Gardeners Grouch

There's a looper caterpillar in my lupins,
There are weevils weaving strands about my stocks,
There are throngs of thieving thrips
On my seedlings and my slips,
And the hoppers hop around my hollyhocks.
While the aphis eats my early antirrhinums,
All oblivious to the dreadful damage done,
And the jassids, jazzing gaily
Round dead jonquils, jar me daily ....
Yet I'd thought to take up gardening 'just for fun.'

I have blown 'em with a bellows filled with sulphur;
I've assaulted 'em with arsenate of lead;
I have prayed a vengeful prayer
As I sprayed 'em with a sprayer;
But the cross-grained little cuses won't stay dead!
I have bathed 'em with enough benzole emulsion
And deadly drugs to dropp them in their tracks;
Then I vainly sought their slaughter
With a stong tobacco water ....
And I'd thought to take up gardening 'to relax.'

Now the strange, unlovely scent of lime-and-sulphur
Outvies the sweet bouquet of bud and bloom.
And the smell of Bordeaux mixture
On my person is a fixture;
So my wife won't let me in our drawing room.
Dark odors hang about herbaceous borders
Where I seek the stealthy sluglet after dark.
But my garden has undone me:
Even little children shun me ....
And I'd thought to take up gardening 'for a lark.'

In A Forest Garden: A Promise Of Spring

Spring surely must be near. High over head
The kind blue heavens bend to timbers tall;
And here, this morning, is the picture spread
That I have learned to love the best of all.
I hear Flame Robin call
His early love-song. Winter's might is sped;
And young crows now begin to fleck with red
This great green, living wall.

Picture of promise, that I count the best
Of many a fair familiar Bushland scene;
Lifting o'er all, the far mount's sunlit crest
Looks down where silver wattles lightly screen
Blue smoke, that peeps between
Their tall tops, from some settler's hidden nest
Looks down on golden wattles closely pressed
To blackwood's luscious green.

Before the dovecote, mirrored in the pond,
A veil diaphanous of drifting mist
Makes many a nimbus for grey gums beyond
Whose gaunt, grey limbs a mountain sun has kissed
To palest amethyst.
Now, stepping very daintily, with fond,
Soft cooings, fantails on the lawn respond,
To Spring, the amorist.

From the deep forest, on the clean crisp air,
The bushman's axe-blows echo sharply clear;
A soft cloud's tattered fleece drifts idly where
Glows azure hope. Impatient to appear
Springs now full many a spear
Of marching daffodils. Shorn of cold care,
The joyous bush birds vie with flutings rare.
Spring surely must be near.

Her Majesty The Rose

Here in my garden at the long day's close
I sing again her Majesty the Rose.
The Rose who can with magic most complete
Bring worshippers again about her feet
Forsaking other loves, who, thro' the year
Had won them by sheer beauty, shining clear.
Now, where the Queen beside the trellis grows,
Courtiers acclaim, 'Her Majesty the Rose!'

The Rhododendron by her side appears
With all that magic quality of tears;
Patrician truly, yet still lacking, she,
That touch of rare imperial majesty.
Viola, violet worship at her feet;
Proudly the flaunting poppy would compete,
Yet fails, for all her striving, to disclose
The grace that guards her Majesty the Rose.

Oh, we have walked 'mid many lovely things
In lovely gardens - walked where Lilac swings
Her jewelled censers, wreathed in wondrous scent;
Where Gladiolus, giving great content,
Holds up her prideful head to so outshine
The meeker charm of Phlox and Columbine.
And yet, how soon, how swift their threldom goes
When once we greet her Majesty the Rose.

City of Roses, herein lies your wealth
This beauty, stealing in, almost by stealth
As garden after garden springs from earth
To bless the gardener with fresh beauty's birth.
A gift most grand, a miracle to see
Of rich content and meet prosperity
Wealth dwells in beauty, as each liegeman knows
Who bows before her Majesty the Rose.

Song Of Insane Gardener

Oh, I dance upon the lawn in the cold, white dawn,
And I gloat upon the corpses of a countless million slain;
Where the frost about my feet spreads its winter winding sheet
There I chuckle and I chortle as I chant my mad refrain;
'Lime and sulphur, Paris green, arsenate of lead,
Benzole couldn't kill 'em; but they're dead, dead, dead.'

Men have said I went insane when the Summer brought its bane:
Beetle, bug, and butterfly, weevil, wog and worm,
And a thousand million thrips with my garden came to grips
Plus a plague of things that fly and creep and crawl and squirm.
Lime and sulphur, Paris green, arsenate of lead,
They sneered at 'em, and leered at 'em, and gaily gorged ahead.

They fell upon my fancy phlox, hyacinths and hollyhocks;
Amaryllis, antirrhinum, lupin, lily, all were lost.
All my garden's vanished glory now remained a sorry story,
While, dismayed, I sprayed and sprayed and reckoned not the cost.
Lime and sulphur, Paris green, arsenate of lead -
Vain were these till nights afreeze dire destruction spread.

Lifeless lie the pupa cases, larvae leave no least lone traces.
Apphis eggs (if there be any) are a pest now haply past.
With a mad song in my throat, in the dawn I dance, I gloat;
For my eveil days have ended, and revenge is here at last.
Vain the Paris green, the sulphur; vain the arsenate of lead;
Fourteen frosty nights have finsihed all the olden dread.

So I dance upon the lawn in the cold, white dawn,
And I chortle o'er cadavers of a countless million slain.
Men may moan and deem it sad, vowing that I am as mad
As a hatter. what's it matter? Join my maniac's refrain:
'Lime and sulphur, Paris green, arsenate of lead,
Benzole couldn't kill 'em; but they're dead, dead, dead.'

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.

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