The Children Of The Sun
The Children of the Sun are out,
About the hills and beaches
The stolid burghers halo and stout,
The tailored sheik, the city lout,
And plain blokes with their peaches,
And dinkum coves alert and brown;
While over all the sun shines down.
The Children of the Sun are prone
To sunlight, play and pleasure;
And sober-minded mentors groan
And shake their beads and gravely moan
O'er all this love of leisure.
This lust for sport and sun they say
Will surely bring its reckoning day.
The Children of the Sun heed not,
But laugh and gather vigor,
Where summer days shine gold and hot,
They bask in many a sylvan spot
To meet a new year's rigor.
And who shall say they are not wise?
Strength languishes when pleasure dies.
The Children of the Sun but know
That while the sun is shining
And glad life beckons they must go;
For souls too long akin to woe
Lost all thro' much repining.
Rejuvenation bids them hence,
Then who shall cry 'Improvidence'?
Old Town Types No.11
As first I remember him: A red man, and tall,
Great Toll, the blacksmith, filled my childish eye.
At its first crisp, clamorous stroke,
Every morning I awoke
To the ringing of his anvil as the years lagged by.
And, when the season came for them, he made us iron hoops
And iron hooks to trundle them: for children were his joy,
And then down the village street we raced with joyous whoops;
For little things contented us when I was a boy.
A glad giant toiling in his little tin shop
The great swelling arms he had, the great rugged head
There he loomed beside the forge
Calling to his striker, george,
'Smite it, laddie! Smite it while the iron glows red!'
So simply joyous in his strength, he made of life a song;
A straight man, a proper man, on no swift fortune bent,
He went about his heavy tasks humming the whole day long,
Accepting, simply as it came, his great gift of content.
The boasting tales his townsmen told he feigned were half untrue,
And blushed to find his feats of strength had won him wide renown;
Of how, long since, he flung his sledge
Fron Grogan's to the river's edge,
And bore two bags of wheat a-back the whole length of the town;
Of how he raised a mighty beam to save a child from fire
When Simpson's store was gutted in the blaze of 'eighty-six.
'They talk,' said he; 'and tales will grow. But, Lord, 'tain't my desire
For to figure as a hero thro' a brace of silly tricks.'
As last I remember him: A grey man and spare,
Sitting in his sons' garage, now from toil withdrawn,
Calling with a mighty roar,
Startling in a man so hoar,
'Smite it, laddie! Smite it! Lord, the young 'uns lack the brawn!'
But, as the cool of even comes to oust the day-long heat,
He is mindful of 'the missus.' ''Tis the rheumatiz,' he owns.
Then, shoulders back, grey head erect, he toddles down the street
Old Toll, the ex-smith, a brave old bag of bones.
The Censor sits behind his desk,
And smiles a censored smile;
His great, blue pencil hovers o'er
Some masterpiece awhile,
Then swoops - oh, child of whose poor ravished brain?
Coldly another innnocent is slain!
The Censor is a murderer.
None knows his secret lair,
Nor all the dark and awful deeds
He does in ambush there.
No eye has seen his charnel-house - it's floor
With literary corpses littered o'er.
The Censor is a crocodile.
Beneath that slimy flood,
The Waters of Oblivion,
He seeks his livelihood.
His gloating eye marks children of my pen;
He draws them under from the sight of men.
The Censor is a nibbling mouse.
The fair cheese of my mind
He rifles till there's nothing left
But atmosphere and rind.
That fair, round cheese, formed lovingly by me,
From milk of thought and curds of poesy.
The Censor is an elephant.
With large, ungainly feet
He dances on the glad, green fields
I sowed in toil and heat,
Till all the fairest flow'rs of thought are slain,
And only unaesthetic weeds remain.
The Censor is the Fiend of Storms.
Upon the Inky Sea,
In fear, my poor, frail craft I launch;
Then, with unholy glee,
He makes the winds tear howling through the shrouds,
And sends fork'd death and shipwreck from the clouds.
The Censor is a sorceror.
Above rare fruits that grow
Upon the tree of genius
His hand waves to and fro.
Hey, Presto! And their lusciousness is slain -
Apples of Sodom, Dead Sea Fruit remain.
The Censor is a hooded snake
That lurks within the grass,
And rears to sink his poison-fangs
In heedless babes that pass
Dear Children of my brain; wee, tender things,
That sink and swoon and perish when he stings.
And still he is a gentleman;
This much I will admit.
In 'Correspondence Columns' he
Seeks not to air his wit;
On shrinking backs he lays no caustic stripe,
Nor stoops to call our Masterpieces 'tripe'!
Peace, perfect peace. . . . Come, lay aside your gun.
The danger zone is past; the gauntlet run.
The bark of Scylla ceases on her shore,
And grim Charybdis threatens us no more.
Respite, Nepenthe, leaning-posts and beer!
Football and horses! Breathing time is here!
O witless fools, who, with your cry, 'To Arms!'
Your warnings venomous, and false alarms,
Sought to estrange us from our yellow friends,
Thus all your potter and your bunkum ends!
We are secure once more; we breathe again.
No further need is there for ships or men.
'The Treaty is renewed!' Hip, Hip, Hooray! . . .
Now let us dream the happy hours away.
One pen-stroke! and our liberty appears
Secure again, for ten long, blissful years.
A diplomat or two, a little ink,
Some paper, and, Hi Presto! in a wink,
The Yellow Peril vanishes from sight,
Like vague dream shadows of a restless night.
Let gentleness and peace overspread the land;
And bid our infant warriors disband.
The War-god broods o'er Europe even yet?
What matter? We've a decade to forget
That e'er we dreamed we heard the grim dogs bark.
What child at noon is fearful of the dark?
The forges of the nations still are lit?
Their anvils ring? What do we reek of it?
With ten long years of peace and joy and light,
We laugh at our vague terrors of the night.
Are truces ever broken? Treaties scorned?
Statesmen corrupted? Diplomats suborned?
Perish the thought! What if, in some far day,
Some foreswom nation flung its bond away?
Shall we, for such as that, forego our joy,
And start at shadows, like a frightened boy?
Shall croaking pessimists, with mild alarms,
Force us, all needlessly, to fly to arms?
Down with the dolts who prate of ships and guns!
Stern Mars shall not enslave Australia's sons.
Come, gag the fools who urge us to defend
Our ports against our harmless yellow friend!
Their words are insults; their aggressiveness
May give him pain, and cause us much distress.
Ab, gaze on him! as he steps forth to sign -
Say, is his smile not peaceful and benign?
Ten years to hoard the gold in shop and mart;
Ten peaceful years to play the trader's part;
To tend the sheep; to watch the green corn sprout
To cheer the race; to gaily clap and shout
At sports of children, played by heedless men.
Ten years of sweet Areadia - and then? . . .
Heed not the voice that thunders the alarm:
'Ten years to play the man! Ten years to arm!'
(O God of Battles, who, thus long, hath spared
A heedless nation, grant we be prepared!
Ten pregnant years! Tens canty years of grace,
To make or mar the fortune of a race.
Grim years of strenuous and unceasing toil,
That all may not become a foeman's spoil -
That it may not be told, some fateful day:
'Ten years they had; ten years they fooled away.')
Peace, perfect peace. . . Ho, let the fun begin,
And split the welkin with a joyous din!
Charybdis grim has ceased to roar and rave,
And Scylla sits demurely in her cave.
Ho! clash the cymbals, and begin the race!
And thank the gods we have a breathing-space.
The Ballad Of Bill's Breeches
Once on a time, a party by the name of Mr. BULL
Discovered that with many schemes his hands were pretty full.
His cares of family were great. Four fine young sons he'd got;
They were, indeed, of goodly breed, a strong and hefty lot.
But Mr. BULL's domestic cares (as shortly will be seen)
Were not with them, but with his wife, whose name was JINGOPHINE.
A foolish fad this lady had that all the boys were ninnies;
And, though they grew,
As children do,
She dressed them all in pinnies.
Now, while her boys were young, JOHN BULL engaged in business strife
Took little heed of their affairs, and left them to his wife;
And JINGOPHINE, who loved her lord, impressed them, noon and night.
With tales of his magnificence, his wisdom, wealth and might.
But when they talked of growing up, and 'helping pa' some day,
She shook her finger at them in her stern, maternal way.
'Your pa's a great, big man,' she said. 'You never, never, NEVER
Can hope to be
As big as he,
Or half so wise and clever.
Now, JINGOPHINE, like other dames of fussy, frilly kind,
Delighted to have round her folk of weak and narrow mind.
Pet persons were her weakness. also aldermen and those
Who held the very strictest views, and wore the nicest clothes.
They cheered her when she praised her lord, and listened, with a frown.
To tales of BILL; and all agreed he'd have to be 'kept down.'
'He is a naughty child,' they said, 'a mostprecocious brat.
To think good Mr. BULL should have an offspring such as that!'
But BILL despite the stern rebukes of aldermen and Wowsers,
Defied the crowd.
And shouted loud:
'Shut up! I want my trousers!'
Now, in the course of time, JOHN BULL awakened to the fact
That, in the interests of his sons, 'twas time for him to act.
'My dear,' he said, 'these sons of ours are growing quite immense;
We ought to have a business talk - I'11 call a conference.
They're nearly men; and they must learn, each one, to stand alone.
Each with responsibilities, and a household of his own.
They can't always be at our skirts, like great, big, awkward gabies.'
'Why, Mr. BULL!'
She cried. 'You fool!
Those boys are only babies!'
But at the meeting Mr. BULL spoke plainly to his lads.
'My sons,' said he, 'I don't agree with all your mother's fads.
You can't be always little boys; like other lads, you've grown;
And now 'tis time to face the world, and learn to stand alone.
We still remain one family; and none will fail, I know,
To aid another in distress, against a common foe.
Dear lads, I know, you'll recollect - despite success and riches -
Your father still.'
'Hear. hear!' said BILL
'Hooray! I've got me breeches!'
From out that solemn conference BILL marched in highest glee,
With more mopeef for Mr. BULL, now that his limbs were free.
'The old man, he's an all-right sort, and talks sound, common sense,
It's time we learned to act like men, and chucked this fool-pretence.
We've done with apron-strings at last. But what will Ma say now?
Her Wowsers and her aldermen? LORD, won't there be a row!
They've pecked at me quite long enough; it's up to me to scare 'em.
They'll howl for weeks!
But here's me breeks;
An', spare me days, I'll wear 'em!'
The Wowsers and the aldermen and Mrs. JING0PHINE
Were seated in the drawing-room when BILL came on the scene.
'He's got 'em on!' a Wowser cried. 'He's disobeyed his ma!'
'Help! Murder!' shrieked the aldermen. 'He'll kill his pore, dear vp!'
Pell-mell they rushed to Mr. BULL - 'Oh, sir, that dreadful BILL!
He'll murder you! He stole yer pants! He's got 'em on 'im still! Mr. BULL said. 'Is he?
There, there, good folk,
You've had your joke.
Now, go away; I'm busy.'
But, up and down the land they went, the Wowsers and the rest;
And BILL, besides the trousers, sported now a coat and vest.
'He's dressin' like a man!' they shrieked. 'He's going to resist
His dear, kind pa! Oh, who'll restrain this rank disloyalist?
He won't take sops from 'is fond ma; 'er pore 'art's nearly broke!
He's even gone at scoffed at us; an' treats us as a joke!' ....
And if you chance to come across those aldermen and Wowsers
You'll find them still
Who grins, and wears the trousers.
Brothers; even those of you who are already in the sear and yellow leaf, and full of years and iniquity,
Sometimes, I doubt not, let your thoughts go back to those days of antiquity
When mother tucked you into your little bed.
After your little prayers were said;
And, having said goodnight,
She most inconsiderately took away the light.
Then came, my brothers, that dread half-hour in the day of a child;
When your mind was filled with weird imaginings and fancies wild
Of Bogey-men and Hobgoblins, Ogres and Demons; so that, for a space, you lay
Filled with a child's vague fear of the dark, and longing for the day.
Then, to comfort you, there came the thought
That guardian angels, as you had been taught,
Hovered ever near
To watch over timid little boys and girls and still their fear.
Is not that what other said?
And, in your childish mind you pictured a feathered friend roosting benevolently
at the foot of your bed.
Then were you filled with solace deep;
You sighed contentedly and went to sleep.
I would speak to you of another kind of mother;
Of our political mamma or historical mater:
Mrs. Britannia, to wit, who lives on the other side of the equator.
You have doubtless seen her pictured upon certain coins of the realm,
Sitting on the sharp edge of a shield, holding a picthfork, and wearing an absurd
and elaborate helm.
That is the lady; our dear old mum;
Mother of a large and parti-colored family that has given her much trouble and
promises more in the years to come.
Hitherto she has tucked us into bed.
And, for a trifling cash consideration, to allay our dread,
Has, so to speak, left us the light
In the shape of a few more or less efficient warships that might or might not be
of use in a fight;
But that was neither here nor there
So long as they served their purpose, and, like a candle of childhood's days,
dissipated the shadows and the attendant thoughts that scare.
But, behold, my brother, we are no longer an infant nation.
We have doffed our swaddling clothes, and have gone into pants, and top-hats,
and motor-coats, and split-skirts, and other habilments of adult
We are no longer young enough to pet and fondle, to nurse and bounce and dandle;
And, behold, mother has taken away the candle!
This is well enough;
And nobody would be complaining if the dear old lady didn't try to fill us up with
That was designed alone for infant ears,
And to allay imaginery fears.
She forgets, the poor old worried mum, that we have, so to speak, arrived now
at years of discretion,
And (if you pardon the expression)
Endeavors to pull her trusting offsping's leg with the old, old tale
Of the beautiful and ever watchful guardian angel that will never fail
To banish the naughty, nasty bogeys, the wicked ogres that lurk
Around our little bed.... Brother, that guardian angel gag won't work!
We happen to know a little about this saffron-colored seraph, this Mongolian
cherub to whose tender care our doting parent would leave us;
And, unless our eyes deceive us,
He bears a most remarkable reseblance to the ogre that we fear!
We have not the least doubt that he will most obligingly hover near
Our little cot.
But we are very, very anxious concerning certain little childish possessions
we have got.
We have out own private opinions about the sort of watch he will keep;
And we have wisely, if rebelliously, decided that WE WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP!!
Speaking of guardian angels and other birds,
I should just like to say a few words
In reference to this guardian angel illusion.
It will be remebered that mother herself, when she was young, and not so
handy with the flatiron of war as she is to-day,
Had a little experience of her own in that way.
It was a Saxon guardian angel, with fierce whiskers and a spear,
That poor mother put her maiden trust in: and it would appear
That he treated her in a very shameful and ungentlemanly style;
For, after he had expelled the Scot burglar or the Pict fowl-thief or whoever it was,
he remarked, with a sinister smile:
'Well, not that I am here,
I think I'll stay for a while.'
And that's how mother got married....he did marry her in the end, or so I
And made an honest woman of her, and in time they built up a very respectable home
in the land.
But, after all, despite his morals, he was a white man, and a decent sort of fellow.
And things miht have been very different if his color had happened to be yellow.
Since then, if any reliance can be placed on the histories that adorn my shelf,
Mother has gone in rather largely for the guardian business herself.
And this she has done, I must confess,
With considerable success.
She has played the benign guardian angel, at one time and another, to quite a
number of simple and unsophisticated folk,
Who, when her guardianship has become too insistent, have not always appeared to
appreciate the joke.
But, my brother, this is what I should vey much like to know:
Since the old girl knows so much about this thing through personal experience,
why does she want to go
And put up that rusty old bluff on her innocent and confiding little son?
In the circumstances there is only one thing for him to do, and the lesson cannot be
learned too soon: The only reliable guardian angel for children of his age
IS A GUN!
I don't know what you think about it, brother;
But, speaking privately and strictly between ourselves, I think it's pretty crook
on the part of mother.