I wonder what the Jacks have got to laugh and laugh about.
I'm sure the worms don't see the joke when Jacky digs them out.
I wonder which is best: a rich plum-pudding stuffed with plums,
Or lemon ice, or plain boiled rice, or long-division sums.

I wonder why I wear a tie. It is not warm to wear;
But if I left it off someone would say it was not there.
I wonder, if I took a whiff of father's pipe for fun,
Would I be big and strong like him, or just his small, sick son?
I wonder when our old white hen will know her squawk betrays her.
I think she lets us find her eggs 'ust so that we shall praise her.

It's No Joke To One Bloke

Dear Comrade: In the game of politics
A Senator gits quite enough of kicks
Without 'is photer sittin' in the press
Wot makes 'is map look like a nasty mess
A pitcher that present 'im to the mob
A fair gazob.

Me, I ain't vain, but it is past a joke
To go an' print a crook dile of a bloke
So that the mob sez, 'Is this Digger? Struth!
'E's changed a good bit since 'is flamin' youth.
We thort 'e was a better lookin' chap.
Strike! Wot a man!'

Why make me look like somethin' choice in crooks?
For, if I ain't got nothin' but me looks,
Why, gimme looks, an' bung a photer in
That gives me sex-appeal a dinkum spin
I ain't - (For w'ich remark 'e'll please excuse)
No Billy Hughes.

An' so, I sends 'erewith me dinkum chiv -
The dinkum Digger, w'ich I 'ope you'll give
A bit o' space to 'elp along your sales
An' mind you say I come from Noo South Wales!
That ought to fetch 'em. So you play your part,
An' 'ave a 'eart.

To The Memory Of Claude Marquet

Because to him the wise gods gave
Rare gifts, to lesser folk denied,
He might have thriven, Mammon's slave,
Rich in the goods that small men crave,
But poor in all beside.

And yet, because his was the pride
Possessed by earnest men and brave,
He stayed by his weak brothers' side
And there he fought, loved, laughed and died,
And went, loved, to his grave.

Because his was the simple heart
That found small lure in pelf or praise,
For greater ends he plied his art,
And, asking little, played his part
A rich man all his days.

The simple heart, the single aim
That guided e'er his ready pen,
The gay indifference to Fame
Things such as these shall leave a name
Cherished 'mid fellow men.

And we who knew that steady gaze,
The open hand, the ready laugh,
The fighting face and kindly ways,
Know, too, his smiling scorn of praise.
Yet this for epitaph:

A fighter all his days was he,
Yet, dying, left no enemy.

Country Roads ~ Pretty Sally

The diggers came from Bendigo,
From Albury the drovers,
From where the Goulburn waters flow
Came bearded teamsters travelling slow.
And all the brown bush rovers;
And where the road goes winding still
To dropp to Melbourne valley,
They sought the shanty by the hill,
And called for beer and drank their fill,
And sparked with Pretty Sally.

The teamsters halted by the door
To give their horses water
And stood about the bar room floor
To ogle, while they had one more,
The shanty keeper's daughter.
Diggers with gold from creek to claim
About her used to rally,
Shearers and booted stockmen came
And to the hill they gave her name,
For all loved Pretty Sally.

I see her now; a sparkling lass
Brim-full of fun and laughter.
And where the slow teams used to pass,
And swagmen paused to beg a glass,
Now motor cars speed after.
And when I seek the road anew
That dips down to the valley,
I see again that bearded crew,
And, of the lovers, wonder who
At last wed Pretty Sally.

The Old White Horse

In olden days the Old White Horse
Stood brave against the sky;
And ne'er a teamster shaped his course
To pass the good inn by.
Far shone its lights o' winter nights
To beckon weary men;
By the long road where calm life flowed
It loomed a landmark then.

And many a good right yarn was spun
Mid pewter-pots agleam;
And mnay a friendship here begun
Grew riper as the team
Drew down the road its precious load
Of merchandise or mail,
And faced the ills of long, steep hills
To far-off Lilydale.

The tap-room rang to many a song,
While patient teams stood there;
And talk and laughter loud and long
Held nothing of despair;
For spoke they then, those bearded men,
Of fortunes shining near
Spoke with a grand faith in their land,
A faith that laughed at fear.

Gone are the days and gone the ways
Of easy, calm content;
Yet few supposed an epoch closed
The day the old inn went.
Now, past brick homes trim and cold,
The swift cars, speeding by,
Shall see no beacon as of old,
Shall see no brave White Horse stand bold
Against a hopeful sky.

Cosmic Comic Relief

Sadly sobbing, sadly sobbing,
Rolls the restless wireless sea,
Where the wireless waves go bobbing
Up and down so dolefully.
And nothing there the gloom assails,
Depression to undo,
Till some merry little static
In a manner most erratic
Till statics dropp their little tails
And split themselves in two.

Just to watch their comic wriggling
Moves the stratosphere to mirth,
And a giddy urge to giggling
Trails a titter round the earth.
When wireless humor flops and fails
And nought can raise a laugh,
Then some artful atmospheric
Sends the other half hysteric
Gay atmospherics dropp their tails
And split themselves in half.

Once again the world grows weary;
Sadly superheterodyne
Wax the wireless waves, and dreary,
Doleful frequencies repine!
Until, once more, loud laughter hails
The comic cosmic crew.
As some little stunting static,
Most absurdly acrobatic
Till statics dropp their little tails
And split themselves in two.

There is art in every antic,
So, when sitting at your set,
Rage no more with fury frantic
O'er the statics that you get.
For, far beyond your ken, great gales
Of laughter loud, with cosmic chaff
Hilarious and quite Homeric,
Sounds, as some impish atmospheric
Calls on his crowd to dropp their tails
And split themselves in half.

The Triantiwontigongolope

There's a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn't quite a spider, and it isn't quite a fly;
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you'll learn it soon, I hope.
So try:

It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn't there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
So try:

It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you snear at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
So try:
Triantiwontigongolope .

But of course you haven't seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven't seen it either, and I don't know its address.
For there isn't such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It's just a little joke of mine, which you'll forgive, I hope.
Oh, try!

Our Town Awakes

Six o'clock. From the railway yard
The engine toots; careering hard,
A milk-cart rattles by and stops;
A magpie calls from the gum-tree tops;
The pub 'boots', sweeping out the bar,
Waves to the early service-car,
While the town's chief toper waits outside,
Woe-begone and bleary-eyed;
Two cows go lowing down the way;
A rooster crows. It's another day.

Eight o'clock. The tradesmen come
Shop-boys whistling, masters glum,
To stand at doors and stretch and yawn;
Fronts are swept and blinds are drawn;
The washerwoman, Mrs Dubbs,
Slip-slops off to her taps and tubs,
Washing clothes for other folk;
The cheery barber cracks a joke,
But the day's first client fails to laugh -
Fresh from a tiff from his better half.

Nine o'clock. Precise and neat,
Miss Miggs comes mincing down the street,
The town's dressmaker, pert and prim,
Sly eyes, from under her hat's brim,
Gathering gossip by the way:
The same old goings-on today -
That grocer off for his morning nip;
The chemist, too, that married rip,
Flirting again with the girl next door.
Miss Miggs gleans twenty tales to store.

Ten o'clock. The town grows brisk;
Down the main street motors whisk;
Jinkers, carts and farmers' drays
Stop at shops and go their ways;
In soleman talk with the town surveyor
Comes Mr Mullinger, our mayor,
Pausing at doors for a friendly chat;
He bows, he smiles, he lifts his hat…
Now a brisker rush and a sudden din:
'That's her!' And the city train comes in.

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.

They say the eagle is a bird
That sees some splendid sights
When he soars high into the sky
Upon his dizzy flights:
He sees the ground for miles around
Our house, and Billy Johnson's;
But we can not be Eagles, for
That would, of course, be nonsense.

But you and I, some summer day,
Providing we're allowed,
Will go up in an aeroplane
And sail right through a cloud.
But, if they say we may not go,
We'll stay upon the ground
With other things that have no wings,
And watch them walk around.

They say the bottom of the sea
Is beautiful to view;
They say the fish, whene'er they wish,
Can sail and see 'it, too,.
The shining pearls, the coral curls,
The sharks, the squids, the schnappers,
And fish with fins (though not in tins)
And fish with funny flappers.

But you and I, some sunny day,
When weather's in condition,
Will go there in a submarine,
Providing we've permission.
But if they say we may not go
We must respect their wishes;
And you and I will just keep dry
Because we are not fishes.

They say to fly so very high
Is not exactly pleasant.
They say to go deep down below
Is not quite safe at present.
But you and I don't care for that,
And, if there's time for spending,
When work is done, we'll have our fun
By simply just pretending.

The earth is quite a jolly place,
And we don't care for flying;
And things that creep down in the deep
Are sometimes rather trying.
So, if they'll grant a holiday
Or even only half,
We'll lie upon some grassy place,
And think of things, and laugh.

Oh, he was old and he was spare;
His bushy whiskers and his hair
Were all fussed up and very grey
He said he'd come a long, long way
And had a long, long way to go.
Each boot was broken at the toe,
And he'd a swag upon his back.
His billy-can, as black as black,
Was just the thing for making tea
At picnics, so it seemed to me.

'Twas hard to earn a bite of bread,
He told me. Then he shook his head,
And all the little corks that hung
Around his hat-brim danced and swung
And bobbed about his face; and when
I laughed he made them dance again.
He said they were for keeping flies -
"The pesky varmints" - from his eyes.
He called me "Codger". . . "Now you see
The best days of your life," said he.
"But days will come to bend your back,
And, when they come, keep off the track.
Keep off, young codger, if you can.
He seemed a funny sort of man.

He told me that he wanted work,
But jobs were scarce this side of Bourke,
And he supposed he'd have to go
Another fifty mile or so.
"Nigh all my life the track I've walked,"
He said. I liked the way he talked.
And oh, the places he had seen!
I don't know where he had not been -
On every road, in every town,
All through the country, up and down.
"Young codger, shun the track," he said.
And put his hand upon my head.
I noticed, then, that his old eyes
Were very blue and very wise.
"Ay, once I was a little lad,"
He said, and seemed to grow quite sad.

I sometimes think: When I'm a man,
I'll get a good black billy-can
And hang some corks around my hat,
And lead a jolly life like that.

The Hidden City

It was the schooner Desperate
That sailed the southern sea,
And the skipper had brought his little daughter
To our centenary.
Blue were her eyes and plucked her brow,
Where she wore a golden curl.
Yet, 'spite her looks, she was somehow
A shrewd, observant girl.

But and spake an old sailor
Who had been that way before
'I pray don't land at yonder port
Lest your girl count it a bore.
Last year the town had a handsome street,
This year no street we see.'
'Why?' asked the skipper. 'Poles,' said the tar.
And a sneering laugh laughed he.

For an alderman had spoken,
Who had known the ropes long since,
And he said, 'Where are them sticks an' rag
We had for that other Prince.
Let's stick 'em up in the street again.'
Said the mayor, 'Don't be a quince.
We'll have some new bright painted ones;
And let the aesthetes wince.'

'Father,' the skipper's daughter cried
'No fair city I see.'
'It is behind them decorations, lass
Them candy sticks you see.'
'But, father, why do they stand there,
All orange smeared and red,
Like garish clowns in a stately street?'
'Search me,' the skipper said.

'Oh, father! What are those nightmare things,
Those gadgets brightly lit?
Let us away on urgent wings,
Or I fear I'll have a fit.'
'Courage, my child,' the skipper said.
Curb your aesthetic sense,
And close your eyes and cover your head,
And I shall bear you hence.

'Come hither, come hither, my little daughter,
And do not tremble so.'
He wrapped her up in his seaman's coat.
'Come,' said he, 'let us go
Out where no poles or pylons are,
And no centenary,
To a scene that no man's hand may mar.'
And he steered for the open sea.

Walk up! Walk up to the Bureaucratic Fair!
All the tasters and the testers and the tallymen are there.
All the freaks and other fancies of the mighty tax machine.
A unique conglomeration not believed until it's seen.
Walk up! Walk up to the strangest show on earth!
And learn how the tax-collection costs near all a tax is worth;
Learn all about the latest departmental funny cracks.
Buy your tickets at the window. Two and six - plus tax.

Come and see the biscuit-biter. No performance could be brighter.
Learn how shortbread can affect the human girth.
Come and see the pastry chewer. Green complexioned, but a doer
Holds the cup for the most bilious bloke on earth!
Come and see the lip-stick licker. Quick as lightning - even quicker
Picks the British from the foreign at a lick.
Come and help the politician patch the country's sad condition.
With the latest catch-a-penny parlor trick.

Come and see the cove so pure that he bans the literature
That all Britain may devour, and stays serene.
Watch his calories increase as he scans a spicy piece,
While he gradually turns a sickly green.
Good, clean fun, but vastly funny. Every act is worth the money!
Every turn is full of merry harmless fun.
Come and see the dope-detectors, see unhappy sweet-inspectors
Testing chocolates for gin - and finding none!

Walk up! Walkup to the Bureaucratic Fair!
All the latest acquisitions of the Government are there;
All the testers and the tasters, all the poor dyspeptic blokes,
And so very, very earnest, tho' the public throw them jokes.
Walk up and see the show arranged especially for you,
And help the harried Government to earn more revenue
That stuff they spend so freely and the population lacks
Buy your tickets at the window - Two and sixpence - plus tax.

Old Town Types No 20 - Mr Blades The Butcher

Mr Blades, the butcher, was a large and beefy man,
'Best him at a cattle deal,' 'twas said, 'no other can.'
He ate a lot and drank a lot and had a lot to say,
And he jollied all the ladies in his large and airy way.
His family was numerous, and helped him in 'the trade,'
And townsfolk had a deal to say of money what they made.
But Mr Blades just went his way, and had his bit of fun;
And joked about his appetite, his girth, or else his 'run.'

His 'run' - a stretch of scrubland at the back of Connor's place -
Was a joke about the district; for it did not bear a trace
Of building or improvement. Yet some said Mr Blades
Had ambitions as a squatter, and a secret scorn for 'trades' . . .
Then the cattle duffers started in the district. Connors raved,
But folk said it was wonderful how Mr Blades behaved.
Tho' he lost a hundred stores one night. But soon began the rows
When people in the town began to lose domestic cows.

Police surprised the gang one night out in the mulga shades,
And took the lot, red-handed, with their leader - Mr Blades.
Of course, the trial stirred our town, as nothing's stirred it since;
But when bad Blades got 'three years hard,' he did not even wince.
His family still strove to carry on the butcher's shop,
For folk refused to pay them, and demanded with some heat:
'Think you can charge for selling us our milkers back as meat?'

When Mr Blades came out of goal, he did not seem ashamed;
A little thinner now, perhaps, but not the least bit tamed.
He told the folk he'd paid his debts, and so, by gum, should they.
So he summoned all his debtors, and his debtors had to pay.
'For our own thieved and slaughtered cows!' wailed these bewildered folk.
But Mr Blades, the butcher, had his last and richest joke,
And, on the day he left the town, people who saw him said
He looked the picture of content - so beefy, large, and red.

Hist! . . . . . . Hark!
The night is very dark,
And we've to go a mile or so
Across the Possum Park.

Step . . . . . . light,
Keeping to the right;
If we delay, and lose our way,
We'll be out half the night.
The clouds are low and gloomy. Oh!
It's just begun to mist!
We haven't any overcoats
And - Hist! . . . . . . Hist!

(Mo . . . . . . poke!)
Who was that that spoke?
This is not a fitting spot
To make a silly joke.

Dear . . . . . . me!
A mopoke in a tree!
It jarred me so, I didn't know
Whatever it could be.
But come along; creep along;
Soon we shall be missed.
They'll get a scare and wonder where
We - Hush! . . . . . . Hist!

Ssh! . . . . . . Soft!
I've told you oft and oft
We should not stray so far away
Without a moon aloft.

Oo! . . . . . . Scat!
Goodness! What was that?
Upon my word, it's quite absurd,
It's only just a cat.
But come along; haste along;
Soon we'll have to rush,
Or we'll be late and find the gate
Is - Hist! . . . . . . Hush!

(Kok!. . . . . . Korrock!)
Oh! I've had a shock!
I hope and trust it's only just
A frog behind a rock.

Shoo! . . . . . . Shoo!
We've had enough of you;
Scaring folk just for a joke
Is not the thing to do.
But come along, slip along -
Isn't it a lark
Just to roam so far from home
On - Hist! . . . . . . Hark!

Look! . . . . . . See!
Shining through the tree,
The window-light is glowing bright
To welcome you and me.

Shout! . . . . . . Shout!
There's someone round about,
And through the door I see some more
And supper all laid out.
Now, run! Run! Run!
Oh, we've had such splendid fun -
Through the park in the dark,
As brave as anyone.

Laughed, we did, and chaffed, we did,
And whistled all the way,
And we're home again! Home again!
Hip . . . . . . Hooray!

The White Foxglove

Reynard, the fox, was asked to a party.
"Come", they said, in your Sunday best,
For we like good form, tho' the fun be hearty;
So all who dance must be formally dressed:
Black tail-coat and a shirt-front gleaming.
Brushed and burnished each dancing shoe,
Pantaloons with a silk braid seaming,
Clean white gloves of the snowiest hue.
This most especially -
Very especially -
Snow-white gloves of a spotless hue.

Reynard, the fox, as he dressed (says the fable)
Dreamed of the dance and his lady love,
Then he searched and he hunted in dresser and table,
But all he discovered was - one old glove!
A horrible glove, with a broad black stitching
Sorriest match for his stiff white shirt.
Could lover go wooing a maid so bewitching,
Wearing but one glove, grubby with dirt?
Oh, most disgustedly -
Very disgustedly -
Creased and crumpled and yellow with dirt.

Said Reynard, the fox, to the King of the Fairies,
"King, I come to you craving a dower.
Gloves! All as white as the lamb that was Mary's.
Pray you, fashion a pair from a magic flower.
>From a summer cloud, from the web of a spider.
Skin of a toadstool, a snowberry rind,
Down from the breast of a fledgling eider."
And the King said "Sure", for the King was kind.
Ever so graciously -
Gaily and graciously -
"Oke", said the Monarch, for he was kind.

Then Reynard, the fox, beheld a wonder:
A wave of his wand by the Fairy King -
And there, with the green leaves spreading under,
Sprang forth a sceptre, a magic thing
With garlands of gloves in a gleaming cluster,
White as the fleeces of new-shorn flocks
That fairy shepherds in Arcady muster.
And a pair they presented to Reynard, the fox.
They fitted him perfectly.
Said the King, "perfectly"
"Your Majesty.' Thank you!" said Reynard, the fox.

Reynard, the fox, made haste to the revel;
Beau of the ball, as they had to confess.
And the ladies sighed, "What a handsome devil?"
As for his lady - of course it was, "yes".
Then they danced and they fasted with merry laughter.
While Reynard weaved dreams in the clouds above.
And they called that blossom, from then ever after -
Men, foxes and fairies - the white Fox-glove.
Tall and so slenderly
Graceful and tenderly,
Swaying its sceptre - the White Fox-Glove.

Now, 'ere's my tip
Fer the Fusion ship,
An' I tells it straight an' square.
I'm a rare old tar
As nigh an' far
You'll not meet ev'rywhere.
I've seen 'er sail
In many a gale,
But she's done 'er final trip;
So I 'itches me breeches, an' a simple tale I pitches
O' this good ole Fusion ship.
'Twas Alf an' Joe,
Long years ago,
They built 'er any 'ow.
Twas a strange ole skiff
With 'er keel skew-wiff,
An' a double-ended bow.
Yus, a nose each end,
An' a grecian bend
Amidships, quaint an' queer.
When I seen 'er take the water, 'Ho!' ses I, 'she is a snorter!'
An' I gives a 'earty cheer.

An' sail she did.
But I'l lay ten quid
No ship, befor enor since,
Done 'ark 'er tricks;
'Er darned ole fix
'Ud make longshoremen wince.
She'd bob and bow,
The blamed old scow,
Like a wet an' foolish 'en;
An' 'er subsekint behav'er an' the effects fer to save 'er
Was a treat fer sialor-men.

An' Alf 'e was
'Er skipper, 'cos
No other could be got
To sail that craft!
An' fore an' aft
They was a rare ole lot.
So queer a crew
I never knew
An' Joe, 'e was fust mate.
An' to 'ear 'im scold and rate 'er, when 'e tried to navigate 'er -
Well, I tell yeh, it was great!

Fer some they said
To point 'er 'ead
Fer nor'-nor'-east by east,
Fer Tory Bay,
An' some said 'Nay,'
An' the langwidge never eased.
An' some they pressed
To sail doo west,
Fer the ole Freetection port.
An' the way she waltzed an' wobbled, while they 'owled an' fought an' squabbled.
Ho, I never seen sich sport!

An' poor ole Joe!
'Is watch below
Was mostly short an' sweet;
Fer 'e never knew
Wot time that crew
Might up an' change 'er beat.
But Alf, the boss,
'E took 'is doss,
An' 'e let 'er sail or stop;
Fer in days when seas was finer 'e was skipper of a liner,
An' 'e sorter felt the drop.

Now, she dropped at last
'Er anchor fast
In the 'arbor of Recess.
'Er sheets is tore,
An' 'er plates is wore,
An' she'll sail no more, I guess.
Alf got the pip
On 'er final trip,
An' there's some as said 'e swore
'E was sickened of 'er capers; so 'e 'anded in 'id papers,
An' she'll put to sea no more.
But it's 'ip, 'ip, 'ip!
fer the Fusion ship,
Fer the navigatin' 'en!
Since 'er cruise begun
She 'as give great fun
To us 'eart sailor-men.
We 'ave cheered an' laughed
An' joked an' chaffed
Since the day she put to sea;
So I takes a pull and 'itches (as our 'abit is) my breeches,
An' I give 'er three times three.

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.

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 far 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 dropp 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 it 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.

It chanced one day, in the middle of May,
There came to the great King Splosh
A policeman, who said, while scratching his head,
There isn't a stone in Gosh
To throw at a dog; for the crafty Og,
Last Saturday week, at one,
Took our last blue-metal, in order to settle
A bill for a toy pop-gun.'
Said the King, jokingly,
'Why, how provokingly
Weird; but we have the gun.'

And the King said, 'Well, we are stony-broke.'
But the Queen could not see it was much of a joke.
And she said, 'If the metal is all used up,
Pray what of the costume I want for the Cup?
It all seems so dreadfully simple to me.
The stones? Why, import them from over the sea.'
But a Glug stood up with a mole on his chin,
And said, with a most diabolical grin,
'Your Majesties, down in the country of Podge,
A spy has discovered a very 'cute dodge.
And the Ogs are determined to wage a war
On Gosh, next Friday, at half-past four.'
Then the Glugs all cried, in a terrible fright,
'How did our grandfathers manage a fight?'

Then the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book,
And he read, 'Some very large stones they took,
And flung at the foe, with exceeding force;
Which was very effective, tho' rude, of course.'
And lo, with sorrowful wails and moans,
The Glugs cried, 'Where, Oh, where are the stones?'
And some rushed North, and a few ran West;
Seeking the substitutes seeming best.
And they gathered the pillows and cushions and rugs
From the homes of the rich and middle-class Glugs.
And a hasty message they managed to send
Craving the loan of some bricks from a friend.

On the Friday, exactly at half-past four,
Came the Ogs with triumphant glee.
And the first of their stones hit poor Mister Ghones,
The captain of industry.
Then a pebble of Podge took the Knight, Sir Stodge,
In the curve of his convex vest.
He gurgled 'Un-Gluggish!' His heart growing sluggish,
He solemnly sank to rest.
'Tis inconceivable,
Scarcely believable,
Yet, he was sent to rest.

And the King said, 'Ouch!' And the Queen said, '0o!
My bee-ootiful drawing-room! What shall I do?'
But the warlike Ogs, they hurled great rocks
Thro' the works of the wonderful eight-day clocks
They had sold to the Glugs but a month before -
Which was very absurd; but, of course, 'twas war.
And the Glugs cried, 'What would our grandfathers do
If they hadn't the stones that they one time threw?'
But the Knight, Sir Stodge, and his mystic Book
Oblivious slept in a grave-yard nook.

Then a Glug stood out with a pot in his hand,
As the King was bewailing the fate of his land,
And he said, 'If these Ogs you desire to retard,
Then hit them quite frequent with anything hard.'
So the Glugs seized anvils, and editors' chairs,
And smote the Ogs with them unawares;
And bottles of pickles, and clocks they threw,
And books of poems, and gherkins, and glue,
Which they'd bought with the stones - as, of course, you know
From the Ogs but a couple of months ago.
Which was simply inane, when you reason it o'er;
And uneconomic, but then, it was war.

When they'd fought for a night and the most of a day,
The Ogs threw the last of their metal away.
Then they went back to Podge, well content with their fun,
And, with much satisfaction, declared they had won.
And the King of the Glugs gazed around on his land,
And saw nothing but stones strewn on every hand:
Great stones in the palace, and stones in the street,
And stones on the house-tops and under the feet.
And he said, with a desperate look on his face,
'There is nothing so ghastly as stones out of place.
And, no doubt, this Og scheme was a very smart dodge.
But whom does it profit - my people, or Podge?'

Now the Wobble went out on the roaring tide,
With a dry dog trotting along by its side;
Went over the sea - and I vow right here
That the Wobble went out with its views as clear
As ever the views of a Wobble could be;
And the Wobble went out and over the sea.

Went over the sea for to represent
The folk of our island continent;
Went over to England where dukes and lords,
And princes, and barons, and earls in hordes,
And bankers, and boodlers, and scores of Jews
Were burning to hear of Australia's views.

0, the Wobble went over to advertise
(For it was a Wobble of goodly size)
The things that we grow and the things that we breed
Our eggs and our bacon and butter and seed,
The health of our air and the worth of our earth
(For it was a Wobble of generous girth)
And it's quite a true saying, as ev'ryone knows,
A Wobble's a Wobble wherever it goes.

The Wobble went forth from its native land,
And when they espied it adrift on the Strand
All the American tourists laff't:
'Why, if that ain't the double of our old TAFT!'
And when it appeared later on in The Row,
All the duchiest duchesses viewed the show,
And they said: 'There is nothing can advertise
A country so well as a Wobble of size.'

And they asked it along for a feed and a swill,
And a talk after dinner, as Englishmen will,
And there's nothing on earth like a gabble and gobble
Appeals to a healthy and well-bred Wobble.
And when it arose at the festive board
The barons and aldermen loudly roared.
With the dukes and the generals, 'That's the bloke!
That's the famous and only Australian Joke!

'It's the Globular Jest with the Monocled Eye
That makes the Australians 1augh till they cry
The bankers and boodlers and Park Lane Jews
Wept great, glad teara in the jellies and stews;
The Lord High Chancellor spllt his vest,
While the baronets, admirals, peers and the rest
Agreed with the bishops and Irish M.P.'s
That no funnier Wobble came over the seas.

The Wobble gazed solemnly round the board,
While England's nobility shouted and roared
But it didn't enlarge on the things that we grow
Or the things that we breed or we dig, 0 no;
But it struck a delightfully humorous note
As it dealt with the things we, at intervals, float.
And it gravely declared that, as ev'ryone knows,
A feller's far better without any clothes.

'For a man,' said the Wobble, 'that uses his cash
For his personal needs is exceedingly rash.
He should gather his money and bury it in
A bit of old bagging or kerosene tin
At the end of the garden, then hasten to pop
His garments and things at his relative's shop.
He should hurry to Uncle and cheerfully float
A loan on his boots and his hat and his coat.

'And when you have blewed all that little advance
Don't dig up your money - not by any chance;
But pawn your etceteras, weskit and socks,
And the spare shirt and collars you keep on the box;
For it's better for Uncle and better for you,
And better by far for the little ones too.
And the whole darn family's more content
When the wardrobe is soaking at four per cent.'

O, every baton and duke and lord
He clung to the table and shrieked and roared;
And the Lord Chief Justice was heard to declare
That a Wobble so droll was exceedingly rare;
And all the financiers, COHEN and MOSES,
Laughed till the tears trickled over their noses;
And ev'ryone shouted, with hearty 'Ho, ho's,'
'Just fancy a Wobble without any clothes!'

The Baron of Bath threw a fit, and his Grace
The Bishop of Brixton went black to the face.
And I put it to you, as a man to a man:
Do you honestly think that Australia can
Ever hope to be blessed with another such prize
As a humorous Wobble to advertise?
For it's quite a true saying, as ev'ryone knows,
A Wobble's a Wobble wherever it goes.

On one fine but fatal morning in the early Eocene,
Lo, a brawny Bloke set out to dig a hole:
First of men to put a puncture in the tertiary green
Was this early, neolithic, human mole.
Gladsomely the toiler hefted his ungainly wooden spade,
As he scarified the bosom of old earth;
And our Progress forthwith started when his first spade-thrust was made,
While the cult of Work, or Graft, was given birth.

Oh, he flung the clods about him with a gay and prideful jerk,
Did this bright and early anthropoidal Bloke.
With the crowd that gathered, goggle-eyed, to watch him at his work
He would crack a pleasant, prehistoric joke.
And they gazed at him in wonder; for the custom of the mob,
When not occupied in inter-tribal strife,
Hitherto had been to eat, and sleep, and hunt, and cheat, and rob
Quite a simple and uncomplicated life.

Wherefore being new and novel, he was treated with respect,
This inventor of the job of shifting sand:
And with fresh-killed meat and fruit and furs his cave the tribesmen decked.
While his praises sounded high on ev'ry hand.
And the chieftain bade his artists in crude pictures to inscribe
On the shin-bone of a Dinosauromyth:
'Lo, the gods have sent a thing called Graft to bless this happy tribe,
And a scheme of Public Works will start forthwith.'

Ev'ry day, from early dawn till dark, the delver labored on
Till the tribesmen grew accustomed to the sight;
And the hunters, on their way to slay the mud-fat mastodon,
Would delay to say he wasn't doing right.
And the loafers from the Lower Caves, who lived by stealing meat,
All the day around the contract used to lurk;
And, when'er he paused to wipe his brow or took time off to eat,
They would yell at him in chorus: 'Aw, git work!'

Fat and lazy fur-skin-traders - wealthy men of such a size
That it took five hides to make them each a vest -
On their way to cheat their neighbors, paused awhile to criticise;
Calling, 'Loafer!' ev'ry time he stopped to rest.
They no longer stocked his larder with the trophies of the chase,
Or the neolithic substitute for beer:
For the chief said: 'He's a worker; we must keep him in his place!'
And the bloated fur-skin-traders cried, 'Hear, hear!'

And he soon became the scapegoat and the butt of all the tribe,
And he dwelt within the smallest, meanest cave,
While the rich and idle troglodytes were readiest to gibe,
Till they worried him into an early grave.
Then the minstrel (And I wot he was a wise prophetic bard,
And an anthropoid philosopher of note),
Took another mammoth shin-bone and scatched it with his shard
In his picture-script; and this is what he wrote:-

'Here lies the simple silly coot who first discovered Toil.
Him who started progress onward on her way;
Though he didn't get much fun from it, he moved some tons of soil;
But, 'tis said, he never fairly eanred his pay.
Lo, this thing called Work is blessed, for it shifts a lot of sand!
And this progress eases him who lives by tricks.
But the Bloke who lumps the Bundle, down through ev'ry age and land,
Shall be paid for harder work with harder kicks.'

Now that Paleolithic prophet on some sandstone stratum lies, With his shin-bones of the Dinosauromyth,
But the Bloke who shoves the shovel still his thankless calling plies,
And his name is Michael Burke or Peter Smith.
In the highway doth he labor, in the searching public gaze,
And he dare not pause, his aching back to rest,
Lest he cause a howl of protest from the trader of these days
With the large gold chain across his convex chest.

Lest he cause a howl of protest from 'Pro Bono Publico.'
And lest 'Constant Reader' cry his shame aloud,
He must keep his shovel moving - and he moves it all too slow
For the critics in the great White-handed crowd.
Till they get a patent navvy with a dynamo for head,
Or a petrol-tank for stomach, take my word,
He'll be ever up against it who shifts sand to earn his bread,
And the howling of the traders will be heard.

Smith is a very stupid man;
He lives next door to me;
He has no settled scheme or plan
Of domesticity.
He does not own a gramophone,
Nor rush for morning trains;
His garden paths are overgrown,
He seldom entertains.

In all our staid suburban street
He strikes the one false note.
He goes about in slippered feet,
And seldom wears a coat.
He shows no taste in furniture,
He never goes to church;
His ways our district prim and pure
seem, somehow, to besmirch.

I don't know how he earns his bread;
'Tis said he paints or writes;
And frequently, I've heard it said,
He works quite late at nights.
His servant told the girl we've got
He makes a lot of pelf.
It seems a pity he will not
Strive to improve himself.

She's quite a pretty girl, his wife.
Our women-folk declare
It is a shame she spoiled her life
With such a perfect bear.
And yet she seems quite satisfied
With this peculiar man;
And says, with rather foolish pride,
He is Bohemian.

He has the crudest views about
I've often heard him laugh and shout
On Sundays after tea;
While our select suburban clan
Pass him the stony stare.
Smith is a very stupid man,
He doesn't seem to care.

He will not join our tennis club,
Nor come to may'ral balls,
Nor meet the neighbours in a rub
At bridge, nor pay them calls.
He just delights to scoff and sneer,
And feigns to be amused
At everything we hold most dear
What wonder he's abused?

Although he's ostracised a deal
He never makes a fuss;
I sometimes think he seems to feel
He ostracises us!
But that, of course, is quite absurd;
And, risking the disgrace,
I sometimes say a kindly word
When I pass by his place.

But still, although one likes to keep
One's self a bit select,
And not be, so to speak, too cheap,
I'm broad in that respect.
So oft, on sultry summer eves,
I waive all diffidence,
And chat across the wilted leaves
That garb our garden fence.

But, oh, his talk is so absurd!
His notions are so crude.
Such drivel I have seldom heard;
His mode of speech is rude.
He mentions 'stomach' in a bark
You'd hear across the street.
He lacks those 'little ways' that mark
A gentleman discreet.

And when I speak of great affairs
His mind becomes a blank.
He shows no interest in the cares
Of folk of noble rank.
And should we chat of politics
He sneers at parliament,
And says the modern party tricks
Were by the Devil sent.

It seems he has some foolish scheme
To right all social wrong;
Some silly plan, some idle dream
To raise the fallen throng.
It tell him if we change our plan
All enterprise must end
Smith is a very stupid man;
He does not comprehend.

Good books, as I have often said,
He mentions with disdain.
Marie Corelli he's not read
Garvice, nor yet Hall Caine.
He talks of writers most obscure:
Like Virgil, Carlyle, Kant,
Whose works no scholar could endure.
His reading must be scant.

In art he is a perfect dunce.
That's plainly evident.
I recollect I showed him once
A Christmas supplement.
He asked me if it was a joke,
Although the thing was grand!
I knew the moment that he spoke
Smith didn't understand!

He lacks all soul for music, too;
He hates the gramophone;
And when we play some dance-tune new
I've often heard him groan.
He says our music gives him sad,
Sad thoughts of slaughtered things.
I think Smith is a little mad;
Nice thoughts to me it brings.

Now, I have quite a kindly heart;
Good works I do not stint;
Last week I spoke to Smith apart,
And dropped a gentle hint.
He will be snubbed, I told him flat,
By neighbours round about,
Unless he wears a better hat
On Sundays, when he's out.

Last Sunday morn he passed my place
About the hour of four;
A smile serence was on his face,
And on his head he wore
The most dilapidated hat
That I have ever seen.
'This ought to keep 'em off the mat,'
He said. What did he mean?

I wish that Smith was not so dense.
He seems to have no vice;
He's educated - in a sense
And could become quite nice.
Still, there's a certain 'genteel' brand
That marks the cultured man.
Smith doesn't seem to understand;
He's such a stupid man!

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.'

Yer—wed ded—wife?— . . . O, strike me! Will I wot?
Take 'er? Doreen? 'E stan's there arstin' me!
As if 'e thort per'aps I'd rather not!
Take 'er? 'E seemed to think 'er kind was got
Like cigarette-cards, fer the arstin'. Still,
I does me stunt in this 'ere hitchin' rot,
An' speaks me piece: 'Righto!' I sez, 'I will.'

'I will,' I sez. An' tho' a joyful shout
Come from me bustin' 'eart—I know it did
Me voice got sorter mangled comin' out,
An' makes me whisper like a frightened kid.
'I will,' I squeaks. An' I'd 'a' give a quid
To 'ad it on the quite, wivout this fuss,
An' orl the starin' crowd that Mar 'ad bid
To see this solim hitchin' up of us.

'Fer—rich-er—er—fer—poorer.' So 'e bleats.
'In—sick-ness—an'—in—'ealth,' . . . An' there I stands,
An' dunno 'arf the chatter I repeats,
Nor wot the 'ell to do wiv my two 'ands.
But 'e don't 'urry puttin' on our brands
This white-'aired pilot-bloke—but gives it lip,
Dressed in 'is little shirt, wiv frills an' bands.
'In sick-ness—an'—in—' Ar! I got the pip!

An' once I missed me turn; an' Ginger Mick,
'Oo's my best-man, 'e ups an' beefs it out.
'I will!' 'e 'owls; an' fetches me a kick.
'Your turn to chin!' 'e tips wiv a shout.
An' there I'm standin' like a gawky lout.
(Aw, spare me! But I seemed to be all 'ands!)
An' wonders wot 'e's goin' crook about,
Wiv 'arf a mind to crack 'im where 'e stands.

O, lumme! But ole Ginger was a trick!
Got up regardless fer the solim rite.
('E 'awks the bunnies when 'e toils, does Mick)
An' twice I saw 'im feelin' fer a light
To start a fag; an' trembles lest 'e might,
Thro' force o' habit like. 'E's nervis too;
That's plain, fer orl 'is air o' bluff an' skite;
An' jist as keen as me to see it thro'.

But, 'struth, the wimmnin! 'Ow they love this frill!
Fer Auntie Liz, an' Mar, o' course, wus there;
An' Mar's two uncles' wives, an' Cousin Lil,
An' 'arf a dozen more to grin and stare.
I couldn't make me 'ands fit anywhere!
I felt like I wus up afore the Beak!
But my Doreen she never turns a 'air,
Nor misses once when it's 'er turn to speak.

Ar, strike! No more swell marridges fer me!
It seems a blinded year afore 'e's done.
We could 'a' fixed it in the registree
Twice over 'fore this cove 'ad 'arf begun.
I s'pose the wimmin git some sorter fun
Wiv all this guyver, an 'is nibs's shirt.
But, seems to me, it takes the bloomin' bun,
This stylish splicin' uv a bloke an' skirt.

'To—be—yer—weddid—wife—' Aw, take a pull!
Wot in the 'ell's 'e think I come there for?
An' so 'e drawls an' drones until I'm full,
An' wants to do a duck clean out the door.
An' yet, fer orl 'is 'igh-falutin' jor,
Ole Snowy wus a reel good-meanin' bloke.
If 'twasn't fer the 'oly look 'e wore
Yeh'd think 'e piled it on jist fer a joke.

An', when at last 'e shuts 'is little book,
I 'eaves a sigh that nearly bust me vest.
But 'Eavens! Now 'ere's muvver goin' crook!
An' sobbin' awful on me manly chest!
(I wish she'd give them water-works a rest.)
'My little girl!' she 'owls. 'O, treat 'er well!
She's young—too young to leave 'er muvver's nest!'
'Orright, ole chook,' I nearly sez. Oh, 'ell!

An' then we 'as a beano up at Mar's
A slap-up feed, wiv wine an' two big geese.
Doreen sits next ter me, 'er eyes like stars.
O, 'ow I wished their blessed yap would cease!
The Parson-bloke 'e speaks a little piece,
That makes me blush an' 'ang me silly 'ead.
'E sez 'e 'opes our lovin' will increase
I likes that pilot fer the things 'e said.

'E sez Doreen an' me is in a boat,
An' sailin' on the matrimonial sea.
'E sez as 'ow 'e hopes we'll allus float
In peace an' joy, from storm an' danger free.
Then muvver gits to weepin' in 'er tea;
An' Auntie Liz sobs like a winded colt;
An' Cousin Lil comes 'round an' kisses me;
Until I feel I'll 'ave to do a bolt.

Then Ginger gits end-up an' makes a speech
('E'd 'ad a couple, but 'e wasn't shick.)
'My cobber 'ere,' 'e sez, ''as copped a peach!
Of orl the barrer-load she is the pick!
I 'opes 'e won't fergit 'is pals too quick
As wus 'is frien's in olden days, becors,
I'm trusting later on,' sez Ginger Mick,
'To celebrate the chris'nin'.' . . . 'Oly wars!

At last Doreen an' me we gits away,
An' leaves 'em doin' nothin' to the scram
(We're honey-moonin' down beside the Bay.)
I gives a 'arf a dollar to the man
Wot drives the cab; an' like two kids we ran
To ketch the train—Ah, strike! I could 'a' flown!
We gets the carridge right agen the van.
She whistles, jolts, an' starts . . . An' we're alone!

Doreen an' me! My precious bit o' fluff!
Me own true weddid wife! . . . An' we're alone!
She seems so frail, an' me so big an' rough
I dunno wot this feelin' is that's grown
Inside me 'ere that makes me feel I own
A thing so tender like I fear to squeeze
Too 'ard fer fear she'll break . . . Then, wiv a groan
I starts to 'ear a coot call, 'Tickets, please!'

You could 'a' outed me right on the spot!
I wus so rattled when that porter spoke.
Fer, 'struth! Them tickets I 'ad fair forgot!
But 'e fist laughs, an' takes it fer a joke.
'We must ixcuse,' 'e sez, 'new-married folk.'
An' I pays up, an' grins, an' blushes red….
It shows 'ow married life improves a bloke:
If I'd bin single I'd 'a' punched 'is head!

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.

I got so down to it last night,
With longin' for what could not be,
That nothin' in the world seemed right
Or everything was wrong with me.
My house was just a lonely hole,
An' I had blisters on my soul.

Top of my other worries now
The boys are talkin' strike, an' say
If we put up a sudden row
We're sure of forcin' up our pay.
I'm right enough with what I get;
But some wants more, an' then more yet.

Ben Murray's put it up to me:
He says I got some influence
Amongst them, if I agree
'Which I will do if I have sense'
We'll make the boss cough up a bit.
That's how Ben Murray looks at it.

I don't know that the old boss can.
I've heard he's pushed to make ends meet.
To me he's been a fair, straight man
That pays up well an' works a treat.
But if I don't get in this game,
Well, 'blackleg' ain't a pretty name.

This thing has got me thinkin' hard,
But there is worse upon my mind.
What sort of luck has broke my guard
That I should be the man to find
A girl like that? . . . The whole world's wrong!
Why was I born to live and long?

I get so down to it last night
With broodin' over things like this,
I said 'There's not a thing in sight
Worth havin' but I seem to miss.'
So I go out and get some air
An' have a word with old Bob Blair.

Bob's livin' lonely, same as me;
But he don't take to frettin' so
An' gettin' megrims after tea.
He reads a lot at night, I know;
His hut has books half up the wall
That I don't tumble to at all.

Books all about them ancient blokes
That lived a thousand years ago:
Philosophers an' funny folk
What he sees in them I don't know.
There ain't much fun, when all is said,
In chap that is so awful dead.

He put his book down when I came,
He took his specs off, patient-like.
He's been in Rome; an' who can blame
The old man if he gets the spike
To be jerked back so suddenly
By some glum-lookin' coot like me.

At first he looks at me quite dazed,
As tho' 'twas hard to recognize
The silly fool at which he gazed;
An' then a smile come in his eyes:
'Why, Jim,' he says. 'Still feelin' blue?
Kiss her, an' laugh!' . . . But I says, 'Who?'

'Why, who, if not the widow, lad?'
But I says, 'Widows ain't no go.'
'What woman, then, makes you so sad?'
I coughs a bit an' says, 'Dunno.'
He looked at me, then old Bob Blair
He ran his fingers through his hair.

'God help us, but the case is bad!
An' men below, an; saints above
Look with mixed feelin's, sour an' sad,
Upon a fool in love with love.
Go, find her, lad, an' be again,
Fit to associate with men.

'Don't leave yourself upon the shelf:
It's bad for man to live alone.'
'Hold on,' says I. 'What ails yourself?
What are you doin' on your own?'
Quickly he turned away his head.
'That's neither here nor there,' he said.

I saw I'd made a clumsy break;
An' tied to cover it with talk
Of anything, for old Blair's sake.
He don't reply; but when I'd walk
Outside he says, 'What's this I hear
About the mill boys actin' queer?'

So then we yarns about the strike,
An' old Bob Brown frowns an' shakes his head.
'There's something there I hardly like;
The boss has acted fair,' he said.
'Eight years I've toiled here constantly,
An' boss an' friend he's been to me.

'I know he's up against it bad;
Stintin' himself to pay the men.
Don't listen to this tattle, lad,
An' leave that dirty work to Ben.
He tries to play on others need;
It's partly devil, partly greed.

'Ben's not a reel bad lot at heart,
But ignorant an' dull of sight,
An' crazed by these new creeds that start
An' grow like mushrooms, overnight;
An' this strange greed that's spread the more
Since the great sacrifice of war.

'Greed everywhere!' sighed old man Blair.
'Master an' man have caught the craze;
An' those who yesterday would share
Like brothers, now spend all their days
Snatchin' for gain - the great, the small.
And, of, folly of it all!'

He tapped the small book by his hand.
'Two thousand years ago they knew
That those who think an' understand
Can make their wants but very few.
Two thousand years they taught
That happiness can not be bought.'

'Progress?' he shouted. 'Bah! A Fig!
Where are the things that count or last
In buildin' something very big
Or goin' somewhere very fast?
We put the horse behind the cart;
For where's your progress of the heart?

'Great wisdom lived long years ago,
An' yet we say that we progress.
The paint an' tinsel of our show
Are men more generous, or kind?
Then where's your progress of the mind?'

(I think Bob Blair's a trifle mad;
They say so, too, around these parts;
An' he can be, when he's reel bad,
A holy terror once he starts.
dare say it's readin' books an' such.
Thank God I never read too much!)

I says I'm sure I don't know
Where all this progress gets to now.
He smiles a bit an' answers low,
'Maybe you'll find out, lad, somehow.
But talkin' makes my old head whirl;
So you be off, an' - find that girl.'

I says Good night, an' out I goes;
But I was hardly at the door
When his old specs is on his nose,
An' his book in his hand once more;
An', as I take the track for home,
Bob Blair goes back to Ancient Rome.

The Little Red Dog

The Glugs still live in the land of Gosh,
Under the rule of the great King Splosh.
And they climb the trees in the Summer and Spring,
Because it is reckoned the regular thing.
Down in the valley they live their lives,
Taking the air with their aunts and wives.
And they climb the trees in the Winter and Fall,
And count it improper to climb not at all.

And they name their trees with a thousand names,
Calling them after their Arts and Aims;
And some, they climb for the fun of the thing,
But most go up at the call of the King.
Some scale a tree that they fear to name,
For it bears great blossoms of scarlet shame.
But they eat of the fruit of the nameless tree,
Because they are Glugs, and their choice is free.

But every eve, when the sun goes West,
Over the mountain they call The Blest,
Whose summit looks down on the city of Gosh,
Far from the reach of the great King Splosh,
The Glugs gaze up at the heights above,
And feel vague promptings to wondrous love.
And they whisper a tale of a tinker man,
Who lives in the mount with his Emily Ann.

A great mother mountain, and kindly is she,
Who nurses young rivers and sends them to sea.
And, nestled high up on her sheltering lap,
Is a little red house with a little straw cap
That bears a blue feather of smoke, curling high,
And a bunch of red roses cocked over one eye.
And the eyes of it glisten and shine in the sun,
As they look down on Gosh with a twinkle of fun.

There's a gay little garden, a tidy white gate,
And a narrow brown pathway that will not run straight;
For it turns and it twists and it wanders about
To the left and the right, as in humorous doubt.
'Tis a humorous path, and a joke from its birth
Till it ends at the door with a wriggle of mirth.
And here in the mount lives the queer tinker man
With his little red dog and his Emily Arm.

And, once in a while, when the weather is clear,
When the work is all over, and even is near,
They walk in the garden and gaze down below
On the Valley of Gosh, where the young rivers go;
Where the houses of Gosh seem so paltry and vain,
Like a handful of pebbles strewn over the plain;
Where tiny black forms crawl about in the vale,
And stare at the mountain they fear them to scale.

And Sym sits him down by his little wife's knee,
With his feet in the grass and his back to a tree;
And he looks on the Valley and dreams of old years,
As he strokes his red dog with the funny prick ears.
And he says, 'Still they climb in their whimsical way,
While we stand on earth, yet are higher than they.
Oh, who trusts to a tree is a fool of a man!
For the wise seek the mountains, my Emily Ann.'

So lives the queer tinker, nor deems it a wrong,
When the spirit so moves him, to burst into song.
'Tis a comical song about kettles and pans,
And the graces and charms that are Emily Ann's.
'Tis a mad, freakish song, but he sings it with zest,
And his little wife vows it of all songs the best.
And he sings quite a lot, as the Summer days pass,
With his back to a tree and his feet in the grass.

And the little red dog, who is wise as dogs go,
He will hark to that song for a minute or so,
'With his head on one side, and a serious air.
Then he makes no remark; but he wanders elsewhere.
And he trots down the garden to gaze now and then
At the curious pranks of a certain blue wren:
Not a commonplace wren, but a bird marked for fame
Thro' a grievance in life and a definite aim.

Now, they never fly far and they never fly high,
And they probably couldn't, suppose they should try.
So the common blue wren is content with his lot:
He will eat when there's food, and he fasts when there's not.
He flirts and he flutters, his wife by his side,
With his share of content and forgiveable pride.
And he keeps to the earth, 'mid the bushes and shrubs,
And he dines very well upon corpulent grubs.

But the little blue wren with a grievance in life,
He was rude to his neighbours and short with his wife.
For, up in the apple-tree over his nest,
There dwelt a fat spider who gave him no rest:
A spider so fat, so abnormally stout
That he seemed hardly fitted to waddle about.
But his eyes were so sharp, and his legs were so spry,
That he could not be caught; and 'twas folly to try.

Said the wren, as his loud lamentations he hurled
At the little red dog, 'It's a rotten old world!
But my heart would be glad, and my life would be blest
If I had that fat spider well under my vest.
Then I'd call back my youth, and be seeking to live,
And to taste of the pleasures the world has to give.
But the world is all wrong, and my mind's in a fog!'
'Aw, don't be a Glug!' said the little red dog.

Then, up from the grass, where he sat by his tree,
The voice of the Tinker rose fearless and free.

The little dog listened, his head on one side;
Then sought him a spot where a bored dog could hide.

'Kettles and pans! Ho, kettles and pans!
The stars are the gods' but the earth, it is man's!
Yet down in the shadow dull mortals there are
Who climb in the tree-tops to snatch at a star:
Seeking content and a surcease of care,
Finding but emptiness everywhere.
Then make for the mountain, importunate man!
With a kettle to mend . . . and your Emily Ann.

As he cocked a sad eye o'er a sheltering log,
'Oh, a Glug is a Glug!' sighed the little red dog.

The Sentimental Bloke

Yer-wedded-wife? -... O, strike me! Will I wot?
Take 'er? Doreen? 'E stan's there arstin' me!
As if 'e thort per'aps I'd rather not!
Take 'er? 'E seemed to think 'er kind was got
Like cigarette-cards, fer the arstin'. Still,
I does me stunt in this 'ere hitchin' rot,
An' speaks me piece: 'Righto! ' I sez, 'I will.'

'I will,' I sez. An' tho' a joyful shout
Come from me bustin' 'eart-I know it did-
Me voice got sorter mangled comin' out,
An' makes me whisper like a frightened kid.
'I will,' I squeaks. An' I'd 'a' give a quid
To 'ad it on the quite, wivout this fuss,
An' orl the starin' crowd that Mar 'ad bid
To see this solim hitchin' up of us.

'Fer-rich-er-er-fer-poorer.' So 'e bleats.
'In-sick-ness-an'-in-'ealth,'... An' there I stands,
An' dunno 'arf the chatter I repeats,
Nor wot the 'ell to do wiv my two 'ands.
But 'e don't 'urry puttin' on our brands -
This white-'aired pilot-bloke - but gives it lip,
Dressed in 'is little shirt, wiv frills an' bands.
'In sick-ness-an'-in-' Ar! I got the pip!

An' once I missed me turn; an' Ginger Mick,
'Oo's my best-man, 'e ups an' beefs it out.
'I will! ' 'e 'owls; an' fetches me a kick.
'Your turn to chin! ' 'e tips wiv a shout.
An' there I'm standin' like a gawky lout.
(Aw, spare me! But I seemed to be all 'ands!)
An' wonders wot 'e's goin' crook about,
Wiv 'arf a mind to crack 'im where 'e stands.

O, lumme! But ole Ginger was a trick!
Got up regardless fer the solim rite.
('E 'awks the bunnies when 'e toils, does Mick)
An' twice I saw 'im feelin' fer a light
To start a fag; an' trembles lest 'e might,
Thro' force o' habit like. 'E's nervis too;
That's plain, fer orl 'is air o' bluff an' skite;
An' jist as keen as me to see it thro'.

But, 'struth, the wimmnin! 'Ow they love this frill!
Fer Auntie Liz, an' Mar, o' course, wus there;
An' Mar's two uncles' wives, an' Cousin Lil,
An' 'arf a dozen more to grin and stare.
I couldn't make me 'ands fit anywhere!
I felt like I wus up afore the Beak!
But my Doreen she never turns a 'air,
Nor misses once when it's 'er turn to speak.

Ar, strike! No more swell marridges fer me!
It seems a blinded year afore 'e's done.
We could 'a' fixed it in the registree
Twice over 'fore this cove 'ad 'arf begun.
I s'pose the wimmin git some sorter fun
Wiv all this guyver, an 'is nibs's shirt.
But, seems to me, it takes the bloomin' bun,
This stylish splicin' uv a bloke an' skirt.

'To-be-yer-weddid-wife-' Aw, take a pull!
Wot in the 'ell's 'e think I come there for?
An' so 'e drawls an' drones until I'm full,
An' wants to do a duck clean out the door.
An' yet, fer orl 'is 'igh-falutin' jor,
Ole Snowy wus a reel good-meanin' bloke.
If 'twasn't fer the 'oly look 'e wore
Yeh'd think 'e piled it on jist fer a joke.

An', when at last 'e shuts 'is little book,
I 'eaves a sigh that nearly bust me vest.
But 'Eavens! Now 'ere's muvver goin' crook!
An' sobbin' awful on me manly chest!
(I wish she'd give them water-works a rest.)
'My little girl! ' she 'owls. 'O, treat 'er well!
She's young - too young to leave 'er muvver's nest! '
'Orright, ole chook,' I nearly sez. Oh, 'ell!

An' then we 'as a beano up at Mar's -
A slap-up feed, wiv wine an' two big geese.
Doreen sits next ter me, 'er eyes like stars.
O, 'ow I wished their blessed yap would cease!
The Parson-bloke 'e speaks a little piece,
That makes me blush an' 'ang me silly 'ead.
'E sez 'e 'opes our lovin' will increase -
I likes that pilot fer the things 'e said.

'E sez Doreen an' me is in a boat,
An' sailin' on the matrimonial sea.
'E sez as 'ow 'e hopes we'll allus float
In peace an' joy, from storm an' danger free.
Then muvver gits to weepin' in 'er tea;
An' Auntie Liz sobs like a winded colt;
An' Cousin Lil comes 'round an' kisses me;
Until I feel I'll 'ave to do a bolt.

Then Ginger gits end-up an' makes a speech -
('E'd 'ad a couple, but 'e wasn't shick.)
'My cobber 'ere,' 'e sez, ''as copped a peach!
Of orl the barrer-load she is the pick!
I 'opes 'e won't fergit 'is pals too quick
As wus 'is frien's in olden days, becors,
I'm trusting later on,' sez Ginger Mick,
'To celebrate the chris'nin'.'... 'Oly wars!

At last Doreen an' me we gits away,
An' leaves 'em doin' nothin' to the scram
(We're honey-moonin' down beside the Bay.)
I gives a 'arf a dollar to the man
Wot drives the cab; an' like two kids we ran
To ketch the train - Ah, strike! I could 'a' flown!
We gets the carridge right agen the van.
She whistles, jolts, an' starts... An' we're alone!

Doreen an' me! My precious bit o' fluff!
Me own true weddid wife! ... An' we're alone!
She seems so frail, an' me so big an' rough -
I dunno wot this feelin' is that's grown
Inside me 'ere that makes me feel I own
A thing so tender like I fear to squeeze
Too 'ard fer fear she'll break... Then, wiv a groan
I starts to 'ear a coot call, 'Tickets, please! '

You could 'a' outed me right on the spot!
I wus so rattled when that porter spoke.
Fer, 'struth! Them tickets I 'ad fair forgot!
But 'e fist laughs, an' takes it fer a joke.
'We must ixcuse,' 'e sez, 'new-married folk.'
An' I pays up, an' grins, an' blushes red....
It shows 'ow married life improves a bloke:
If I'd bin single I'd 'a' punched 'is head!

The Growth Of Sym

Now Sym was a Glug; and 'tis mentioned so
That the tale reads perfectly plain as we go.
In his veins ran blood of that stupid race
Of docile folk, who inhabit the place
Called Gosh, sad Gosh, where the tall trees sigh
With a strange, significant sort of cry
When the gloaming creeps and the wind is high.

When the deep shades creep and the wind is high
The trees bow low as the gods ride by:
Gods of the gloaming, who ride on the breeze,
Stooping to heaften the birds and the trees.
But each dull Glug sits down by his door,
And mutters, ' 'Tis windy!' and nothing more,
Like the long-dead Glugs in the days of yore.

When Sym was born there was much to-do,
And his parents thought him a joy to view;
But folk not prejudiced saw the Glug,
As his nurse remarked, 'In the cut of his mug.'
For he had their hair, and he had their eyes,
And the Glug expression of pained surprise,
And their predilection for pumpkin pies.

And his parents' claims were a deal denied
By his maiden aunt on his mother's side,
A tall Glug lady of fifty-two
With a slight moustache of an auburn hue.
'Parental blither!' she said quite flat.
'He's an average Glug; and he's red and fat!
And exceedingly fat and red at that!'

But the father, joi, when he gazed on Sym,
Dreamed great and wonderful things for him.
Said he, 'If the mind of a Glug could wake
Then, Oh, what a wonderful Glug he'd make!
We shall teach this laddie to play life's game
With a different mind and a definite aim:
A Glug in appearance, yet not the same.'

But the practical aunt said, 'Fudge! You fool!
We'll pack up his dinner and send him to school.
He shall learn about two-times and parsing and capes,
And how to make money with inches on tapes.
We'll apprentice him then to the drapery trade,
Where, I've heard it reported, large profits are made;
Besides, he can sell us cheap buttons and braid.'

So poor young Sym, he was sent to school,
Where the first thing taught is the Golden Rule.
'Do unto others,' the teacher said . . .
Then suddenly stopped and scratched his head.
'You may look up the rest in a book,' said he.
'At present it doesn't occur to me;
But do it, whatever it happens to be.'

'And now,' said the teacher, 'the day's task brings
Consideration of practical things.
If a man makes a profit of fifteen pounds
On one week's takings from two milk rounds,
How many . . .' And Sym went dreaming away
To the sunlit lands where the field-mice play,
And wrens hold revel the livelong day.

He walked in the welcoming fields alone,
While from far, far away came the pedagogue's drone:
'If a man makes . . .Multiply . . . Abstract nouns . . .
From B take . . .Population of towns . . .
Rods, poles or perches . . . Derived from Greek
Oh, the hawthorn buds came out this week,
And robins are nesting down by the creek.

So Sym was head of his class not once;
And his aunt repeatedly dubbed him 'Dunce.'
But, 'Give him a chance,' said his father, Joi.
'His head is abnormally large for a boy.'
But his aunt said, 'Piffie! It's crammed with bosh!
Why, he don't know the rivers and mountains of Gosh,
Nor the names of the nephews of good King Splosh!'

In Gosh, when a youth gets an obstinate look,
And copies his washing-bill into a book,
And blackens his boot-heels, and frowns at a joke,
'Ah, he's getting sense,' say the elderly folk.
But Sym, he would laugh when he ought to be sad;
Said his aunt, 'Lawk-a-mussy! What's wrong with the lad?
He romps with the puppies, and talks to the ants,
And keeps his loose change in his second-best pants,
And stumbles all over my cauliflower plants!'

'There is wisdom in that,' laughed the father, Joi.
But the aunt said, 'Toity!' and, 'Drat the boy!'
'He shall play,' said the father, 'some noble part.
Who knows but it may be in letters or art?
'Tis a dignified business to make folk think.'
But the aunt cried, 'What! Go messing with ink?
And smear all his fingers, and take to drink?
Paint hussies and cows, and end in the clink?'

So the argument ran; but one bright Spring day
Sym settled it all in his own strange way.
''Tis a tramp,' he announced, 'I've decided to be;
And I start next Monday at twenty to three . . .'
When the aunt recovered she screamed, 'A tramp?
A low-lived, pilfering, idle scamp,
Who steals people's washing, and sleeps in the damp?'

Sharp to the hour Sym was ready and dressed.
'Young birds,' sighed the father, 'must go from the nest.
When the green moss covers those stones you tread,
When the green grass whispers above my head,
Mark well, wherever your path may turn,
They have reached the valley of peace who learn
That wise hearts cherish what fools may spurn.'

So Sym went off; and a year ran by,
And the father said, with a smile-masked sigh,
'It is meet that the young should leave the nest.'
Said the aunt, 'Don't spill that soup on your vest!
Nor mention his name! He's our one disgrace!
And he's probably sneaking around some place
With fuzzy black whiskers all over his face.'

But, under a hedge, by a flowering peach,
A youth with a little blue wren held speech.
With his back to a tree and his feet in the grass,
He watched the thistle-down drift and pass,
And the cloud-puffs, borne on a lazy breeze,
Move by on their errand, above the trees,
Into the vault of the mysteries.

'Now, teach me, little blue wren,' said he.
''Tis you can unravel this riddle for me.
I am 'mazed by the gifts of this kindly earth.
Which of them all has the greatest worth?'
He flirted his tail as he answered then,
He bobbed and he bowed to his coy little hen:
'Why, sunlight and worms!' said the little blue wren.

'A Gallant Gentleman'

A month ago the world grew grey fer me;
A month ago the light went out fer Rose.
To 'er they broke it gentle as might be;
But fer 'is pal 'twus one uv them swift blows
That stops the 'eart-beat; fer to me it came
Jist, 'Killed in Action,' an' beneath 'is name.

'Ow many times 'ave I sat dreamin' 'ere
An' seen the boys returnin', gay an' proud.
I've seen the greetin's, 'eard 'is rousin' cheer,
An' watched ole Mick come stridin' thro' the crowd.
'Ow many times 'ave I sat in this chair
An' seen 'is 'ard chiv grinnin' over there.

'E's laughed, an' told me stories uv the war.
Changed some 'e looked, but still the same ole Mick,
Keener an' cleaner than 'e wus before;
'E's took me 'and, an' said 'e's in great nick.
Sich wus the dreamin's uv a fool 'oo tried
To jist crack 'ardy, an' 'old gloom aside.

An' now - well, wot's the odds? I'm only one:
One out uv many 'oo 'as lost a friend.
Manlike, I'll bounce again, an' find me fun;
But fer Poor Rose it seems the bitter end.
Fer Rose, an' sich as Rose, when one man dies
It seems the world goes black before their eyes.

Ar, well; if Mick could 'ear me blither now,
I know jist wot 'e'd say an' 'ow 'e'd look:
'Aw, cut it out, mate; chuck that silly row!
There ain't so sense in takin' sich things crook.
I've took me gamble; an' there's none to blame
Becos I drew a blank; it's in the game.'

A parson cove he broke the noos to Rose
A friend uv mine, a bloke wiv snowy 'air,
An' gentle, soothin' sort o'ways, 'oo goes
Thro' life jist 'umpin' others' loads uv care.
Instid uv Mick - jist one rough soljer lad -
Yeh'd think 'e'd lost the dearest friend 'e 'ad.

But 'ow kin blows be sof'n'd sich as that?
Rose took it as 'er sort must take sich things.
An' if the jolt uv it 'as knocked me flat,
Well, 'oo is there to blame 'er if it brings
Black thorts that comes to women when they frets,
An' makes 'er tork wild tork an' foolish threats.

An' then there comes the letter that wus sent
To give the strength uv Ginger's passin' out
A long, straight letter frum a bloke called Trent;
'Tain't no use tellin' wot it's orl about:
There's things that's in it I kin see quite clear
Ole Ginger Mick ud be ashamed to 'ear.

Things praisin 'im, that pore ole Mick ud say
Wus comin' it too 'ot; fer, spare me days!
I well remember that 'e 'ad a way
Uv curlin' up when 'e wus slung bokays.
An' Trent 'e seems to think that in some way
'E owes Mick somethin' that 'e can't repay.

Well, p'raps 'e does,- an' in the note 'e sends
'E arsts if Mick 'as people 'e kin find.
Fer Trent's an English toff wiv swanky friends,
An' wants to 'elp wot Ginger's left be'ind.
'E sez strange things in this 'ere note 'e sends:
'He was a gallant gentleman,' it ends.

A gallant gentleman! Well, I dunno.
I 'ardly think that Mick ud like that name.
But this 'ere Trent's a toff, an' ort to know
The breedin' uv the stock frum which 'e came.
Gallant an' game Mick might 'a' bin; but then
Lord! Fancy 'im among the gentlemen!

'E wus a man; that's good enough fer me,
'Oo wus 'is cobber many years before
'E writ it plain fer other blokes to see,
An' proved it good an' pleny at the war.
'E wus a man; an', by the way 'e died,
'E wus a man 'is friend can claim wiv pride.

The way 'e died… Gawd! but it makes me proud
I ever 'eld 'is 'and, to read that tale.
An' Trent is one uv that 'igh-steppin' crowd
That don't sling pral'se around be ev'ry mail.
To 'im it seemed some great 'eroic lurk;
But Mick, I know, jist took it wiv 'is work.

No matter wot 'e done. It's jist a thing
I knoo 'e'd do if once 'e got the show.
An' it would never please 'im fer to sling
Tall tork at 'im jist cos 'e acted so.
'Don't make a song uv it!' I 'ear 'im growl,
'I've done me limit, an' tossed in the tow'l.'

This little job, 'e knoo - an' I know well
A thousand uv 'is cobbers would 'ave done.
Fer they are soljers; an' it's crook to tell
A tale that marks fer praise a single one.
An' that's 'ow Mick wopuold 'ave it, as I kow;
An', as 'e'd 'ave it, so we'll let it go.

Trent tells 'ow, when they found 'im, near the end,
'E starts a fag an' grins orl bright an' gay.
An' when they arsts fer messages to send
To friends, 'is look goes dreamin' far away.
'Look after Rose,' 'e sez, 'when I move on.
Look after… Rose… Mafeesh!' An' 'e wus gone.

'We buried 'im,' sez Trent, 'down by the beach.
We put mimosa on the mound uv sand
Above 'im. 'Twus the nearest thing in reach
To golden wattle uv 'is native land.
But never wus the fairest wattle wreath
More golden than the 'eart uv 'im beneath.'

An' so - Mafeesh! as Mick 'ad learned to say.
'E's finished; an' there's few 'as marked 'im go.
Only one soljer, outed in the fray,
'Oo took 'is gamble, an' 'oo 'a 'is show.
There's few to mourn 'im: an' the less they leave,
The less uv sorrer, fewer 'earts to grieve.

An' when I'm feelin' blue, an' mopin' 'ere
About h epal I've lorst; Doreen, my wifem
She come an' takes my 'and, an' tells me, 'Dear,
Ther's be more cause to mourn a wasted life.
'E proved 'imself a man, an' 'e's at rest.'
An' so, I tries to think sich things is best.

A gallant gentleman… Well, let it go.
They sez they've put them words above 'is 'ead,
Out there where lonely graves stretch in a row;
But Mick 'ell never mind it now 'e's dead.
An' where 'e's gone, when they weigh praise an' blame,
P'raps gentlemen an' men is much the same.

They fights; an' orl the land is filled wiv cheers.
They dies; an' 'ere an' there a 'eart is broke.
An' when I weighs it orl - the shouts, the tears -
I sees it's well Mick wus a lonely bloke.
'E found a game 'e knoo, an' played it well;
An' now 'e's gone. Wot more is there to tell?

A month ago, fer me the world grew grey;
A month ago the light went out fer Rose;
Becos one common soljer crossed the way,
Leavin' a common message as 'e goes.
But ev'ry dyin' soljer's 'ope lies there:
'Look after Rose. Mafeesh!' Gawd! It's a pray'r!

That's wot it is; an' when yeh sort it out,
Shuttin' yer ears to orl the sounds o' strife
The shouts, the cheers, the curses - 'oo kin doubt
The claims uv women; mother, sweet'eart, wife?
An' 'oos to 'ear our soljers' dyin' wish?
An' 'oo's to 'eed? . . . 'Look after Rose . . . Mafeesh!'

When I'm out among the fellows, with the work to hold my mind,
Then there's heaps of joy in livin' an' the world seems awful kind
Awful kind an' awful jolly, with no trace of melancholy,
An' I tell myself the bloke that don't enjoy it must be blind
When I'm out among the fellows; but, when I am sittin' here,
Dreamin' by my lonely fireside, then the world gets kind of queer.

I suppose it's how you take it: what they call the point of view;
An' a man don't look for dreamin' when there's work for him to do.
But he can't be ever toilin', an' at times he gets to spoilin'
All the joy the day has brought him - when he lets the black thoughts through.
It suppose it's livin' lonely, as a fellow never should;
For a lonely man gets broodin', and the broodin' isn't good.

It's never good, the sayin' is, for man to live alone.
But 'tain't because I like it that I'm batchin' on my own,
For a bloke must take what's goin', an' my life ain't all been growin'
Daffodils and hummin' dance tunes just to give my soul a tone.
It's muscle I've had to grow since days when I was small,
An' all the muscle that I've made is with the axe an' maul.

When folks are poor an' toil is hard an' times are harder still
A boy soon learns the use of time if he would eat his fill.
Long before I'd finished schoolin' I had put aside my foolin'.
Till now, at thirty an' a bit, I'm workin' at a mill.
It isn't much; then then my folks knew that my chance was dim,
Or they might have named me Reginald instead of just plain Jim.

Just Jim the Hatter, Lonely Jim, the bloke that don't say much.
I've heard how people talk of me: the gossipers an' such.
An' they say I'm slow at givin'; but I've got my way of livin',
An' I've got my bit of farm-land an' a house that ain't a hutch.
An' tho it hurts if this man sneers or that misunderstands,
I'm proud to know that all I've got was earned with my two hands.

Suppose I don't go gay at times an' throw around the cash:
It's knowin' want that frightened me from gettin' over rash.
I know I'm keen on savin'; but the pinchin' and the slavin'
An' the starvin' in the old days keeps a man from bein' flash.
I never treated neighbours mean or grudged a man a pound;
But I ain't out to buy loud cheers by throwin' it around.

An' after all - well, I don't know - it sums up much the same;
No matter how a man has lived, no matter what his aim
If it's savin', if it's spendin' - all his life is just a blendin'
Of the gay days an' the grey days: an' he's got to play the game.
So where's the use of grumblin' if the game don't suit your bent?
I tells myself this all night - an' yet I ain't content.

There's days that sometimes come to me when toilin's simple bliss,
An' every little job becomes a joy I wouldn't miss:
When the labour seems like playin', an' I catch myself a-sayin',
'Why, it's grand to think a man gets paid for doin' things like this!'
But, after, came the lonely night, when I've looked back an' said,
'To think I have to slave like that to earn a bit of bread!'

When I'm out among the fellows, oh, the world's a place to prize;
But here, beside my lonely fire, the glamour of it dies.
Sittin' here I take to gettin' gloomy views of things, an' frettin'
Till my dog looks up, and wonders, with a question in his eyes.
He's been my mate for years an' years, an' things that folks don't see
Both good an' bad has been thrashed out by my old dog an' me.

Well he knows he's safe for sharin' while I've got a bite an' sup.
When I'm fit, he's full of frolic, laughin' like a silly pup
Out for fun. But when I'm feelin' sad at night, he just comes stealin'
To the fire an' stretches out there with his brown eyes lookin' up,
Lit with such a queer soft sadness that I feel it isn't fair
My own private little worries spoils the evenin' for the pair.

Here, to-night, I've sat an' told him - while his tail flopped on the floor
Of particular conditions that have got me feelin' sore.
An' my present little worry is the matter of Ben Murray
An' his sudden-like attentions to the widow at the store.
I ain't nothin' to the widow, as Ben Murray ought to see;
But I hear he's taken fight lately, with some reference to me.

I ain't nothin' to the widow - not as yet, at any rate;
Tho' a bloke can't be dead certain what is like to be his fate.
But I own that I've been thinkin', an' there ain't no use in blinkin'
At the fact a man must settle down before it gets too late.
I ain't nothing to the widow - don't know that I ever will.
Seems to me it's awful reckless takin' lifelong chances - still...

Me an' my old dog's been talkin' quite a lot - of love an' things:
Weighin' matters; an' we reckon this here love is full of stings,
Fuller than a stingin' nettle. If a fellow wants to settle
He needs solid care an' comfort, not the stuff the poet sings.
Love an' all that talk, we reckon, is a silly sort of fake -
What's a plain man wantin' further if his wife can wash and bake?

I ain't nothin' to the widow ... Neither is Ben Murray though!
An' he won't find me unwillin' if he wants a little go.
I'm not over-keen on fightin'; but his boastin' and his skitin'
Puts my back up; an' his sneerin' often gets down pretty low.
Course, the widow's never mentioned - that's to say, by name, outright;
But I know what's gnawin' at him when I hear he's talking fight.

Talkin' fight an' acting' ugly: not reel earnest, half an' half -
Shootin' sneers into his smilin', slingin' spite nto his chaff.
Tho' a fight I'm never shirkin', when I'm with the fellows, workin',
I can give him good as he does, an' just take it with a laugh.
But at evenin' when I'm broodin', I chew over all the lot,
Till his jokes swell into insults an' his hintin' makes me hot.

He can have it - if he wants it! He won't be too long denied!
But I've heard he's mentioned fivers - wants to fight five pounds a side.
If I'm licked, of course, I lose it; an' that fool and will go and booze it:
Throw it clean into the gutter with the other cash he's shied.
I been told to-day he's saying' that his fiver saves his skin. . . .
Wonder what he meant, the blighter, that should make the fellows grin. . . .

Jumpin' Moses! . . . He can have it! Anywhere an' anywhen!
Fivers? let him talk of fivers! Holy wars, I'll make it ten!
He'll get fightin', too, in plenty. If he likes I'll make it twenty!
We shall see whose skin is safest an' whose hide is toughest then.
I ain't got no grudge against him - only what the rotter's said.
I ain't nothin' to the widow! ... Here, old dog, we'll get to bed

'Ar! Gimme fights wiv foeman I kin see,
To upper-cut an' wallop on the jor.
Life in a burrer ain't no good to me.
'Struth! This ain't war!
Gimme a ding-dong go fer 'arf a round,
An' you kin 'ave this crawlin' underground.

'Gimme a ragin', 'owlin', tearin', scrap,
Wiv room to swing me left, an' feel it land.
This 'idin', sneakin' racket makes a chap
Feel secon'-'and.
Stuck in me dug-out 'ere, down in a 'ole,
I'm feelin' like I've growed a rabbit's soul.'

Ole Ginger's left the 'orspital, it seems;
'E's back at Anzac, cursin' at the game;
Fer this 'ere ain't the fightin' uv 'is dreams;
It's too dead tame.
'E's got the oopizootics reely bad,
An' 'idin' in a burrer makes 'im mad.

'E sort o' takes it personal, yeh see.
'E used to 'awk 'em fer a crust, did Mick.
Now, makin' 'im play rabbits seems to be
A narsty trick.
To shove 'im like a bunny down a 'ole
It looks like chuckin' orf, an' sours 'is soul.

'Fair doos,' 'e sez, 'I joined the bloomin' ranks
To git away frum rabbits: thinks I'm done
Wiv them Australian pests, an' 'ere's their thanks:
They makes me one!
An' 'ere I'm squattin', scared to shift about;
Jist waitin' fer me little tail to sprout.

'Ar, strike me up a wattle! but it's tough!
But 'ere's the dizzy limit, fer a cert
To live this bunny's life is bad enough,
But 'ere's reel dirt:
Some tart at 'ome 'as sent, wiv lovin' care,
A coat uv rabbit-skins fer me to wear!

'That's done it! Now I'm nibblin' at the food,
An' if a dawg shows up I'll start to squeal;
I s'pose I orter melt wiv gratichude:
'Tain't 'ow I feel.
She might 'a' fixed a note on wiv a pin:
'Please, Mister Rabbit, yeh fergot yer skin!'

'I sees me finish!… War? Why, this ain't war!
It's ferritin'! An' I'm the bloomin' game.
Me skin alone is worth the 'untin' for
That tart's to blame!
Before we're done, I've got a silly scare,
Some trappin' Turk will catch me in snare.

''E'll skin me, wiv the others 'c 'as there,
An' shove us on a truck, an' bung us 'round
Constantinople at a bob a pair
Orl fresh an' sound!
'Eads down, 'eels up, 'e'll 'awk us in a row
Around the 'arems, 'owlin 'Rabbee-oh!'

'But, dead in earnest, it's a job I 'ate.
We've got to do it, an' it's gittin' done;
But this soul-dopin' game uv sit-an'-wait,
It ain't no fun.
There's times I wish, if we weren't short uv men,
That I wus back in 'orspital again.

'Ar, 'orspital! There is the place to git.
If I thort Paradise wus 'arf so snug
I'd shove me 'ead above the parapit
An' stop a slug;
But one thing blocks me playin' sich a joke;
I want another scrap before I croak.

'I want it bad. I want to git right out
An' plug some josser in the briskit-'ard.
I want to 'owl an' chuck me arms about,
An' jab, an' guard.
An' swing, an' upper-cut, an' crool some pitch,
Or git passed out meself - I don't care w'ich.

'There's some blokes 'ere they've tumbled to a stunt
Fer gittin' 'eni the spell that they deserves.
They chews some cordite when life at the front
Gits on their nerves.
It sends yer tempracher clean out uv sight,
An', if yeh strike a simple doc, yer right.

'I tries it once. Me soul 'ad got the sinks,
Me thorts annoyed me, an' I 'ad the joes,
I feels like no one loves me, so I thinks,
Well, Mick, 'ere goes!
I breaks a cartridge open, chews a bit,
Reports I'm sick, an' throws a fancy fit.

'Me lovin' sargint spreads the gloomy noos,
I gits paraded; but, aw, 'Struth! me luck!
It weren't no baby doc I interviews,
But some ole buck
Wiv gimblet eyes. 'Put out yer tongue!' 'e 'owls.
Then takes me temp, an' stares at me, an' growls.

''Well, well,' 'e sez. 'Wot is yer trouble, lad?'
I grabs me tummy 'ard, an' sez I'm ill.
'You are,' sez 'e. 'Yeh got corditis, bad.
Yeh need a pill.
Before yeh go to sleep,' 'e sez, 'to-night,

Swaller the bullet, son, an' you'll be right.'

''0w's that fer rotten luck? But orl the same,
I ain't complainin' when I thinks it out.
I seen it weren't no way to play the game,
This pullin' out.
We're orl uv us in this to see it thro',
An' bli'me, wot we've got to do, we'll do.

'But 'oles an' burrers! Strike! An' this is war!
This is the bonzer scrappin' uv me dreams!
A willin' go is wot I bargained for,
But 'ere it seems
I've died, someway, an' bin condemned to be
Me own Wile Rabbee fer eternity.

'But 'orspital! I tell yeh, square an' all,
If I could meet the murderin' ole Turk
'0o's bullet sent me there to loaf an' sprawl,
An' dodge me work,
Lord! I'd shake 'an's wiv 'im, an' thank 'im well
Fer givin' me a reel ole bonzer spell.

''E might 'a' tnade it jist a wee bit worse.
I'd stand a lot uv that before I'd scream.
The grub wus jist the thing; an', say, me nurse I
She wus a dream!
I used to treat them tony tarts wiv mirth;
But now I know why they wus put on earth.

'It treated me reel mean, that wound uv mine;
It 'ealed too quick, considerin' me state.
An' 'ere I am, back in the firin' line
Gamblin' wiv Fate.
It's like two-up: I'm 'eadin' 'em this trip;
But Iookin', day be day, to pass the kip.

'You tell Doreen, yer wife, 'ow I am chock
Full to the neck wiv thanks fer things she sends.
Each time I shoves me foot inside a sock
I bless sich friends.
I'm bustin' wiv glad thorts fer things she did;
So tell 'er I serloots 'er, an' the kid.

'Make 'im a soljer, chum, when 'c gits old.
Teach 'im the tale uv wot the Anzacs did.
Teach 'im 'e's got a land to love an' hold.
Gawd bless the kid!
But I'm in 'opes when 'is turn comes around
They'll chuck this style uv rootin' underground.

'We're up agin it, mate; we know that well.
There ain't a man among us wouldn't lob
Over the parapit an' charge like 'ell
To end the job.
But this is war; an' discipline - well, lad,
We sez we 'ates it; but we ain't too bad.

'Glory an' gallant scraps is wot I dreamed,
Ragin' around an' smashin' foeman flat;
But war, like other thngs, ain't wot it seems.
So 'stid uv that,
I'm sittin; in me dug-out scrawlin' this,
An' thankin' Gawd when shells go by - an' miss.

'I'm sittin' in me dug-out day be day -
It narks us; but Australia's got a name
Fer doin' little jobs like blokes 'oo play
A clean straight game.
Wiv luck I might see scrappin' 'fore I'm done,
Or go where Craig 'as gone, an' miss the fun.

'But if I dodge, an' keep out uv the rain,
An' don't toss in me alley 'fore we wins;
An' if I lobs back 'ome an' meets the Jane
'Oo sent the skins
These bunnies' overcoats I lives inside -
I'll squeal at 'er, an' run away an' 'ide.

'But, torkin' straight, the Janes 'as done their bit.
I'd like to 'ug the lot, orl on me pat!
They warms us well, the things they've sewed an' knit:
An' more than that
I'd like to tell them dear Australian tarts
The spirit uv it warms Australian 'earts.'

Termarter Sorce

It wasn't kid stakes. I 'ad no crook lurk
To act deceivin', or to treat 'er mean.
I'm old enough to know them games don't work
Not with Doreen.
Besides, deceit ain't in me bag uv tricks.
I got a few; but there is some that sticks.

Sticks in me gizzard. Some blokes sees no wrong
In workin' points, an' thinks it bonzer sport
To trifle with a wife's belief, so long
As they ain't cort.
But, when yeh play the game on dead straight lines,
It 'urts to be accused uv base designs.

It starts this mornin'. I wake with a tooth
That's squirmin' like a basketful uv snakes.
Per'aps I groan a bit, to tell the truth;
An' then she wakes,
An' arsts me wot I'm makin' faces for.
I glare at 'er, an' nurse me achin' jor.

That was no very 'appy mornin' song.
I ain't excusin' my end uv the joke;
But, after that, things seem to go all wrong.
She never spoke
One narsty word; but, while the chops she serves,
'Er shrieks uv silence fair got on me nerves.

She might 'ave arst wot ailed me. Spare me days I
She seen that I was crook. She seen me face
Swelled like a poisoned pup's. She only says,
'Please to say grace.'
I mumbles ... Then, in tones that wakes brute force,
She twitters, 'Will yeh take termarter sorce?'

I could n't eat no breakfast. Just the sight
Uv sweet things give me tooth a new, worse ache.
Sez she: 'You seem to lost yer apetite.
'Ave some seed cake.'
Seed cake! Gawstruth! I'm there in agerny,
An' she, 'oo swore to love, sits mockin' me.

At last, when our small son gits orf to school,
I goes an' sits down sulkin' on a couch.
''Ave you a toothache, Bill?' sez she, quite cool,
'Or jist plain grouch?
Yer face looks funny. P'raps yer gittin' fat.'
I glare at 'er an' answer, 'Huh!' . . like that.

That one word, 'Huh,' said in a certain way,
'Eart-felt an' with intention-it can well
Make the beginnin's uv a perfick day
A perfick 'ell.
So I sez 'Huh! ...... an' then done my ole trick
(A low-down lurk) uv gittin' orf-stage quick.

It was a slap-up day. The wattle's gold
'Ad jist began to peep among the green;
An' dafferdils, commencin' to unfold,
They make the scene
A pitcher that - 'Struth! 'Ow that tooth did ache!
An', cravin' symperthy, I git - seed cake!

It was a bonzer day! The thrush's song
Rose like a nymn. A touch uv queer remorse
Gits me fer 'arf-a-mo', then goes all wrong.
Ter-marter sorce!
Women don't understand, it's all too plain.
Termarter sorce, she sez, an' me in pain!

I dunno 'ow the mornin' muddled through.
That naggin' tooth was gittin' reel red-'ot.
I 'ad a 'arf a dozen things to do,
An' slummed the lot.
Then, jist before I goes fer mornin' tea,
I start another row with Wally Free.

I tells 'im if that fence ain't mended - now
I'll summons 'im. But 'e jist stands an' grins.
'E's always grinnin'. Silly lookin' cow I
An' fer two pins
I'd go acrost an' give 'is eye a poke.
'E's far too 'appy - fer a single bloke.

While I am boilin' 'ot, Doreen conies out
To call me fer me mornin' cup o' tea.
I turn an' answer with a savage shout.
'Dear me!' sez she.
'You seem to be put out this mornin', Bill.
'E'll mend the fence, all right. I'm sure 'e will.'

'Aw! It ain't that,' I sez .... Then I let go,
When once we git inside, an' ease me mind
By tellin' 'er some things she ought to know.
I seemed to find
A lot uv things that 'elped to make me sore;
An' they remind me uv a 'ole lot more.

I tells 'er that no wife, 'oo was n't blind,
Would treat 'er 'usban' like a block uv wood.
I sez I could n't understand 'er mind
Blowed if I could!
I tells 'er that no woman with a brain
An' 'eart would smile to see a man in pain.

I sez some wives - some sorts uv wives, uv course,
If you was lyin' dead, no more to wake,
Would arst yeh if yeh liked termarter sorse,
Or else seed cake.
I sez I don't look for no fond caress,
But symperthy, an' un'erstandin'? Yes!

I sez, sarcastic, that I 'ave no doubt
Some wives might think termarters an' seed cake
Was 'andy sorts uv things to 'ave about
To stop toothache.
But wot I liked in wives, once in a while,
Was commin-sense. (An' 'ere, I seen 'er smile).

An' then I sez: 'Gorbli' me! Ain't I worked
Me fingers to the bone, an' toiled an' slaved?
Some fellers, if their wives 'ad smiled an' sn-drked
An' so be'aved' ......
(She pours the tea, an' 'ands acrost my cup)
'Would lose their tempers, yes, an' smash things up!'

I sez - 0h, other things in that same strain.
I ain't got any fancy to recall.
(That tooth jist 'ad me jumpin' mad with pain)
But through it all,
With them fool speeches bubblin' in me throat,
I saw meself a bleatin', babblin' goat.

I gulps me tea; already 'arf ashamed
Uv more than 'arf I'd said. But is me wife
All 'umble, like a woman 'oo's been blamed?
Not on yer life!
She answers me as if she was me mar.
'There, there,' she sez. 'Wot a big kid you are!'

I gulps more tea; an' tells 'er, anyway,
Me toothache ain't a thing to joke about;
An' I will 'ave to go to town to-day
An' 'ave it out.
At that, she looks at me with 'er calm eyes
Searchin' me through an' through 'fore she replies.

Then, 'Bill,' sez she, 'tell me the honest truth:
Does your tooth ache, or is this an excuse?
Why, yesterd'y you 'ad no achin' tooth .......
Aw, wot's the use!
'Excuse! Wot for?' I yells. But she sez, 'Oh,
If it's that bad I s'pose you'll 'aye to go.'

'Excuse!' I sez. 'I know wot's in yer mind.
Yeh think I can't read wonien's thoughts, I s'pose.
Yeh think that I planned this so I could find
Wot's 'appened Rose.
Yeh think I've come the double, lied an' schemed
About a thing I never even dreamed!

'Yeh think -' 'There, there!' she sez to me again,
Soothin' an' soft, still like a patient mar.
'It's plain you'll never understand, you men,
Wot women are,
Their thorts, their feelin's, 'ow they fear an' doubt.
Why, Bill, it's only you I think about.'

I knoo. Somewhere inside me silly nob
I knoo wot thort it is she won't explain.
She feared, if I got with the old, crook mob
In Spadgers Lane
That I might miss the step. I've never queered
The pitch in eight long years; an' yet she feared.

'I'll promise you - ' I starts. But she sez, 'Don't!
Don't promise wot you might regret some day.
I trust you, Bill; an' well I know you won't
Choose the wrong way.
Women are silly sometimes. Let's ferget
All that was said .... Is that tooth achin' yet?'

I gives it up! ... It's fairly got me beat,
The twists an' turin' uv a wonian's mind.
Nex' thing, she's smilin' up at me so sweet,
So soft an' kind
That I - with things still in me mind to tell -
I melts - jist like I always do. Ah, well!

It was a snodger day! . . . The apple trees
Was white with bloom. All things seemed good to me
(Except that tooth). Then by the fence I sees
Poor Wally Free,
Pretendin' to be happy with 'is plough.
Poor lonely coot! I pity 'im, some'ow.

The Swanks Of Gosh

Come mourn with me for the land of Gosh,
Oh, weep with me for the luckless Glugs
Of the land of Gosh, where the sad seas wash
The patient shores, and the great King Splosh
His sodden sorrow hugs;
Where the fair Queen Tush weeps all the day,
And the Swank, the Swank, the naughty Swank,
The haughty Swank holds sway
The most mendacious, ostentatious,
Spacious Swank holds sway.

'Tis sorrow-swathed, as I know full well,
And garbed in gloom and the weeds of woe,
And vague, so far, is the tale I tell;
But bear with me for the briefest spell,
And surely shall ye know
Of the land of Gosh, and Tush, and Splosh,
And Stodge, the Swank, the foolish Swank,
The mulish Swank of Gosh-
The meretricious, avaricious,
Vicious Swank of Gosh.

Oh, the tall trees bend, and green trees send
A chuckle round the earth,
And the soft winds croon a jeering tune,
And the harsh winds shriek with mirth,
And the wee small birds chirp ribald words
When the Swank walks down the street;
But every Glug takes off his hat,
And whispers humbly, 'Look at that!
Hats off! Hats off to the Glug of rank!
Sir Stodge, the Swank, the Lord High Swank!'
Then the East wind roars a loud guffaw,
And the haughty Swank says, 'Haw!'

His brain is dull, and his mind is dense,
And his lack of saving wit complete;
But most amazingly immense
Is his inane self-confidence
And his innate conceit.
But every Glug, and great King Splosh
Bowed to Sir Stodge, the fuddled Swank,
The muddled Swank of Gosh
The engineering, peeping, peering,
Sneering Swank of Gosh.

In Gosh, sad Gosh, where the Lord Swank lives,
He holds high rank, and he has much pelf;
And all the well-paid posts he gives
Unto his fawning relatives,
As foolish as himself.
In offices and courts and boards
Are Swanks, and Swanks, ten dozen Swanks,
And cousin Swanks in hordes
Inept and musty, dry and dusty,
Rusty Swanks in hordes.

The clouds so soft, that sail aloft,
Weep laughing tears of rain;
The blue sky spread high overhead
Peeps thro' in mild disdain.
All nature laughs and jeers and chaffs
When the Swank goes out to walk;
But every Glug bows low his head,
And says in tones surcharged with dread,
'Bow low, bow low, Glugs lean, Glugs fat!'
But the North wind snatches off his hat,
And flings it high, and shrieks to see
His ruffled dignity.

They lurk in every Gov'ment lair,
'Mid docket dull and dusty file,
Solemnly squat in an easy chair,
Penning a minute of rare hot air
In departmental style.
In every office, on every floor
Are Swanks, and Swanks, distracting Swanks,
And Acting-Swanks a score,
And coldly distant, sub-assistant
Under-Swanks galore.

In peaceful days when the countryside
Poured wealth to Gosh, and the skies were blue,
The great King Splosh no fault espied,
And seemed entirely satisfied
With Swanks who muddled thro'.
But when they fell on seasons bad,
Oh, then the Swanks, the bustled Swanks,
The hustled Swanks went mad
The minute-writing, nation-blighting,
Skiting Swanks went mad.

The tall trees sway like boys at play,
And mock him when he grieves,
As one by one, in laughing fun,
They pelt him with their leaves.
And the gay green trees joke to the breeze,
As the Swank struts proudly by;
But every Glug, with reverence,
Pays homage to his pride immense
A homage deep to lofty rank
The Swank! The Swank! The pompous Swank!
But the wind-borne leaves await their chance
And round him gaily dance.

Now, trouble came to the land of Gosh:
The fear of battle, and anxious days;
And the Swanks were called to the great King Splosh,
Who said that their system would not wash,
And ordered other ways.
Then the Lord High Swank stretched forth a paw,
And penned a minute re the law,
And the Swanks, the Swanks, the other Swanks,
The brother Swanks said, 'Haw!'
These keen, resourceful, unremorseful,
Forceful Swanks said, 'Haw!'

Then Splosh, the king, in a royal rage,
He smote his throne as he thundered, 'Bosh!
In the whole wide land is there not one sage
With a cool, clear brain, who'll straight engage
To sweep the Swanks from Gosh?'
But the Lord High Stodge, from where he stood,
Cried, 'Barley! . . . Guard your livelihood!'
And, quick as light, the teeming Swanks,
The scheming Swanks touched wood.
Sages, plainly, labour vainly
When the Swanks touch wood.

The stealthy cats that grace the mats
Before the doors of Gosh,
Smile wide with scorn each sunny morn;
And, as they take their wash,
A sly grimace o'erspreads each face
As the Swank struts forth to court.
But every Glug casts down his eyes,
And mutters, 'Ain't 'is 'at a size!
For such a sight our gods we thank.
Sir Stodge, the Swank! The noble Swank!'
But the West wind tweaks his nose in sport;
And the Swank struts into court.

Then roared the King with a rage intense,
'Oh, who can cope with their magic tricks?'
But the Lord High Swank skipped nimbly hence,
And hid him safe behind the fence
Of Regulation VI.
And under Section Four Eight 0
The Swanks, the Swanks, dim forms of Swanks,
The swarms of Swanks lay low
These most tenacious, perspicacious,
Spacious Swanks lay low.

Cried the King of Gosh, 'They shall not escape!
Am I set at naught by a crazed buffoon?'
But in fifty fathoms of thin red tape
The Lord Swank swaddled his portly shape,
Like a large, insane cocoon.
Then round and round and round and round.
The Swanks, the Swanks, the whirling Swanks,
The twirling Swanks they wound
The swathed and swaddled, molly-coddled
Swanks inanely wound.

Each insect thing that comes in Spring
To gladden this sad earth,
It flits and whirls and pipes and skirls,
It chirps in mocking mirth
A merry song the whole day long
To see the Swank abroad.
But every Glug, whoe'er he be,
Salutes, with grave humility
And deference to noble rank,
The Swank, the Swank, the swollen Swank;
But the South wind blows his clothes awry,
And flings dust in his eye.

So trouble stayed in the land of Gosh;
And the futile Glugs could only gape,
While the Lord High Swank still ruled King Splosh
With laws of blither and rules of bosh,
From out his lair of tape.
And in cocoons that mocked the Glug
The Swanks, the Swanks, the under-Swanks,
The dunder Swanks lay snug.
These most politic, parasitic,
Critic Swanks lay snug.

Then mourn with me for a luckless land,
Oh, weep with me for the slaves of tape!
Where the Lord High Swank still held command,
And wrote new rules in a fair round hand,
And the Glugs saw no escape;
Where tape entwined all Gluggish things,
And the Swank, the Swank, the grievous Swank,
The devious Swank pulled strings
The perspicacious, contumacious
Swank held all the strings.

The blooms that grow, and, in a row,
Peep o'er each garden fence,
They nod and smile to note his style
Of ponderous pretence;
Each roving bee has fits of glee
When the Swank goes by that way.
But every Glug, he makes his bow,
And says, 'Just watch him! Watch him now!
He must have thousands in the bank!
The Swank! The Swank! The holy Swank!'
But the wild winds snatch his kerchief out,
And buffet him about.

The Stones Of Gosh

Now, here is a tale of the Glugs of Gosh,
In the end of the year umteen;
Of the Glugs of Gosh and their great King Splosh,
And Tush, his virtuous Queen.
And here is a tale of the Oglike Ogs,
In their neighbouring land of Podge;
Of their sayings and doings and plottings and brewings,
And something about Sir Stodge.
Wise to profundity,
Stout to rotundity,
That was the Knight Sir Stodge.

Oh, the King was rich, and the Queen was fair,
And they made a very respectable pair.
And whenever a Glug in that peaceful land,
Did anything no one could understand
The Knight, Sir Stodge, he looked in a book,
And charged that Glug with a crime called Crook.
And the great Judge Fudge, who wore for a hat
The skin of a female tortoise-shell cat,
He fined that Glug for his actions rash,
And frequently asked to be paid in cash.
Then every Glug went home to rest
With his head in a bag and his toes to the west;
For they knew it was best,
Since their grandpas slept with their toes to the west.

But all of the tale that is so far told
Has nothing whatever to do
With the Ogs of Podge, and their crafty dodge,
And the trade in pickles and glue.
To trade with the Glugs came the Ogs to Gosh,
And they said in the mildest of tones,
'We'll sell you pianers and pickels and spanners
For seventeen shiploads of stones
Smooth 'uns or nobbly 'uns,
Firm 'uns or wobbly 'uns,
All that we ask is stones.'

And the King said, 'What?' and the Queen said, 'Why,
That is awfully cheap to the things I buy!
That grocer of ours in the light brown hat
Asks two-and-eleven for pickles like that!'
But a Glug stood up with a wart on his nose,
And he cried, 'Your Majesties! Ogs is foes!'
But the Glugs cried, 'Peace! Will you hold your jaw!
How did our grandpas fashion the law?'
Said the Knight, Sir Stodge, as he opened a book,
'If the goods were cheap then the goods they took.'
So they fined the Glug with the wart on his nose
For wearing a wart with his everyday clothes.
And the goods were brought home through a Glug named Jones;
And the Ogs went home with their loads of stones,
Which they landed with glee in the land of Podge.
Do you notice the dodge?
Not yet? Well, no more did the Knight, Sir Stodge.

In the following Summer the Ogs came back
With a cargo of eight-day clocks,
And hand-painted screens, and sewing machines,
And mangles, and scissors, and socks.
And they said, 'For these excellent things we bring
We are ready to take more stones;
And in bricks or road-metal for goods you will settle
Indented by your Mister Jones.'
Cried the Glugs praisingly:
'Why, how amazingly
Smart of industrious Jones!'

And the King said, 'Hum,' and the Queen said, 'Oo!
That curtain! What a bee-ootiful blue!'
But a Glug stood up with some very large ears,
And said, 'There is more in this thing than appears!
So we ought to be taxing these goods of the Ogs,
Or our industry soon will be gone to the dogs.'
And the King said, 'Bosh! You're un-Gluggish and rude!'
And the Queen said, 'What an absurd attitude!'
Then the Glugs cried, 'Down with political quacks!
How did our grandpas look at a tax?'
So the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book.
'No tax,' said he, 'wherever I look.'
Then they fined the Glug with the prominent ears
For being old-fashioned by several years;
And the Ogs went home with the stones, full-steam.
Do you notice the scheme?
Not yet? Nor did the Glugs in their dreamiest dreams.

Then every month to the land of the Gosh
The Ogs they continued to come,
With buttons and hooks and medical books
And rotary engines and rum,
Large cases with labels, occasional tables,
Hair tonic and fiddles and 'phones;
And the Glugs, while copncealing their joy in the dealing,
Paid promptly in nothing but stones.
Why, it was screamingly
Laughable, seemingly
Asking for nothing but stones!

And the King said, 'Haw!' and the Queen said, 'Oh!
Our drawing-room now is a heavenly show
Of large overmantels and whatnots and chairs,
And a statue of Splosh at the head of the stairs.'
But a Glug stood up with a cast in his eye,
And he said, 'Far too many baubles we buy;
With all the Gosh factories closing their doors,
And importers' warehouses lining our shores.'
But the Glugs cried, 'Down with such meddlesome fools!
What did our grandpas lay down in their rules?'
And the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book:
'To cheapness,' he said, 'was the road they took.'
Then every Glug who was not too fat
Turned seventeen handsprings, and jumped on his hat.
And they fined the Glug with the cast in his eye
For looking two ways at the tenth of July,
And for having no visible Precedent, which
Is a crime in the poor and a fault in the rich.
And the Glugs cried 'Strooth!' whihc is Gluggish, you know,
For a phrase that, in English, is charmingly low.
Are you grasping it? No?
Well, we haven't got very much farther to go.

Now it chanced one day, in the middle of May,
There came to the great King Splosh
A policeman who said, while scratching his head:
'There isn't a stone in Gosh
To throw at a dog; for the crafty Og,
Last Saturday week, at one,
Took our last blue-metal in order to settle
A bill for a toy pop-gun.'
Said the King, jokingly:
'Why, how provokingly
Weird! But we have the gun.'

And the King said: 'Well, we are stony broke!'
But the Queen couldn't see it was much of a joke.
And she said: 'If the metal's all used up,
Pray what of the costume I want for the Cup?
It all seems so dreadfully simple to me.
The stones? Why import them from over the sea!'
But a Glug stood up with a mole on his chin,
And he said, with a most diabolical grin:
'Your Majesties, down in the country of Podge
A spy has unravelled a very cute dodge;
And the Ogs are determined to wage a war
On the Glugs next Friday, at half-past four!'
Then the Glugs all cried in a terrible fright:
'How did our grandpas manage a fight?'
And the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened a book,
And he read: 'Some very large stones they took
And flung at the foe with exceeding force;
Which was very effective, though rude, of course.'
And, lo, with sorrowful wails and moans,
The Glugs cried: 'Where, oh, where are the stones?'
And some rushed north, and a few ran west,
Seeking the substitutes seeming best.
And they gathered the pillows and cushions and rugs
From the homes of the rich and the middle-class Glugs.
And a hasty message they managed to send
Craving the loan of some bricks from a friend.
Do you now comprehend?
Well, hold on at the curve, for we're nearing the end.

On Friday exactly at half-past four
Came the Ogs with a warlike glee;
And the first of their stones hit poor Mr. Jones,
The Captain of Industry.
Then a pebble of Podge took the Knight, Sir Stodge,
In the pit of his convex vest.
He muttered 'Un-Gluggish!' His heart grew sluggish,
He solemnly sank to rest,
'Tis inconceivable
Hardly believable
Yet he was sent to rest.

And the King said 'Ouch!' and the Queen said 'Oo!
My bee-ootiful drawing-room! What shall I do?'
But the Oglike Ogs they hurled great rocks
Through the works of the wonderful eight-day clocks
They had sold to the Glugs but a month before
Which is very absurd, but, of course, it's war.
And the Glugs cried: 'What would our grandpas do
If they hadn't the stones that they one time threw?'
But the Knight, Sir Stodge, and his mystic book
Oblivious slept in a graveyard nook.

The Rhymes Of Sym

Nobody knew why it should be so;
Nobody knew or wanted to know.
It might have been checked had but someone dared
To trace its beginnings; but nobody cared.
But 'twas clear to the wise that the Glugs of those days
Were crazed beyond reason concerning a craze.

They would pass a thing by for a week or a year,
With an air apathetic, or maybe a sneer:
Some ev'ryday thing, like a crime or a creed,
A mode or a movement, and pay it small heed,
Till Somebody started to laud it aloud;
Then all but the Nobodies followed the crowd.

Thus, Sym was a craze; tho', to give him his due,
He would rather have strayed from the popular view.
But once the Glugs had him they held him so tight
That he could not be nobody, try as he might.
He had to be Somebody, so they decreed.
For Craze is an appetite, governed by Greed.

So on Saturday week to the Great Market Square
Came every Glug who could rake up his fare.
They came from the suburbs, they came from the town,
There came from the country Glugs bearded and brown,
Rich Glugs, with cigars, all well-tailored and stout,
Jostled commonplace Glugs who dropped aitches about.

There were gushing Glug maids, well aware of their charms,
And stern, massive matrons with babes in their arms.
There were querulous dames who complained of the 'squash,'
The pushing and squeezing; for, briefly, all Gosh,
With its aunt and its wife, stood agape in the ranks
Excepting Sir Stodge and his satellite Swanks.

The Mayor of Quog took the chair for the day;
And he made them a speech, and he ventured to say
That a Glug was a Glug, and the Cause they held dear
Was a very dear Cause. And the Glugs said, 'Hear, hear.'
Then Sym took the stage to a round of applause
From thousands who suddenly found they'd a Cause.

We strive together in life's crowded mart,
Keen-eyed, with clutching hands to over-reach.
We scheme, we lie, we play the selfish part,
Masking our lust for gain with gentle speech;
And masking too - O pity ignorance!
Our very selves behind a careless glance.

Ah, foolish brothers, seeking e'er in vain
The one dear gift that liesso near at hand;
Hoping to barter gold we meanly gain
For that the poorest beggar in the land
Holds for his own, to hoard while yet he spends;
Seeking fresh treasure in the hearts of friends.

We preach; yet do we deem it worldly-wise
To count unbounded brother-love a shame,
So, ban the brother-look from out our eyes,
Lest sparks of sympathy be fanned to flame.
We smile; and yet withhold, in secret fear,
The word so hard to speak, so sweet to hear -

The Open Sesame to meanest hearts,
The magic word, to which stern eyes grow soft,
And crafty faces, that the cruel marts
Have seared and scored, turn gentle - Nay, how oft
It trembles on the lip to die unppoke,
And dawning love is stifled with a joke.

Nay, brothers, look about your world to-day:
A world to you so drab, so commonplace
The flowers still are blooming by the way,
As blossom smiles upon the sternest face.
In everv hour is born some thought of love;
In every heart is hid some treasure-trove.

With a modified clapping and stamping of feet
The Glugs mildly cheered him, as Sym took his seat.
But some said 'twas clever, and some said 'twas grand
More especially those who did not understand.
And some said, with frowns, tho' the words sounded plain,
Yet it had a deep meaning they craved to explain.

But the Mayor said: Silence! He wished to observe
That a Glug was a Glug; and in wishing to serve
This glorious Cause, which they'd asked him to lead,
They had proved they were Glugs of the noble old breed
That made Gosh what it was . . . and he'd ask the police
To remove that small boy while they heard the next piece.

'Now come,' said the Devil, he said to me,
With his swart face all a-grin,
'This day, ere ever the clock strikes three,
Shall you sin your darling sin.
For I've wagered a crown with Beelzebub,
Down there at the Gentlemen's Brimstone Club,
I shall tempt you once, I shall tempt you twice,
Yet thrice shall you fall ere I tempt you thrice.'

'Begone, base Devil!' I made reply -
'Begone with your fiendish grin!
How hope you to profit by such as I?
For I have no darling sin.
But many there be, and I know them well,
All foul with sinning and ripe for Hell.
And I name no names, but the whole world knows
That I am never of such as those.'

'How nowt' said the Devil. 'I'll spread my net,
And I vow I'll gather you in!
By this and by that shall I win my bet,
And you shall sin the sin!
Come, fill up a bumper of good red wine,
Your heart shall sing, and your eye shall shine,
You shall know such joy as you never have known.
For the salving of men was the good vine grown.'

'Begone, red Devil!' I made reply.
'Parch shall these lips of mine,
And my tongue shall shrink, and my throat go dry,
Ere ever I taste your wine!
But greet you shall, as I know full well,
A tipsy score of my friends in Hell.
And I name no names, but the whole world wots
Most of my fellows are drunken sots.'

'Ah, ha!' said the Devil. 'You scorn the wine!
Thrice shall you sin, I say,
To win me a crown from a friend of mine,
Ere three o' the clock this day.
Are you calling to mind some lady fair?
And is she a wife or a maiden rare?
'Twere folly to shackle young love, hot Youth;
And stolen kisses are sweet, forsooth!'

'Begone, foul Devil!' I made reply;
'For never in all my life
Have I looked on a woman with lustful eye,
Be she maid, or widow, or wife.
But my brothers! Alas! I am scandalized
By their evil passions so ill disguised.
And I name no names, but my thanks I give
That I loathe the lives my fellow-men live.'

'Ho, ho!' roared the Devil in fiendish glee.
''Tis a silver crown I win!
Thrice have you fallen! 0 Pharisee,
You have sinned your darling sin!'
'But, nay,' said I; 'and I scorn your lure.
I have sinned no sin, and my heart is pure.
Come, show me a sign of the sin you see!'
But the Devil was gone . . . and the clock struck three.

With an increase of cheering and waving of hats
While the little boys squealed, and made noises like cats
The Glugs gave approval to Sym's second rhyme.
And some said 'twas thoughtful, and some said 'twas prime;
And some said 'twas witty, and had a fine end:
More especially those who did not comprehend.

And some said with leers and with nudges and shrugs
That, they mentioned no names, but it hit certain Glugs.
And others remarked, with superior smiles,
While dividing the metrical feet into miles,
That the thing seemed quite simple, without any doubt,
But the anagrams in it would need thinking out.

But the Mayor said, Hush! And he wished to explain
That in leading this Movement he'd nothing to gain.
He was ready to lead, since they trusted him so;
And, wherever he led he was sure Glugs would go.
And he thanked them again, and craved peace for a time,
While this gifted young man read his third and last rhyme.

(To sing you a song and a sensible song is a worthy and excellent thing;
But how could I sing you that sort of a song, if there's never a song to sing?)
At ten to the tick, by the kitchen clock, I marked him blundering by,
With his eyes astare, and his rumpled hair, and his hat cocked over his eye.
Blind, in his pride, to his shoes untied, he went with a swift jig-jog,
Off on the quest, with a strange unrest, hunting the Feasible Dog.
And this is the song, as he dashed along, that he sang with a swaggering swing
(Now how had I heard him singing a song if he hadn't a song to sing?)

'I've found the authentic, identical beast!
The Feasible Dog, and the terror of Gosh!
I know by the prowl of him.
Hark to the growl of him!
Heralding death to the subjects of Splosh.
Oh, look at him glaring and staring, by thunder!
Now each for himself, and the weakest goes under!

'Beware this injurious, furious brute;
He's ready to rend you with tooth and with claw.
Tho' 'tis incredible,
Anything edible
Disappears suddenly into his maw:
Into his cavernous inner interior
Vanishes evrything strictly superior.'

He calls it 'Woman,' he calls it 'Wine,' he calls it 'Devils' and 'Dice';
He calls it 'Surfing' and 'Sunday Golf' and names that are not so nice.
But whatever he calls it-'Morals' or 'Mirth'-he is on with the hunt right quick
For his sorrow he'd hug like a gloomy Gllig if he hadn't a dog to kick.
So any old night, if the stars are right, vou will find him, hot on the trail
Of a feasible dog and a teasable dog, with a can to tie to his tail.
And the song that he roars to the shuddering stars is a worthy and excellent thing.
(Yet how could you hear him singing a song if there wasn't a song to sing?)

'I've watched his abdominous, ominous shape
Abroad in the land while the nation has slept,
Marked his satanical
Methods tyrannical;
Rigorous, vigorous vigil I kept.
Good gracious! Voracious is hardly the name for it!
Yet we have only our blindness to blame for it.

'My dear, I've autoptical, optical proof
That he's prowling and growling at large in the land.
Hear his pestiferous
Clamour vociferous,
Gurgles and groans of the beastliest brand.
Some may regard his contortions as comical.
But I've the proof that his game's gastronomical.

'Beware this obstreperous, leprous beast -
A treacherous wretch, for I know him of old.
I'm on the track of him,
Close at the back of him,
And I'm aware his ambitions are bold;
For he's yearning and burning to snare the superior
Into his roomy and gloomy interior.'

Such a shouting and yelling of hearty Bravoes,
Such a craning of necks and a standing on toes
Seemed to leave ne'er a doubt that the Tinker's last rhyme
Had now won him repute 'mid the Glugs for all time.
And they all said the rhyme was the grandest they'd heard:
More especially those who had not caught a word.

But the Mayor said: Peace! And he stood, without fear,
As the leader of all to whom Justice was dear.
For the Tinker had rhymed, as the Prophet foretold,
And a light was let in on the errors of old.
For in every line, and in every verse
Was the proof that Sir Stodge was a traitor, and worse!

Sir Stodge (said the Mayor), must go from his place;
And the Swanks, one and all, were a standing disgrace!
For the influence won o'er a weak, foolish king
Was a menace to Gosh, and a scandalous thing!
'And now,' said the Mayor, 'I stand here to-day
As your leader and friend.' And the Glugs said, 'Hooray!'

Then they went to their homes in the suburbs and town;
To their farms went the Glugs who were bearded and brown.
Portly Glugs with cigars went to dine at their clubs,
While illiterate Glugs had one more at the pubs.
And each household in Gosh sat and talked half the night
Of the wonderful day, and the imminent fight.

Forgetting the rhymer, forgetting his rhymes,
They talked of Sir Stodge and his numerous crimes.
There was hardly a C3lug in the whole land of Gosh
Who'd a lenient word to put in for King Splosh.
One and all, to the mangiest, surliest dog,
Were quite eager to bark for his Worship of Quog.

Forgotten, unnoticed, Sym wended his way
To his lodging in Gosh at the close of the day.
And 'twas there, to his friend and companion of years
To his little red dog with the funny prick ears
That he poured out his woe; seeking nothing to hide;
And the little dog listened, his head on one side.

'O you little red dog, you are weary as I.
It is days, it is months since we saw the blue sky.
And it seems weary years since we sniffed at the breeze
As it hms thro' the hedges and sings in the trees.
These we know and we love. But this city holds fears,
O my friend of the road, with the funny prick ears.
And for what me we hope from his Worship of Quog?'
'Oh, and a bone, and a kick,' said the little red dog.