grew to shouts of praise.
Glugs who'd reviled him overnight
All in a moment saw the light.
'O learned man! 0 seer!' cried they. . . .
And education won the day.
Then, quickly to Sir Stodge's side
There bounded, in a single stride,
His Nibs of Quog; and flinging wide
His arms, 'O victory!' he cried.
'I'm with Sir Stodge, 0 Glugs of Gosh!
And we have won! Long live King Splosh!'
Then pointing angrily at Sym,
Cried Quog, 'This is the end of him!
For months I've marked his crafty dodge,
To bring dishonour to Sir Stodge.
I've lured him here, the traitrous dog,
And shamed him!' quoth his Nibs of Quog.
Hoots for the Tinker tore the air,
As Sym went, wisely, otherwhere.
Cheers for Sir Stodge were long and loud;
And, as amid his Swanks he bowed,
To mark his thanks and honest pride,
His Nibs of Quog bowed by his side.
The Thursday after that, at three,
The King invited Quog to tea.
Quoth Quog, 'It was a task to bilk . . .
(I thank you; sugar, please, and milk) . . .
To bilk this Tinker and his pranks.
A scurvy rogue! . . . (Ah, two lumps, thanks.)
'A scurvy rogue!' continued Quog.
'Twas easy to outwit the dog.
Altho', perhaps, I risked my life
I've heard he's handy with a knife.
Ah, well, 'twas for my country's sake . . .
(Thanks; just one slice of currant cake.)'