The Pallid Cuckoo

Dolefully and drearily
Come I with the spring;
Wearily and cerily
My threnody I sing.
Hear my drear, discordant note
Sobbing, sobbing in my throat,
Weaving, wailing thro' the wattles
Where the builders are a-wing.

Outcast and ostracized,
Miserable me!
By the feathered world despised,
Chased from tree to tree.
Nought to do the summer thro',
My woeful weird a dree;
Singing, 'Pity, ah, pity,
Miserable me!'

I'm the menace and the warning,
Loafing, labour-shy.
In the harmony of morning
Out of tune am I-
Out of tune and out of work,
Meanly 'mid the leaves I lurk,
Fretfully to sing my sorrow,
Furtively to spy.

Outcast and desolate,
Miserable me!
Earning ever scorn and hate
For my treachery.
Shiftless drone, I grieve alone,
To a mournful key
Singing, 'Sorrow, ah, sorrow!
Miserable me!'

Heigh, ho! But they're talking, talking,
As the cold, hard streets we're walking
Seeking work at any wage,
While the talkers rant and rage.

Says the judge: 'Let's look up section
Ninety-eight in this connection.'
'Right,' replied the advocate.
'But I submit that's out of date.'
'Sir!' the judge says, 'such things border
On contempt. You're out of order!'

Heigh, ho! But a man grows weary,
Time flies; and the outlook's dreary,
What care we for argument
When bread alone can bring content?'

'What,' enquires the advocate,
'Happened in the Roman State,
Back in forty-two B.C.?
Let me read some history -
Fifty pages. 'Tis but just.'
'Well,' the judge sighs, 'if you must.

Heigh, ho! When life is over
Must we rest in fields of clover,
Listening to long, endless chater
On some point that does not matter?
Heigh, ho! I'd rather be
Where they'll find some work for me.

Matriarchy's coming fast,
Matriarchy's here!
Man's supremacy at last
Finds the end is near.
Since the days of troglodytes,
Man, the lord and master,
Sees his olden cherished rights,
Slipping fast and faster.

Daddy has no time to roam,
The household bills he's clearing,
Mummy's left four kids at home
And gone electioneering.
Mummy holds a sacred trust
To talk the public dizzy,
Daddy has to earn a crust,
And, gosh! it keeps him busy.

Once a chattel and a slave,
We grabbed her by her hair
And flung her in our private cave
To do our cooking there.
But, since her olden bonds were loosed,
More liberty she's craving,
And lovely woman rules the roost,
While mankind does the slaving.

Marriage is a full-time job
For Daddy, ever toiling:
He has to work, the poor old swab,
To keep the pot a-boiling.
But Mummy has the time to spare
To right a stricken nation.
Oh, cares! Oh, clubs! Oh, flowing hair!
This is emancipation!

Loving But Leaving (A Sob Song For Conscientious Crooners)

When I led you to the altar
Vows were made, you'll call to mind
Darling wife. Now a defaulter
Must I seem if I'd be kind.
For you know how well I love you,
How I've sought work far and near;
But to keep a roof above you
I must now desert you, dear.

Because I love you I must leave you,
Wife o' mine I cherish so;
Yet the parting should not grieve you
When the whole mad tale you know.
Well you know I don't deceive you.
Since the glad day we were wed
I have loved you; I must leave you
If I'd gain our daily bread.

You will pardon the pretending
When I figure in the courts,
Suits for maintenance defending,
While, with fierce, indignant snorts
The worthy Bench a bitter potion
Serves me with vile names that irk.
Yet you alone will know devotion
Moves me. For they'll give me work.

Because I love you I must leave you;
Joining the absconding band,
That, at last I may relieve you
By the labour of my hand.
If to keep you I seem laggard,
Then my country will be kind.
Sweetheart of a brutal blackguard,
Kiss me. I know you'll understand.

Dad On The Test

I reckon (said Dad) that the country's pests
Is this here wireless an' these here Tests.
Up to the house and around the door,
Stretchin' their ears for to catch the score,
Leavin' the horses down in the crop.
Can you wonder that a farmer goes off pop?

I'm yellin' at Jim or I'm cursin' at Joe
All hours of the day; but it ain't no go -
Leavin' their work and hangin' around
When they think I'm down at the fallow ground;
Sneaking away when I start to rouse,
An' as soon as me back's turned, back to the house.

'Who got Wyatt? Is Sutcliffe out?'
Wot do they care if I rave an' shout?
Bribin' young Bill for to leave his job
To twiddle the switches an' twist the knob.
'Has he made his century? Who's in now?'…
And I bought that machine for the price of a cow!

There's a standin' crop, an' the rain's not far,
An' the price is rotten, but there you are:
As soon as these cricketin' games begin
The farm goes dilly on listenin' in;
Not only the boys an' the harvester crew,
But Mum an' the girls gits dotty too.
An' I reckon (says Dad) that a man's worst pests
Is this here wireless and these here Tests.

The Bulldog Breed

'It's dogged as does it.' They've made it a saying,
A motto to hold in that tight little isle
To hold in their fighting and toiling and playing
And stick to the job with a tight little smile.
As fortune seems bleakest they cut out complaining
They cut out the cackle and dig in their toes
As, inch upon inch, the lost ground they're regaining,
And just how they manage it nobody knows.

'It's dogged as does it.' There's something heroic,
Unseen and unsung in this desperate drive;
With mien of the meek and the mind of a stoic,
They win their chief goal when they seem least alive.
The nations behold, yet can scarcely believe it
As Britain wins thro' to a triumph again;
And, wondering, ask how those dullards achieve it
In that darkest hour when all effort seems vain.

'Its dogged as does it.' No pause for regretting,
For sighing or sobbing she seeks in the fray;
But silently, steadily, all else forgetting,
Stays on the job till the clouds clear away.
Then, rubbing its eyes in incredulous wander,
The world scarce believes such a miracle true
As, snatchin' for victory, e'en from a blunder,
The tight little island again muddles thro'.

I met a lonely Labor man,
Forlorn and pessimistic:
Who'd not yet fallen 'neath the ban
Of leagues antagonistic.
With an expression greatly peeved,
His listless eye beheld me.
'Comrade,' said I. 'Why are you grieved?'
A most prodigious sigh he heaved,
And said: 'They've not expelled me!'

Said he, 'Why should I be passed by
And left alone to suffer.
Ignored, unless it be that I
Am counted as a duffer?
That they should, with especial pains,
Exclude me from expulsion,
When Labor's blowing out its brains,
And worthier men cast off the chains,
I view with marked revulsion.

'Amongst the legion of the left,
Shorn of the last, lorn vestige
Of fame, of all my pals bereft,
What hope have I of prestige?
I watch them going one by one,
The men who Labor's work have done,
While I'm left out of all the fun!
Why am I so ill-fated?'

'Cheer up!' said I. 'For some day hence,
If you work diligently,
You may speak words of common sense,
designed or accident'ly.
Then out you'll go unpon your neck,
Unkless I'm much mistaken.
Else, you'll remain, at ill-luck's beck,
A sailor clinging to a wreck,
By all the crew forsaken.'

The Weary Philosopher

I can conceive no heav'nly bliss
More perfectly complete than this:
To sit and smoke and idly chew
Reflection's cud, with nought to do.
This is, in my pet social plan,
The right of ev'ry honest man.

I can conceive no punishment
For wicked men of evil bent,
Who cheat and lie and drink and rob,
More meet than giving them a job.
This is, to my unruffled mind,
Correction of the sternest kind.

I can conceive a world, in dreams;
A happy, restful world it seems;
A wise, well-ordered globe wherein
Men toil to expiate a sin,
While harmless and right-thinking folk
Have nought to do but sit and smoke.

I ask but to be left alone;
And let the wicked man atone
In graft for having energy
To sin against society.
For, clearly, I commit no crime,
Since I do nothing all the time.

Sins of omssion, you will see,
Don't count in my philosophy
And it is safer far to shirk,
Lest, working, one might find more work.
No man is able to foresee
The far effects of energy.

But in this thoughtless, restless age
What honor is there for the sage?
When Philistines, in manner rude,
Disturb my sleepy solitude,
Where in my peaceful bower I lurk,
And coarsely shout at me: 'Get work!'

The Eastern Shrike-Tit

I am brightly alert and exceedingly pert,
And my livery's easily seen;
With a bright golden breast and a black-and-white crest,
And a back of indefinite green.
A conspicuous bird; and, I give you my word,
I am neither incautious nor shy.
Native wit may be read in the cock of my head
And the glint in my shrewd little eye.

'Ho, knock at the door, knock at the door,'
I shout from the top of a tree.
The Bushland's soprano, but never 'piano':
'Fortissimo' ever for me.
But my repertoire's long; and I've many a song,
When Spring is abroad in the land;
And, whatever my call, 'tis the clearest of all,
And as sweet as the best in the band.

I take life with zest; and, when building my nest,
Then the scientist wakens in me.
I work with a will, with my stout little bill,
And I peel the green bark from a tree.
Then I wait, when that's done, till the heat of the sun
Curls a neat little hook at the end;
So, when woven and bound, there's a home, strong and sonud,
On which any wise bird can depend.

Ho, cheery and bright, with a heart ever light,
I sing to the joy of the day;
And my toil, high above, is a labor of love,
For I turn every task into play.
With my confident air, I am here, I am there,
With my proud little head full of lore,
A melodious note ever swelling my throat,
I'm an optimist. 'Knock at the door!'

The Lingothatweuze

I metabloke in Collun-street
A cove I yustano
When I wus workin Southoss,
A yeerertwo ago.

Sezzi, 'Well, owye kumminup?
I spose yehnomee still?'
'E grabsme betha 'andansiz,
'W'y owsheegoinbil?'

'Well, wotchadoinow?' sizzi,
Alludin' to 'is work.
'I aven gotakop,' sezee,
'At presen'. Wot's your lurk?'

'I'm upagenit pritty bad,
An' lookin' furra job,'
I answers. Then I bytsiz lug:
'Say, kinyeh lensa bob?'

'E anzitover. Then Isiz,
'Well, wotsbekumaflo?'
Referrin' to a tartuviz
But eesiz, 'Idunno.

'She yusta gimmelip,' eesiz,
'Anso we ata paht.
Ixceptin fere mag,' eesiz,
'Shewuza boshtataht.'

'Shewuz orright piece,' sizzi,
'Althoer tongue wus free.'
An then I springsa traponim:
'I seener yestadee.'

'Gostrooth!' sizee. 'I didunno
Thet shewuz ovareer!
I 'ope she izen chasinmee;
Buttit looks bloominqueer.'

'Orright,' sizzi, 'don't loosyerblock,
You'll meeter byunbye.
But she won'trubble you bekos
I've marrider,' sizzi.

'Well, sparemedays, it beatstha band
'Ow these things workeround!
But after wotcha say,' sizzee,
'I'll standja ina pound.'

'A quid's orright,' sizzi, 'but still
I dunnowota think.'
'Don't chewitover now,' sizzee,
'But cumanavadrink.'

We adabeer an' didagit;
An' I've dunnin the Quid.
Ewuza tofter giime it.
I wunnerwye edid?

Autumn Interlude

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week,
To blooms, and to things like these, for Winter bleak
Was shouting loud from the hills, and flinging high
His gossamer net that fills frail Autumn's sky.
So I said goodbye to the bees; for I knew that soon
I should bask no more 'neath the trees on some high noon
And hark to the drowsy hum close overhead.
For the cold and rain must come, now Summer's dead.

So I wallowed a while in woe and wooed unease;
And I rather liked it so; for it seemed to please
Some clamoring inner urge - some need apart,
And I felt self-pity surge, here, in my heart
As I said goodbye to the bees, my tireless friends
Who toil mid the flowers and the trees till daylight ends
Who toil in the sun, yet seem to find no irk,
While I loll in the shade and dream; for I do love work.

Ah, fate and the falling leaf! How dear is woe.
How subtly sweet is grief (Synthetic). So
I said goodbye to the bees; and then I wrote
This crown of threhodies, while in my throat
I choked back many a sob and salt tears spent.
But I felt I'd done my job, and was content.
For I'd penned my piece to the bees - the poet's tosh
Of the Autumn's drear unease. Ah, me! Oh, gosh!

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week....
Then the tempest shook the trees, the swollen creek
Went thundering down to the plain, the wind shrieked past,
And the cold, and the wet, wet rain were here at last....
Then, a hot sun, scorning rules, shone forth, alack!
And those blundering, blithering fools, the bees came back,
Humming a song inance in the rain-washed trees. . . .
Now it's all to do again. . . . Oh, blast the bees!

The Anonymous Altruist

A mysterious cove in the Customs
The boss, so to speak, of the Ban
I have blamed a good deal;
But I wronged him, I feel,
Since I've come to imagine the man.
When he censored some book that I wanted
I sneered at him once, I'll allow;
But, since I've given heed
To the life he must lead,
He has all my sympathy now.

This mysterious cove at the Customs
Is clearly a martyr; that's sure.
On his shoulders he takes
Loads of sin for our sakes,
And he suffers to keep us all pure.
For he reads all the hot stuff imported
And never once threatens to strike,
Tho' he loathes it, no doubt.
Ah, my pity goes out
To him. Think what his mind must be like!

This anonymous cove at the Customs,
This storehouse for horrible stuff,
Is as venal, I'll bet,
As the rest of us, yet,
Does he whine that his job is too tough?
No. He keeps his identity secret,
His knowledge safe under his hat;
And he lurks all alone,
Unsuspected, unknown,
Such as the hangmen and heroes like that.

This incredible cove at the Customs,
His duties are drastic and grim;
For, if human he be,
What is poison to me
Must be equally poison to him.
Yet, undaunted he seizes and scoffs it,
And perhaps throws a fit on the floor,
Doped with all the impure
Of the world's literature.
But he manfully comes up for more.

This untouchable cove at the Customs,
He sneaks to his work in the dawn
And, in some secret lair
Reads the spicy bits there,
With his soul, as it were, all in pawn.
Pity, then, this official absorber
Of rank Rabelaisian lore
Who wallows in sin
To protect us, his kin.
Could an altruist ever do more?

(I address myself to that chosen few - which includes you,
My dear reader - who
Are men of understanding, bright intellect and horse-sense, and to no others).
There comes one little period in the day
When each of us may say,
Away with care and thoughts of toil and stress and pain!'
And, as we journey home in car or tram or train,
Let us leave office worries far behind,
Banish domestic troubles from the mind,
And just go gay.
Once a day,
For just a few brief minutes let us play.
Let us be joyous, and, with quip and quirk,
Forget the drudgery of daily work,
And, from this daily column
Banish the somnolent, the sad, the solemn.
Let us foregather, brothers, and discuss
Eliminating all the fume and fuss
The vagaries of our uncertain weather,
Let us commune together
Upon the steadfastness of politicians,
The fate of nations, and the strange conditions
Imposed on us in this, our daily life . . .
Mayhap, indeed, the wife
Waits home to greet our coming with a tale
Of household woes to turn a strong man pale;
Mayhap, forsooth, our business affairs
Have loaded us all day with heavy cares.
Leave all behind.
Shed, for a while, all trouble from the mind.
Let us
The hot sock
And the short frock:
Of men and modes and manners let us talk,
Giving dull care a cunning miss in baulk.
We WILL be gay!
Just once a day!
We shall consider strikes in merry mood
And even joke about the price of food,
And all that sort of thing.
So it may bring
Joy to our hearts and to our worn minds ease.
I shall do all the talking, if you please,
And if, perchance, you cry, 'How bright!
How clever!'
Why, then, of course - However,
The thread of my discourse is somewhat broken,
But, brothers, I have spoken!

In every little country place, all up and down the land,
From ageing cradles of the race to Never-Never Land
From the towns about the cities to the little towns out back,
There dwells a man of all trades; and he's mostly known as 'Mac.'
He's dwelt there since the Lord knows when and never seems to die;
And everybody, now and then, when his present job is thro' -
And twenty other little jobs that he has still to do.

A plumbing job, a painting job, a bit of fence to mend;
They want him in a hurry; and he's everybody's friend.
Kettle-mending, carpentry, a bit of scrub to cut -
There's nothing comes amiss to him - a door that will not shut,
A safe that will not open, or a roof that hangs askew,
A plough to mend, a pump to tend - there's nothing he can't do.
He has never learned a single trade, yet somehow has the knack;
And, no matter what the trouble is, it's safe to send for 'Mac.'

He never makes much money, yet he never seems to care,
Tho' a dozen jobs await him, he has heaps of time to spare -
A friendly yarn, a cup of tea, a piece of sage advice,
He's willing for them every day, and never counts the price
Of half an hour or half a day spent in a neighbor's need.
He sells his toil, but not his time. For what is time, indeed,
Save for a man to labor in just as he feels inclined?
So, if Smith's job amuses him, Brown's job can lag behind.

In every little country place he's known, or once was known,
Ere the urge that men call Progress claimed the broad earth for its own,
When man found pride in labor and the cunning of his hand,
Nor set a price in money on the arts he could command.
And many a little country place with pride today can show
Some sturdy structure 'built by 'Mac' nigh fifty year ago.'
Oh, they jerry-built their palaces; but many a stout bush shack
Shall stand to honor workmanship of that proud workman, 'Mac.'

Lord, Who, from Thy high position,
See'th the humble politician,
Knoweth all his secret schemes,
Readeth all his inmost dreams,
Hearken, Lord, unto our pleading;
Mark Thou how our hearts are bleeding,
Bleeding for our country's woes,
Caused by our unrighteous foes.

Lord, behold Thy chosen pleading!
Lend Thine aid to frame our laws.
Turn Thou not away unheeding,
Lord, assist the
[Freetra de]

See our enemies around us,
Seeking ever to confound us,
Seeking in their wickedness
E'er to compass our distress.
With the powers of darkness scheming,
And our Sacred Cause blaspheming.
Lord, let not their works abide.
For we know Thou'rt on our side.

We, the saviours of our nation,
Supplicate on bended knee.
Lord, our trust and consolation

Are in
[Forr est,]
[Bill Lyne]

and in Thee.

Lo, as righteous men, we've striven;
But our works are rent and riven
Through our foes' iniquities.
Lord, rebuke our enemies.
Let them be ashamed who doubt us
That they speak vain things about us.
Harken, Lord: bind fast their jaws!
That they may not plead their cause.

Lord, give ear unto our wailing!
Hearken to our prayer devout,
That, our policy prevailing,

We may throw
[the Land-tax]
[Defence bills]
[The Dreadnought]
[Protection out.

Lord, who knoweth politicians,
All their longings and ambitions,
All the secrets of their souls,
O, assist us at the polls.
When we strive in the elections
Hide our many imperfections;
But let searching light expose
All the errors of our foes.

Lord, we work by Thy direction,
And we know Thou will assist
The Holy Cause, at next election,

Of the

[Anti-Protectioni st],
[Labor-socialist] ,
[Land Monopolist.]

As it was in the beginning
It is now
And ever shall be (until we have Elective Ministries)
Dissension, bickering, and waste of time without end.

Work Or Reflection

Now, I always have preserved a certain attitude
Quite definite in reference to Work
('Tis futility concealing
That I have the Weary Feeling
And tendency perennial to shirk)
Still, I always strive to recognise the principle
That earnest, steady toil is ever best;
So that, having recognised it,
Not to say idealised it,
I would fain lay down my pen and take a rest.

For, you understand, to recognise a principle
Is patently a virtue in itself.
After that you have the option,
Of its strenuous adoption,'
Or the placing of it gently on a shelf.
For myself, I'm forced to own that though my theory's
A thing of beauty, even in the rough,
Dearth of cash supplies good reasons,
With the Passing of the seasons,
That this simple recognition's not enough.

For it's Work - Toil - Graft
It's accomplishment that matters in the end;
And the act of recognition,
Even by a politician,
Has not ever yet been known to make or mend.
And the man who holds a lamp-post up without much fret or fuss,
He may 'recognise a principle', and feel quite virtuous.

We have read about the lives, in ancient history,
Of the Doers back in ev'ry age and clime;
And their method of reforming
Was reflecting and performing,
More especially the latter, every time.
But the man who sat and recognised the principles,
And calmly left accomplishment to Fate,
May have won a reputation,
As a saviour of the nation,
But his name has been suppressed, at any rate.

This has clearly been the rule since far antiquity:
Before a thing is done a man must act;
And all progress lay in knowing
What to do, and straightway going
And just working till reform became a fact.
But to stand on distant nodding terms with principle
Has been a most unprofitable trick.
You may scan historic pages,
And right down throughout the ages
Mere reflection never laid a single brick.

For it's Graft - Toil - Work,
It's performance that is needed in the land.
Recognition, by the student,
Of the principle is prudent,
But it never yet has shifted any sand.
And Hell is full of futile folk who scorned the verb 'to do,'
Who 'recognised the principle' but failed to see it through.

The Cab Horses' Story

Now, you wouldn't imagine, to look at me,
That I was a racehorse once.
I have done my mile in - let me see
No matter. I was no dunce.
But you'd not believe me if I told
Of gallops I did in days of old.

I was first in - ah, well! What's the good?
It hurts to recall those days
When I drew from men, as a proud horse should,
Nothing but words of praise:
Oh, the waving hats, and the cheering crowd!
How could a horse help being proud?

My owner was just as proud as I;
I was cuddled and petted and praised.
My fame was great and my price was high,
And every year 'twas raised.
Then I strained a sinew in ninety-nine,
And that's when started my swift decline.

I was turned to grass for a year or so;
Then dragged to an auction sale;
And a country sport gave me a go;
But how could I hope but fail?
'A crock,' said he. And I here began
To learn of the ways of cruel man.

A year I spent as a lady's hack
I was growing old and spent
But she said that the riding hurt her back;
So we parted; and I went
For a while - and it nearly broke my heart
Dragging a greasy butcher's cart.

Then my stifle went. And I, proud horse,
Son of the nobly born,
The haughty king of a city course,
Knew even a butcher's scorn!
So down the ladder I quickly ran;
Till I came to be owned by a bottle man.

And my bed was hard and my food was poor,
And my work was harder still
Dragging a cart from door to door
The slave of Bottle-oh Bill.
Till even he, for a few mean bob,
Sold me into this hateful job.

As I dozed and dreamed in the ranks one day,
Thinking of good days past,
I heard a voice that I knew cry, 'Hey!
Say, cabby, is this horse fast?'
And he looked at me in a way I know.
'Twas the man I'd loved in the long ago.

'Twas my dear, old master of ninety-nine,
And I waited, fair surprised.
But ne'er by a look and ne'er by sign
Did he show he recognised.
Then I heard his words ('twas my last hard knock):
'Why don't you pole-axe the poor old crock?'

And he turned aside to a low-bred mare
That was foaled on some cockie's farm,
And he drove away. What do I care?
I can come to no more harm.
In a knacker's yard I am worth at least
Some pence for a hungry lion's feast.

The Hoary Precedent

Mr. Pericles, M.P.,
In four-sixty-nine B.C.,
Outed Cimon at a general election;
Premier Cimon, thuswise ex-ed,
Was quite naturally vexed,
And he made an angry speech in this connection;
He remarked, in peroration, as he grabbed his coat and hat,
'You're a Socialist, you rotter! You'd no precedent for that!'
Mr. Pericles is dead
Thoroughly, I've heard it said
And his words and acts may now be safely quoted
By our statesmen eminent,
Who on mouldy precedent
(If it's old enough and dead enough) have doted.
For precedent, I'd have you note, is most peculiar stuff;
It's absolutely useless if it isn't dead enough.

In my youth I ever held
Grave respect for all the eld,
And I found in history a strong attraction.
So, whene'er a scheme I planned,
Eagerly the tomes I scanned
That I might find precedent for ev'ry action.
Yet, despite my zealous labour, and the piles of books I read,
In the things that truly mattered I seemed not to forge ahead.

As I nursed my bulging brow,
Said I, 'This is wrong somehow.
Precedent, as we all know, is something holy
Something we should not neglect
To regard with great respect,
And I feel I'm safe in following it solely.
But had we done it from the start - I grasp, at least, this much
We would still be munching apples that we didn't oughter touch.

'Well, this problem is immense!'
In my experience
I reflected. 'How have we progressed, I wonder?'
Then the obvious reply
Hit me squarely in the eye:
It is by ignoring precedent, by thunder!
'Tis men who fix the precedents that lead the nations on
And not the folk who pin their faith to leaders dead and gone.

Mr. Pericles, M.P.,
You're the sort of man for me
(Though I understand you are a Dago alien):
'Spite your moral character,
O'er the Styx I greet you, sir,
You're the sort we need to-day in things Australian.
For we're moved to ask the question of our statesmen now and then:
'Does this job of fixing precedents belong to ancient men?'

Mr. Pericles, deceased,
'Spite his deadness, has increased
My respect for all the world's originators.
If we must have precedents,
My ideal he represents,
For I'm done with copyists and imitators.
And, after this, my reference is Pericles, M.P.,
He acted without precedent; that's precedent for me.

The unsoiled hand, the sleek, black coat,
The senile, ledger-haunted hours,
The knowledge that my freeman's vote
Is humbly cast to please 'the powers,'
A futile spite against the mass,
A small, weak hate of Labor's side,
These privileges of Our Class
I cherish with a puny pride.

The sycophancy of the snob,
The day-long cringe, the life-long fear
That I may lose a steady job
That 'job genteel' I hold so dear
These be the splendid attributes
Of one who yearns to emulate
His master; and all work-soiled brutes
Regards with mean, reflected hate.

Not mine the arrogance of wealth,
No pride in honest labor mine;
But while I still hold life and health
My pet ambition is to shine
A small, pale star that faintly glows
In Fat's impressive firmament,
The while I earn mere food and clothes,
And help the boss to cent. per cent.

Ambition? E'en my timid soul
Dreams of a day when I shall rule;
When I may heckle and control
The trembling slaves of desk and stool;
When I shall be of Fat myself
Who now but dangles at his skirt.
A magnate! Armed with pow'r and pelf.
Meet recompense for eating dirt.

I mark the lowly toiler rage.
'Resist!' he cries. 'Resist! Unite!'
The while I sue for patronage -
A deferential parasite.
Then to my aid comes Pride of Class,
I take my stand beside the Boss.
I earn his praise! .... Although, alas,
His gain, mayhap, will be my loss.

For who would risk a master's ire
That deity who rules my life,
That god who may, in vengeance dire,
Snatch happiness from 'child' and wife?
'Rights!' shout the horny-handed. 'Rights!'
The dolts defy the pow'rs that be.
While I watch through the restless nights
And tremble for my salary.

Oh. what rash madness moves these clods?
E'en my own fellow serfs, alas,
Speak treason 'gainst the money-gods
And turn black traitors to Our Class.
Our Class! That genteel, cultured band,
Well-dressed, respectable, elite
The servile mind, the soft white hand
Patrician class of Collins~street!

Cohorts of Collins-street, arise!
O legions, wake in Finders-land!
Let each pale hero rcognise
His class, and fight with might and mian.
Fight for the master sturdily!
What though his profit be our loss?
And let our watchword ever be,

The sleek, black coat, the unsoiled hand,
The proud assertion of the worm.
Behold the Class! Oh, noble band!
Mild, desk-worn yoemen of 'The Firm.'
With swagger of the over-dressed.
With meekness of the underpaid,
They flout the plaint of the oppressed,
And stare at Liberty, afraid.

The Candid Candidate

Alfred Ebenezer Jackson was a very earnest man,
Who aspired to be a statesman, and he consequently ran
At a general election as the Candid Candidate,
Sworn to tell the truth ungarbled, leaving all the rest to Fate.

Jackson had a firm conviction that the average M.P.
Was not prefectly straightforward as a member ought to be.
'They disguise their actual motives,' Jackson said, 'and so they fail.
I shall leave no false suspicion that I'm sitting on a rail.'

'Fellow men,' quoth Ebenezer, in his first campaign address.
'My desire to gain election is most eager, I confess:
True, some patriotic ardor fills me with its holy fire;
But to get a safe and steady billet is my main desire.

'Now, to put the matter plainly, I've no wish to twist or hedge,
And I'm quite prepared to stand to all the things that I allege.
I aspire to serve Australia in the Big Affairs of State:
To that aim all local interests gladly I'll subordinate.

'I shall give no hasty promise for the sake of votes from you.
Roads and bridges you shall have them when they are your right and due;
But wre this whole country's interest clashes with your local lot,
Then my vote is for Australia and the rest can go to pot!

'I'll not stoop to curry favor for the sake of your back yard,
While the Big Things of the nation call for labor long and hard;
For I'm not of those hard grafters whose chief work is turning coats,
With their thoughts on next election, and their eyes upon your votes.

'Party ties shall never hold me when I hear Australia call,
Through my service to the nation do I seek to stand or fall.
And to talk election piffle in the House, if I be sent
There to work, I'll deem an insult to the folk I represent.

'I shall scheme to drag no railway through the back yard of this State;
Nor on any handy dust-heap in this dashed electorate
Shall I vote to plant a city, while the fact is evident
That abtter site is waiting elsewhere on the continent.

'I am solid for Protection: but my creed I won't abuse
By mean tricks to shift the duty from commodities you use:
Nor shall I denounce with loathing Socialists' experiments
While I howl for State assistance for my own constituents.

'Now, my worthy friends, you know me, and just what I mean to do.
As plain people of Australia I am ev'ry time for you,
With my eyes upon the future and this great land's destiny,
I shall not to 'local interests' sacrifice prosterity.'

Alfred Ebenezer Jackson raised a wild, derisive shout
From 'intelligent electors.' 'Mad!' they said, 'without a doubt.'
And because they knew he meant it - ev'ry work he spoke or wrote
Alfred Ebenezer Jackson did not get a single vote!

Hundreds of 'em for the farmer! Kids of an imported brand;
Thousands of 'em for the country! Lo, the man upon the land
Loud for England's surplus youngster - five whole bob a week, 'tis said;
And their value to the nation stands at many pounds a head.
But the nation never riz 'em.
That 'would tend to Socialism';
So we have to fetch 'em over from the country where they're bred.
Send us kids from good old Britain - sons of men who won't be slaves
From the land where countless paupers seek dishonorable graves
We're prepared to offer for them. Ship them out across the deep,
From that dear old Freetrade country where the cost of labor's cheap.
While, of our unmarried workers
(Married men are costly shirkers)
We will take a meagre hundred at a pound a week and keep.
We can't raise 'em in Australia, where employers by the score
For the bloke without a missus in the labor depôts roar
Ship 'em out! The noble farmer yearns to mould their bright young lives.
Ship 'em young that for a dozen years they may not seek for wives.
When they think of getting married
Maybe they'll regret they tarried
Where the kid-encumbered worker vainly for a billet strives.
We don't want 'em when they're babies, for their raisin' costs a heap.
We don't want 'em when they're married, with their own young broods to keep.
And brakes upon the wheels of progress are such futile folk. Just look
At the bob advertisement. You'll see their chance of work is 'crook.'
Ship 'em out in handy sizes
For the cove that advertises
For the unencumbered couple
' Man to milk and wife to cook.'
Spare our days! Why should we raise 'em? We can get 'em ready-made
From a land where there's a surplus, thanks to good old BULL's Freetrade.
It will save the careful farmer. He can give his man the sack
Costly man who owns a missus and a child or two to whack.
Ship 'em out, he's yearnin' for 'em;
While they're young he'll just adore 'em
Then, when they grow up and marry, someone else can ship 'em back.
Pass in with cheap boy labor - 'badly needed farming hand';
Shps pass out with young Australians seeking work in other lands.
Hurrahs! are loudly sounded for the patriotic bloke
He who perpetrated this unseemly emigration joke.
Cheers for him who brings the kiddy
To a job that's sure and 'stiddy'!
It will balance the outgoing of our workless married folk.
Lo, we want them - want them badly! There is none denies the fact
Kids to populate the country. And behold, our noble act
England of her surplus toilers - we can do with quite a heap.
We can't breed them in the country - boys to plough and boys to reap.
And who says it is surprising
When we're daily advertising
For a hundred men - unmarried - at a pound a week and keep.

You know you ever ARE the nearest
To my fond heart.
Joking apart,
I swear, by all the silly stars above you,
Darling, I love you! ...

I really don't know what more I can say.
But, lest you may
Consider this epistle too brief,
And nurse some silly - some absurd belief
That I'm neglectful. Why,
I'll try
To fill a sheet or two -
To comfort you.
What can I say?
Oh, by the way!
I noticed, somewhere, in the paper lately
That someone named - er - was it Mister Blaitley?
No - Blakeley, I think.
(Another dip of ink.)
This Mr. Blakeley says the Labor Party
Will gladly give support, both full and hearty,
To ANY man who send this person, Hughes
To - well, you know the term that I would use? . . .
Darling, I must fill out a sheet or two.
I know that you
Are not much interested in politics -
(You are so full of such distracting tricks)
And I remember that last time you noted
You said you simply doted
Upon one candidate's absurd moustache.
Dear, you were rash . . . .
Now, let me see, 'twas Brown - No? Smithson, was it?
I recollect the fool lost his deposit.
But, anyhow,
I want to warn you now
Against a repetition of such acts.
Let us get down to facts.
Can you believe -
Can you, my precious pippin, e'er conceive
That I (despite my faults and obvious failings) could -
(No; that's no good.)
But can
You realise that a crowd of sane, honest, intelligent, right-thinking, earnest,
idealistic politicians can evolve a really patriotic plan
(That's getting scientific,
But I am most remarkably prolific)
They evolve a plan
Predicating that any ordinary and, say, unspecified man
(Your pardon! I do not
Refer to Mister Watt)
But do you think they can
With decency declare that ANY MAN
May get then into Office - if he can?
Indubitably, NO!!
The more I go -
However, inter alia,
Think you such men give heed to our Australia?
Think you those burning
Questions waiting on the threshold yearning
To be discussed
Have got them 'fussed'?
No, sweetest, no.
It's just the Game you know.
Think you they're patriotic,
Or just, well, say neurotic?
Think you they take the view
That these shrewd moves advance, say, me and you?
My dear, they don't.
And, while the Party System lasts, they won't.
Those vital questions,
Those statesmanlike suggestions
Regarding - well - why, emigration, say
And some reduction in a member's pay,
That linger on the doormat, palpitating,
Will go on waiting,
While puerile politicians 'play the game.'
Ain't it a shame? . . .
My cabbage! I'd forgotten
You always thought that politics were 'rotten.'
Pardon this letter.
Next time I shall endeavour to do better
If you are bored, old thug, it truly grieves me.
I hope this missive finds you as it leaves me.
So, dear, I'll meet you on the block at six.
And spite all politics,
We'll carry on.

Ladies and gentlemen: I take this opportunity
To introduce myself and mention that, much as we may deplore the fact, we are
essentially an agricultural community
Altho' in our metropolitan centres, millions may live and toil.
Most of us, directly or indirectly, exist by, thro', on and for the soil;
Our outlook is largely directed upon crops, prices, profits and 'The Main Chance,'
So that we rarely discover time or opportunity to glance
At the fine arts and higher culture of this and older lands, and gather unto
ourselves the satisfaction such contemplation lends
Therefore our guides, philosophers, mentors, leaders, teachers, and friends
Declare that, amongst the toilers of our race,
Such contemplation is utterly out of place.
And (altho' this may seem rather funny)
One cannot definitely enjoy 'culchaw' unless one is - now - possessed of
leisure and money.
To encourage it in the Common People is a vain and profitless thing.
Wherefore, I sing:-

The plough's in the furrow,
The cow's at the bail;
We delve and we burrow,
For nought may avail
Save toil thro' the seasons,
Material joy;
These, these be the reasons
For all our employ.

The mute Mona Lisa,
Praxiteles' art,
Such trifles as these are
Things quite, quite apart.
On, on with life's battle;
Wring sweat from the brow.
What's culture to cattle?
What's art to a cow?

To resume, ladies and gentlemen, the more comprehensible form of discourse I
had temporarily forsaken,
Is it not possible that our mentors, censors et al. may be sadly mistaken?
Or, stay, is it conceivable that they would lock and bar our halls of art and
culture at night
Lest the Common People might,
By some strange chance, absorb so much of the capacity for appreciation that
they would, in time, be able to patronise us?
Nay, even to advise us?
On certain aesthetic matters which - Perish the thought! For who would have
the heart
To vulgarise all Art?
For, consider; how were it possible to feel superior
When none remains any longer who, as one comfortably recognises, is inferior.
And so, for evermore,
Bar, bar and bolt the door
Of our Temple which enshrines works for the edification only of superior
Lock, lock and double lock those portals!
Hide from vulgar gaze the treasures that therein lurk -
Except, of course, during those hours when the toilers are at work.
Melbourne, my Melbourne! Never let the souls of thy earthbound people into
the rarer regions take wing!
Wherefore, again, I sing:-

The swine's in his wallow,
Fat porkers are prime;
Then follow, come, follow,
'Tis lamb-tailin' time!
All golden the butter,
There's market for meat;
Tho' Mallee men mutter
Of smut in the wheat.
But 'paintin'' and pitcher'?
(Franz Hals, he was Dutch)
Ah, who grows the richer
For gawping at such?
A 'pitcher' by Carot?
A 'statcher' - all 'nood'?
One fills you with sorrow;
The other is 'rood.'
We toil for men's bodies,
Our minds all a-fog.
What's paintin' to poddies?
What's art to a hog?

A Dirge Of The Morning After

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (wailing dismally):
'Who can deliver us, Lord of our destiny!
Out of the depths comes our passionate cry,
Wrung from the soul of us. Aid for the whole of us!
Tell us, we pray, that our succor is nigh.

'Where is the super-man? Where the deliverer?
Where is the Captain to win us relief
Surcease from sorrowing, respite from borrowing?
Oh, for a philtre to deaden our grief!'

'Patience, 0 populace! Wait for a little while!
Labor shall succor you - cleave to your Jim!
James and the rest of them, sure, are the best of them
Jimmy, the agable, trust ye to him!

'Lo, from the Chosen lures he the capital.
Bright golden, capital! Glorious loans!
Millions and mill-i-ons! Soon 'twill be bill-i-ons!
Patience awhile till he floats 'em.' (Loud groans.)

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (irritably):
'Jim? Oh, be d-d to him. Doors are all slammed to him
Cohen's and Isaac's and old Ikey Mo's.
We would live decently! Up the spout recently
He has shoved everything barring our clothes.

(Again dolefully)
'Who can deliver us? Is there no saviour?
Is there no Chief with a Will and a Plan?
Not in a city-full? Oh, it is pitiful!
The hour it is striking - but where is the man?'

'Cheer up, my countrymen! Here is your Gregory!
Long he!s been shut from the councils of State.
He'll banish care for you; he'll do and dare for you.
Wade is the captain to fashion your fate.

'Long was he languishing, sunk in obscurity;
Now his wise counsel the populace seeks.
He is the man for you; he'll plot and plan for you.
Rest on his Liberal bosom.' (Wild shrieks.)

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (petulantly)
'Out on your Gregory! Visions of beggary
Haunt us whenever we bear of his name.
Labor or Liberal, Jimmy or Gregory.
Wade or McGowen, they're both much the same.

(With increasing anguish):
'Who can deliver us? Who is to win for us
Money at four per cent., five per cent., ten?
In what futurity, out of obscurity,
Shall there arise this great leader of men?'

'Sufferin' Solomon! Vot is dis howl aboudt?
Hary to yer Uncle, he'll tole yer vot's right;
Not more at four per shent. - no, nor at more per shent
Can you get capital! Monish is tight.

'Listen, goot beobles, your beano is finished mit;
Und obligations you neffer can shirk.
Monish vos tight, my tears; dot vos all right, my tears.
Loans vas maturin'. You'll haf to get vork.'

'Work? O preposterous! What are we coming to?
Is there no super-man armed with a scheme
Scheme to win capital? Is there no chap at all
Willing to plan for us? Work! Do we dream?

'Who can deliver us? Who can win ease for us?
Rescue us out of this ocean of debt?
We've come to wreck in it; up to the neck in it
Won't someone help us get out of the wet?'

(With gloomy reiteration):
'Who can deliver us? Who can deliver us?
Are none to pit such desperate elves?
Here or in other State? Oh, the poor Mother State!'....
'Aw, turn it up, an' deliver yerselves.'

A New Damon And Pythias

So, brother, I am out and yu are in.
Farewell, farewell, to all my splendor bright!
Yet, just to know 'tis you, dear Agar Wynne,
Tinges my melancholy with delight.
Indeed, I find it very hard to go;
Yet pleasure surely mingles with my woe.

Ay, you are in, and I am in - the soup!
For me the shades; for you the favored place.
Yet doth it cheer me when my spirits droop
Just to behold yur ever welcome face.
Aside. (But by the gods, just give me half a show,
The merest chance to kick, and out you go!)

Sweet Frazer, though I ill disguise my joy
In winning thus to fame, despite my foes;
It pains me to the heart, my dear old boy,
To think 'tis you whom I must so depose.
Nay, but it brings the hot tears to mine eyes,
To know that you must sink that I may rise.

Agar is in, and Charles is out, you say.
Tis sure a cruel fortune wills it so.
My joy is clouded o'er with grief to-day.
Because, my dear old friend, you have to go.
Aside. (But, give me strength, and I shall scheme and plan
To keep you out for ever, if I can!)

Dear Agar, when I gaze into your eyes,
Those kindly orbs whose depths so well I know,
Nay, I am filled with wonder and surprise
That I did not resign long years ago.
For who is Charles, to hold a place on high,
When such a man as Agar Wynne is by?

Indeed, the sorrow I so lately felt
Has given place to purest joy alone:
For now, at last, discerning Fate has dealt
Bare justice, and you sit upon my throne.
Aside. (But give me half a chance, that's all I crave;
I'll dig with joy your Legislative grave!)

Nay, rare Charles Edward, 'tis your blind regard
For him you love prompts that unselfish speech.
Ah, would that Fate - blind Fate, so doubly hard
Had never placed these sweets within my reach!
If 'twere not for my Party, friend, I'd say,
'Cleave you to office, Charles; I will away.'

Forgive these tears; for mow my joy has flown.
And in its stead comepangs of dull despair.
Ah, could I but contrive, my friend, mine own!
To yield you of my triumph en'en a share!
Aside. (Now, by the Sacred Fuse, you've got the sack
And I'll raise Cain to stop your gettingback.)

Agar! These tears are tears of sorrow rare!
My past neglect of you brings keen regret.

Dear Charles, if you've s kerchief you could spare,
Pray lend it me. Mine own is sopping wet.
Both, aside. (Now, having pulled his leg, I shall retire
And, to confound him, with my friends conspire.)

Exit both, apparently in tears, but eyeing each other furtively from
behind their respective handkerchiefs.
Well, spare my days! Of all the blessed guff!
And if, next week, Wynne's out and Frazer's in.
They'll probably dish up the same old stuff,
While honest men can only stand and grin.
More change! More toil! More worry for our sins!
A plague on all their childish Outs and INs!

Now must we shed the Labor livery,
And learn new manners in the Lib'ral school.
And, mayhap, in a twelve-month we shall be
Once more returned unto the Labor rule.
Oh, that the gods would blast such tricks as these,
And send this land Elective Ministries!

Bell rings. Exit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear friends, I'm Deakin....
No; no mistake,
You're wide awake.
It's ALF that's speakin'...
I wish to make
A few remarks about - Eh? What,
O, no; I'm not
The least bit changed.
It's been arranged -
You understand?
Between these gentlemen and me.
We fused, you see,
For the - er - welfare of the land....
Come, gentlemen! I do insist
I am the same!
I'm DEAKIN, the Protectionist.
And I declare I'm not to blame.
There never has been any change in me.
It's all arranged.... We fused, you see.
No harm to fuse.
And I am certain you'll excuse
Us all, when once you fairly grasp the fact
That this arrangement is a patriot's act.
'Twas neither somersault nor slip;
'Twas statesmanship....
Yes, yes. Joe Cook
And others took
A pledge.
As I allege,
Henceforth to vote Protection to a man....
Well, yes; they ran
Freetrade - some years ago;
But they won't advocate it now. Oh, no!...
I say again I've not changed in the least.
I leave that all to them.
Their love for the - er - tariff has increased.
What? Wobblers? Nay!
Ah, do not blame them, pray!
These gentlemen are neither false nor weak;
But my good friends.
And they will make amends.
A light has broken on them, so to speak.
They're all - er - fiscal converts as it were....
Now, my dear sir!
If you will interject
Time and again,
How can the audience expect
Me to explain?...
I tell you I've NOT changed!
Why, ever since I've been in politics
I've always advocated the - um - er ...
What nonsense! Sir!!
I challenge you to prove my policy
Has ever been... Well, yes,
Yes, I confess
I used to call them names. But, don't you see,
That is a thing of ancient history....
I tell you it has now all been arranged!
And I've not changed!...
O, well, well, I admit
I did abuse them - just a little bit.
'The wreckage of all parties' - That was it.
'Black Labor party' - yes, and 'Tories,' too.
I said that; true.
But can't you see? I ask you, please, to try.
They've changed, not I.
They've had a wash;
They've all been made
Whiter than snow ( I'm sure you understand):
And henceforth Anti-Sosh,
And not Freetrade,
Will be their party brand.
But, to return to my....Eh? Who's that speakin'?
I tell you I am Deakin!
Who dares to say I'm not?
I am the same brave, whole-souled patriot!
Iam! I AM!
if you will interject... O, d--!....
Er - gentlemen...I'd have you understand
We are a band
Of staunch Protectionists. If it appears
A trifle strange
That, after all these years,
These gentlemen should change,
I ask you, gentlemen, to please excuse
The Fuse.
You comprehend? I wave my magic wand,
And they respond
By bowing meekly to my fiscal creed.
Nay, nay! No Greed
For Office caused this unaccustomed sight.
'Twas...Country-love and - er - a Sudden Light.
These friends of mine have all come into line,
And, after this, their fiscal faith is mine -
That is...I mean to say
That mine is theirs until the Judgement Day.
I trust, good people, I have made it plain....
No, no; my friends will never change again....
I tell you, with my hand upon my heart,
They would no more trick me than, for my part, I'd ever do
So false an act, or think of

The Holy Constitution

Read ye here the song as sung
By a chief named, briefly, Ung.
In the days when arguments were manly axes:
'O my people, this my Law
Is without defect or flaw,
And it governs ways and means and rates and taxes.
To amend it were unwise;
And if any tribesman tries,
He will meet with swift unerring retribution.
'Tis omnipotent, infallible, as all may recognise;
In short, it is out Noble Constitution.'

When this Neolithic man
Gave the world his early plan
Of tribal laws to bind his nascent nation,
He opined, with fine conceit,
That his System was complete,
And the acme of all human legislation.
'For all time this Law shall stand!'
He decreed with manner grand
And a splendid disregard for evolution;
And the Tory crowd that followed, bore this tenet in its hand:
'You must never touch the Sacred Constitution.'

So the Party then in power,
To improve the shining hour,
Contracted quite a pleasing little habit:
Safely guarded in their 'right,'
If they fancied aught in sight,
Being 'constitutionally safe,' they'd grab it.
And they told the rank and file,
With a patronising smile,
When the People talked of 'wrongs' and 'persecution,'
'It is very, very sad, and, no doubt, your case is bad;
But we cannot tamper with the Constitution.'

But meat-winners of the day
(Rabid Socialists were they)
By slow degrees arrived at this conclusion:
That the hide-bound Tory joss
Totalled mainly bluff and dross,
And its 'sacredness' was wholly an illusion.
Then with yells and growlings vile,
In their quaint primeval style
They planned a prehistoric revolution;
And with bits of tertiary rock they wrecked the Torries' smile
And, incidentally, the Constitution.

All this happened, as you know,
Quite a long, long time ago;
And the world has since known Greece and Rome and Sparta,
Medes and Persians and such fools
Who were bound by cast-iron rules
Which reminds us of Old England's Magna Charta.
There's no doubt when England pressed
Hard to have her wrongs redressed,
And 'persuaded' John to sign the resolution,
That hard-shell old Tory King thought it quite a shocking thing
To meddle with the Holy constitution.

So on, ever since King John,
As the world moves surely on,
And the People cry for reformation drastic,
You can hear right down the line
E'er the same old Tory whine
Protesting, 'It is most iconoclastic!'
'Tis the same old Tory way,
Same old 'everlasting nay.'
'Tis the same reactionary elocution.
But, who stood for 'Progress' yesterday is 'Retrograde' today;
And we've got to meddle with the Constitution.

While the Fatman waxes fat,
He's content to stop at that;
He will bless the Constitution and defend it;
But whene'er it needs repair.
'Tis the man who works his share
That uprises, patriotic, to amend it.
Oh, it's not the slightest use
When your 'right' becomes 'abuse'.
'Tis the law of legislative evolution
That every Great Reform is won, 'spite arguments abuse
By altering the blessed Constitution.

Gentle Tory, prithee hark
Back to Ung of ages dark,
And defend his blessed code with sandstone axes.
Mayhap in that murky bourne
You'll escape a fate forlorn,
Full of New Protection and Progressive Taxes.
And you won't be sorely missed,
If you fall beneath some fist,
For young Progress shouts for men of execution.
And, as regards reform and such, WE'LL DO JUST AS WE LIST,
For it's Ours, this High and Holy Constitution.

'Stone The Crows'

'Why stone the crows!' 'e sez. 'I like 'er style,
But alwiz, some'ow, women 'ave appeared
Set fer to 'old me orf a 'arf a mile.
I dunno wot's agin me: p'raps me beard.
But, some'ow, when I speak 'em soft they run.
I ain't no ladies' man,' sez Danny Dunn.

'I like 'er style,' 'e sez. 'Wot's 'er name? Rose.
The neatest filly that I ever see.
She'd run in double splendid. But I s'pose,
She'd never 'arness with the likes uv me.
Wot age you tell me? Risin' twenty-nine?
Well, stone the flamin' crows! She'd do me fine.

'I wonder can she milk? Don't look that kind.
But even if she don't I would n't care
Not much. Stone all the crows! I'd 'arf a mind
To 'ave a shave an' 'ang me 'at up there.
But I ain't got the knack uv it, yeh know,
Or I'd been spliced this twenty year ago.'

Ole Danny Dunn 'as been to pay 'is call
An' tell us 'e'll be settlin' down 'ere soon.
'E lobbed in on us sudden, ziff an' all,
An' ain't done nothin' all the afternoon
But lap up tea an' stare pop-eyed at Rose,
'E ain't said nothin' much but 'Stone the crows!'

Now, as I sees 'im orf, down by the gate,
'E's chirpin' love-songs like a nestin' thrush.
Rose 'as 'im by the w'iskers, sure as fate;
Fer Spring 'as sent 'im soft all uv a rush.
'E's got the beans; an' so she's fixed fer life,
If Danny's game to arst 'er fer 'is wife.

An' so me scheme works out all on its own.
I grabbed the notion that day in the train,
When Danny tole me that 'e lived alone.
I reckoned, then, I'd 'ave to use me brain;
But 'ere 'e is, stonin' the crows a treat,
An' keen to sling is pile at Rose's feet.

I'll show 'em! Them 'oo thinks I got no brains
Will crash when Rose is Mrs. Danny Dunn.
Doreen don't need to go to too much pains
To show me that she thinks I've nex' to none,
When I take on a job I don't let go
Until I've fixed it, all sirgarneo.

'Listen,' sez Danny. 'Do yeh think a man
'As any chance? I know I don't dress neat.'
'Sling it!' I sez. 'Don't be a also-ran.
Go in bald-'eaded! Rush 'er orf 'er feet!
They don't know wot they want: women ain't got
No minds, till some strong man shows wot is wot.

'I'll 'elp,' I tells 'im, 'if you play the game.
Don't give 'er time to think. Take 'er be storm.
Many's the lover's bowed 'is 'ead in shame
Becoz 'e was afraid to woo too warm.
Be masterful! Show 'er 'oo's boss! 'Ave grit!
That's wot I done, an' come 'ome on the bit.

'Look at me now. I got a wife wot 'eeds
My lightest wish. Uv course, I ain't unkind;
But I'm boss uv the show, becoz she needs
A man to lean upon, an' guide 'er mind.'
'By gum!' sez Danny; 'but that must be fine.
That's 'ow I'd like to 'ave a wife uv mine.'

I tells 'im there's a dance on Fridee night;
'E must be there, tricked out in nobby clo'es
An' all spruced up. I'll see it fixed up right
So 'e can make the goin' good with Rose.
'I don't dance much,' 'e sez. 'But p'raps me luck's
Changed round; an' stone the crows! I'll chance the ducks!'

So far, ribuck. I'm no back number yet;
Although they treats me as brainless yob.
I may be slow to start; but, don't ferget,
I still got some idears back uv me nob.
An' once I've got Rose wed an' fixed fer life
I might su'prise respeck out uv me wife.

I might, but - Listen. Can you tell me this:
Why am I takin' all these speshul pains,
An' worried lest me plans will go amiss?
Why am I so dead set to use me brains?
Dunno; no more than you; fer, spare me days!
A man's a puzzle to 'imself, some ways.

The Age Of Reason

Whene'er I read some savage tale
Of punishment devised
By tyrants in an olden day,
When serfs were victimised,
I reverently tell myself:
'Thank God, we're civilised!'

Thank God, those idols, grimmer far
Than gods of wood or stone,
Unthinking Hate and brute Revenge,
With all the seeds they've sown,
Are cast to earth, and Reason sits
With Mercy on the throne.

Calm Reason sits upon the throne
And fashions righteous laws,
And in our blessed Age of Light
It ever bids us pause
And, ere we plan the remedy,
Unearth the Primal Cause.

It seeks not, in a brutish rage,
To flog the witless fool;
The rack, the pillory are gone,
The witches' ducking stool;
And Reason builds no gallows for
Heredity's poor tool.

'Reform lies not in punishment!'
So saith the modern sage.
'No remedy for evil holds
Blind Hate or Savage Rage.
The whipping-post, the darkened cell
Are of a darkre age.'

So Reason saith; so Mercy saith;
And, having said, withdraw.
(O brothers in this Noble Age
That there should be a flaw!)
And to the vacant throne there steps
The thing men call the Law.

The Law devised by kings long-dead
And superstitious priests,
Whose code considered but revenge,
With bloody rites and feasts
The ancient Law, bequeathed by men
Scarce risen from the beasts.

But e'en before such kings and priests
Infested our poor earth,
Long ages ere some bleeding wretch
Excited their loud mirth,
A thing, half man, with crooked brain,
It chanced, was given birth.

And lo! this thing begat him sons,
And their sons sons again.
And on and on, till sturdier
And cleaner grew the strain.
Till in the breed, for many an age,
The taint had dormant lain.

For countless ages it, mayhap,
The fatal taint had missed,
Till, in our day, a babe was born
With some strange mental twist.
A thing for all men's sympathy
A foredoomed atavist.

And that he sinned against our code
And harmed a fellow-man
(Lord knows what Nature is about
To work on such a plan!)
Lo, he is seized on by the Law
And placed beneath the ban!

And what has reason now to say,
Chief of our modern gods?
And Mercy? 'Keep the man apart,
But harm not such poor clods?'
'Nay,' saith the Law, 'we'll truss him up
And scourge his back with rods!'

And so they take the last poor son
Of all that tainted host,
And try to exorcise the taint
There at the whipping-post.
This is the Age of Reason, friends!
It is our proudest boast.

And what of those great men on high
Who said this thing should be?
What of the Law's high officers
Who voiced the brute decree?
Shall such ones not become the mark
For scornful obloquy?

Nay, gentle brothers, blame them not
Blame is the whip of fools
For here again we mark in them
Heredity's poor tools,
The eld rings with their sires' demand,
Calling for ducking stools.

And so, when all is said and done,
We end where we began.
We must leave Nature to proceed
With her age-honored plan.
E'en I who speak may be the son
Of some strange-fashioned man.

Because he had a twisted form
A man of old was slain;
They flog him in our Age of Light
For his poor twisted brain;
And, 'spite my words, the chances are
They'll do the same again.

Still, when I read some savage tale
Of punishment devised
By tyrants of an olden day,
When serfs were victimised,
I feel it in my heart to say
'Thank God, we're civilised.'

In The First Elective Ministry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Behold, I built a fowlhouse in my yard!
Two months agone the great work was begun,
And ev'ry eventide I labored hard,
What time my daily office grind was done.
'Tis to my industry a monument,
The fowls, my wife and I are well content.

Indeed, I built a fowlhouse. Gods forbid
Although I made it, floor and roof and wall
That I should boast about this thing I did.
I mention it most modestly withal.
Just these two hands, this brain were all I had.
I built it on my own, and I am glad.

And, as I toiled at eve, my wife would come,
The candle, nails and divers tools to hold;
And when I swore because I hit my thumb
She did not hang the contract up to scold,
Nor move a vote of censure, and maintain
The thing should be pulled down and built again.

She is my helpmate, both in name and deed;
Nor does she deem it policy to nag.
And when she saw my wounded finger bleed
She bound it up, most tenderly, with rag.
Thus, for one end, did both of us conspire
To have a fowlhouse was our joint desire.

And, when I went about my work in town,
No secret vision filled my day with dread
That she would pull the whole contraption down
And start a building of her own instead.
I knew, indeed, she would take care to leave
Unharmed my handiwork of yester-eve.

You'll note - if you're at all intelligent
Our system was simplicity itself:
We wanted something, that was evident,
To wit, a fowlhouse, perches, and a shelf
For nests. I got some timber, tools and nails,
And set to work. This method seldom fails.

And when I'd done, and saw it stand complete,
With triumph was I most absurdly filled.
A tiny thing, enclosing ten square feet,
That any deft suburbanite might build
Yet was my soul with satisfaction seized;
And, on the whole, I think the fowls were pleased.

Now that my hens are well and snugly housed,
And given cosy nests in which to lay,
It seems, their gratitude has been aroused:
Our egg supply increases ev'ry day.
And yet, I vow, when I their house designed
No sordid thought of eggs was in my mind.

Maybe I seem a trifle too inclined
To brag about a very simple feat.
Yet strange ideas crowd into my mind
When I sit down to scan my morning sheet,
And read of other builders who should be
GOLIATHS in comparison with me.

These mighty undertakings, I've no doubt
Vast railway lines that span a continent,
And other matters that I read about
Are apt to cause much wordy argument.
Yet I, who calmly built a house for fowls,
Can feel contempt for these unseemly howls.

For, when they move to build, unholy shouts
Go up to Heaven from opponent throats;
The Ins are ever brawling with the Outs;
And both are scheming sordidly for votes.
They build not as true builders, such as I,
Who build for love, and scorn the trade they ply.

Thank God, my wife and I are well content
In doing things to win a modest name
Without the aid of Party Government
And all the meanness of that paltry Game.
Honest endeavor, and some boards and nails,
Pride in our work - this method seldom fails.

I am so diffident, I hardly care
To give advice to statesmen evident,
And yet, on this occasion, shall I dare
To offer them some small encouragement:
Let them forego their wrangles, curses, howls,
And strive to build a little place for fowls.

'Tis sheer presumption, surely, to compare
Myself with statesmen in high honor decked;
Yet do I feel emboldened to declare
That I am more deserving of respect.
They, by their brawls, a mighty work have marred;
I built an honest fowlhouse in my yard.

The Anti-Socialist

'Tis morn.
An individualistic cock
Proclaims the fact.
The dissipated cat sneaks home forlorn.
'Tis time to get up and act!
'Tis eight o'clock!
The stern and stalwart anti-Socialist,
And independent citizen, whose fist
Is raised against all Socialistic schemes,
Wakes from the land o' dreams;
(Nightmares of Sosh)
Gets up, and has a wash
In water from the Socialistic main;
Empties it down the Socialistic drain,
And, giving his moustache the proper twist,
He then
Breakfasts upon an egg,
Laid by some anti-Socialistic
And, as he chews,
Endeavours to peruse
The news
In some wise publication, printing views
That no right-thinking man could grumble at;
And, having scoffed the egg,
His hat
He reaches from its peg;
Perambulates the Socialistic path
But that
Annoys him just as little as the bath.
Tho' both essentially are Sosh's works,
He never shirks
Their use;
But much abuse
Of Socialistic ideas, without excuse,
Flavors his conversation in the train
The Socialistic train.
But, here again,
He is not heard to murmur or complain
Against the train.
At length the hour
Of ten
Strikes the Socialistic tower;
And then
He gains
His office and enquires
For letters and for wires.
Nor e'en complains
They reach him thro' a Socialistic post.
There are a host
Of letters - quite a pile
Some from his friends
(Ah! See him smile),
Cursing the Labor party's aims and ends.
Here is a note
Bidding him be content and of good cheer,
For, in the House last night, the Fusion vote
Defeated Labor on the Telephone
Discussion. Wherefore charges won't be near
As dear
As he has cause to fear.
And that reminds him. He rings on the 'phone,
And tells a friend
At t'other end
That Socialism's better left alone.
Says it emphatically thro' the 'phone
The Socialistic 'phone
That instrument
The Government is running at a loss
Of very much per cent.
He knows that it is so.
But is he cross?
He's quite content...
So, through the day
He goes his anti-Socialistic way.
Round and about
The town,
Wearing the Socialistic pavement out;
Riding in Socialistic trams
And damning damns
When Socialism's mentioned - with a frown...
As night comes down,
He scorns the Socialistic atmosphere
Of a plain pub
And beer,
And seeks his club.
While here
He drinks
And tells his fellow members what he thinks
About the 'Labah pawty' and its claims
And visionary aims.
They languidly remark 'Hear, hear.'...
Then out once more
And, in a Socialistic tram and train,
On to suburbia, and home again
To his own door.
Then to his bed;
Laying his wise and proper-thinking head
In downy pillow-deep.
He is about to dropp
To sleep
When - 'Flop... Flop...
Flop' ...
What's that?
The cat,
Chasing an individualistic rat?
Nay, 'tis the footfall of the midnight cop,
Echoing through
The stilly night,
Telling that I and you
Are guarded in our right;
He guards the persons and the propertee
Of you and me.
He's a Socialistic institution too
The man in blue.
The whole blue Socialistic crew....
I wish he'd keep
Still, that cop,
I want to go to sleep...
Why does he keep
Flop, flop, flop!
With his big feet
Along the street?
Why can't he stop?...
His Socialistic feet....
Why don't he change his beat?...
Of all the rows I ever heard
Upon my word!
When you stop to think of it
A bit,
This Socialistic business is absurd!

Kisses And The Rhythmic Principle

My dear ladies - that is to say, those of you who may happen inadvertently to glance through this dreadful paper
Most of you, no doubt, have felt impelled, at one time or another, to lightly caper
Round and about a ballroom, clasped in the manly and purely platonic embrace of some intellectual affinity - some male bird of your type.
There comes a period in the lives of all of us when the time for such festive prancing seems deliciously ripe.
Is it not so? Then dance, dear ladies, dance every time you get a chance.
Pray, do not think for a moment that I approve of those incomprehensible persons known as Wowsers.
I object to them on principle. I object to all their works, opinions and prejudices.
But most of all I object to their absurd hats and totally nondescript trousers.
But I digress. Ladies, I am your friend.
And ever shall I sympathetically lend
An ear to your protestations in defence of the polka-mazurka, and the schottische, and the two-step, and the waltz.
To declare that such dances are indelicate is false.
They are not!
Nor is the turkey-trot
A thing of evil.
And, as some would have us believe, an invention of the DEVIL.
Nay, even the cruelly maligned sticking-plaster
Leadeth in no sense to moral disaster
For always remember, ladies, when you are indulging in intricate terpsichorean evolutions, then that unutterably ecstatic bliss you
Experience for the moment is merely an abnormally rapid oxidisation of the mental tissue.
Dear females - diners, tarts, peaches, flappers, bits o' fluff, and perfect ladies,
There are those who will tell you that dancing is a direct importation from Hades.
By making such absurd and obviously idiotic assertions nothing can be gained:
For the whole matter may be scientifically, psychologically and biologically explained.
For instance, we will suppose that you are treading some stately measure
Such as the Gaby-glide - with a partner whose appearance and deportment give you entire pleasure.
And we will suppose
His is emboldened to propose
A subsequent and somewhat surreptitious adjournment to the conservatory -
(You know the old, old story?)
And, being half inclined to agree, you fall to wondering whether mother would really miss you.
Do not hesitate, dear lady. Respond immediately to the extraordinary and not altogether unpleasant oxidisation of the aforesaid tissue.

And now, dear lady,
Having discovered a secluded nook both cool and shady,
It is just possible that your partner may fondly place his arm around you.
Nay, do not let this dumbfound you.
Be not alarmed. No haughty glances, if you please,
For indications such as these
Betray a mind uncultured. If you would act aright,
I pray you, regard the whole matter in a scientific light.
If, for a moment, I thought you failed to recognise the rhythmic principle I should be sorely grieved.
Remember, always remember, my dear lady, that the poor young man's overcharged brain must, at all costs, be relieved.
(For, in the course of my exhaustive researches, I have discovered, after much Labor and infinite pains,
That a very large proportion of dancing men are afflicted with overcharged brains.)
And then, should he, perchance, press you tenderly to his biled shirt, and ultimately kiss you;
No protests, I pray you.
Reflet, again, that this is uncontrovertibly another manifestation of the rapid, not to say furious oxidisation of the aforementioned tissue.

And here, dear lady, endeth my discourse. I have nothing to add except, perhaps, that it would at this point be advisable to return to the ballroom and your maternal relation.
Not, of course, with any idea of snubbing the poor young man with the overcharged
brain; but merely as an ordinary precaution against the possible effects of over-oxidisation.

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?'

The Corpse That Won'T Lie Still

Aye, call it murder is ye will!
'Tis not the crime I fear.
If his cold curse would but lie still
And silent in its bier,
Then would I be indeed content,
And count it folly to repent.

With these two hands I've slain the knave;
I've watched the red blood drop;
I've rammed him tight into his grave,
And piled the clods atop,
And tramped them down exultingly....
Now back he comes to grin at me.

Once have I slain him in his bed,
Twice by the midnight blaze;
Thrice have I looked upon him dead
All in these seven days.
Yet here, this night, I've seen him stand
And pluck the pen from out my hand.

Nay, never spook nor sprite is he,
But solid flesh and blood,
Who schemes with deep malignity
To stint my livelihood.
And he had vowed a vow my name
Shall never grace the scroll of fame.

My name he bears, my garb he wears,
My pipes he idly smokes;
And, friend-like, he but rarely cares
To praise my sorry jokes.
He spends my money lavishly
With ne'er a thrifty thought for me.

And when my ready cash is gone
He runs me into debt.
Stern duty he will harp upon
When I would fain forget.
But when, through toil, I would be free
He soothes me with rank sophistry.

Whene'er with resolutions stern
I sit me down to work,
And mighty thoughts within me burn,
Then forth comes he to lurk
Here at my elbow, where he clings
And whispers of forbidden things.

So when I woo some lofty theme
Of deep religious tone,
He lures me on to idly dream,
As we sit there alone.
Of girls I have and have not kissed,
Of favors won and chances missed.

He whispers of that tempting book
I have no time to read;
'One peep,' he pleads: 'one hasty look!
Where is the harm, indeed?'
And when I speak of work, and sigh,
''Twill do to-morrow!' is his cry.

And oft - too well I know how oft
Beneath his subtle spell
I fall, and dream of living soft
Who know - aye, none so well
That living soft is but for him
Who earns his ease with labor grim.

Dreams, dreams, and ever idle dreams!
His glowing art I hate!
Yet pleasant for the hour it seems,
His soothing opiate.
And, though I slay him, this I dread:
He oftener alive than dead.

Oh, I have to be so very sure,
No later than last night,
That I had pinned the knave secure,
And I was free to write
Those mighty masterpieces which
To pen my fingers ever itch.

But, with his slouch and lazy leer,
Lo, came back he to-day:
With wheedling lips against mine ear
He tempted me to play
At tennis all the afternoon.
Work and resolve forgot so soon!

Yet, spite his faults, he is, I swear,
A merry knave withal;
And when I have the time to spare
That's seldom, if at all
I'd roam with him 'mid fields and flow'rs
If he'd be still in business hours.

Each morn I bash him on the head
And hide him out of sight.
Full, sure, indeed, that he is dead;
But back he comes each night,
And on the lotus buds we feed
When bread and butter is my need.

Though many ways his death I've planned
And slain him, as I've said,
He takes a lot of killing and
He'll never stay long dead.
And, though, each day i cause his death,
I know he'll live while I have breath.

But let me vow the vow again
The vow I know by heart
And, here and now, with hasty pen,
Stab to some vital part.
And, mocked by his departing laugh,
Rewrite his oft-writ epitaph.

'Here lies the man I should not be
By all stern rules of life.
The man who's plagued and hampered me
All through this mundane strife.
A lazy, loafing knave was he....
But, sooth, he was fine company.'

Oh, my brothers do not wrangle.
When the sweets of office dangle
At a most inviting angle
Be polite.
In the legislative struggle,
When in office safe you snuggle,
Then to jangle or to juggle
Isn't right.

And, O never, never niggle!
Though the vulgar people giggle
When they see a statesman wriggle
To a place.
And, I prithee, never niggle;
With the man who stops to peddle,
For the act upon his head'll
Bring disgrace.

And we ought to take a broad, strong view.
What's the matter if the prospect isn't new?
There is virtue in the viewing.
When it comes to merely doing,
Well, it's really not important what you do.
It's the view
Grand view!
Never let the doing part embarrass you.

When in politics you dabble
Then of course you'll have to babble,
To the vote-possessing rabble
'Tis the game.
When you engineer a shuffle
The ensuing party scuffle
Somebody is sure to ruffl
All the same.

Then be wary; do not temble;
Smile politely and dissemble,
Though your actions do resemble
When your legislative symbol
Is the tricky pea and thimble
Your manipulations nimble
Are not faults.

But, I charge you, take a strong, broad view.
It is most entrancing when you have the screw.
There's no need to be exacting
In the manner of your acting;
'Tis the statesman's motto when dissensions brew
Watch the view
Wide view!
And your story of the sight will see you through.

When a banquet you've to tackle
Where the ancient chestnuts crackle,
And you have to rise and cackle
To your kind.
Mayhap some hiccoughing freak'll
Rise and, venturing to speak, 'll
Mention you as 'Misher Deakle,
Never mind.

Let your honeyed phrases trickle,
And defend the Fusion pickle;
Show them that you are not fickle
In the least.
Say that, why we do not muzzle
Labor members is a puzzle;
And they'll cheer you as they guzzle
At the feast.

And bid them take a broad, strong view.
Bid them see around both corners, same as you.
You're the saviour of the nation
At a mayoral celebration
If you do not harp too much upon the 'do.'
Praise the view
Grand view!
And they vow you are a stateman strong and true.

With this popular preamble
You may then adroitly amble
To the shocking party scramble.
Voice your fears.
Tell them Labor's sure to stumble
If it does not cease to grumble;
And each alderman will mumble
Glad 'Hear, hears.'

While the nuts they calmly nibble
Let vague phrases gently dribble;
Give them any quip or quibble.
You're immense.
But, ah prithee! do not trifle
With a hint of acts; and stifle
Any mention of a rifle
Or defence.

For there's safety in the strong, brod view.
The suppression of the hard, strong 'do'
Is a matter most essential
When the Tory consequential
Is the man you reckon on to see you thro'.
Boost the view
Great view?
And they'll all begin to think they see it too.

Budding statesmen, there is muckle
In the View when you've to truckle
To the crowd that will not buckle
Into graft.
When your policy's a muddle,
And you're sailing in a puddle
With a Fusion crowd that huddle
On a raft;
Talk in vague, unmeaning jingle;
For the crowd with which you mingle
Holds within it scarce a single
One who'll work.
Here, where HANSARD's pages rustle,
Three a show of rush and bustle,
But there's ne'er a chance to hustle;
You must shirk.
Keep your eye upon the broad, strong view.
Call the crowd's attention to it till you're blue.
Keep them watching intently,
And you can con-ven-i-ently
Hate the fact that you hvae nothing much to do.
Praise the view
Fine view!
And they may forget to keep an eye on you.

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.

The Disillusioned Fuse

Beneath a lamp in Spring-street, on a recent calm spring night,
I came unwittingly upon a most pathetic sight;
A sorry spectacle of woe - a limp, despondent Bloke
Who leaned against a post and sobbed and said his heart was broke!
'I've lorst me trust in 'uman men; I've done me dash ter-day;
Fer my own cobber's done me in, and guv me game away!'

'Nay, nay,' said I, 'cheer up, good Bloke. The prospect may look blue;
But Fate is wont to deal hard knocks to folk like me and you.
Remember, men have fought and won an uphill fight before,
Pray, tell me what's befallen you that you should grieve so sore.
Say, has your wife deserted you, or have you lost your tin?'
But still the Bloke said bitterly: 'Me cobber's done me in!'

'Me moniker's Deakook,' he said, 'but blokes calls me 'The Fuse.'
(Oh, 'struth! I nearly dropped me bundle when I 'eard the noos!)
I gets a job o' work to do - a real soft cop it wus,
With no foreman over me ter see 'ow much I does,
Excep' some coves they calls the Press - a noisy sorter crew
Thet allus nags an' growls at yer no matter watcher do.

'Some wanted this, some wanted that, an' uvers wanted bofe.
Thinks I, 'Between 'em all it's up ter me ter do a loaf.'
So I jus' took ter sittin' round all day an' crackin' jokes,
An' dealin' out a bit o' stoush ter Opposition blokes.
There wus a press cove called the HAGE took ter me frum the first;
But blimey' - (Here the poor Bloke sobbed as though his heart would burst.)

'Yuss, frum the first 'e took ter me, an' we wus goin' fine,
Until I come ter look on 'im as quite a pal o' mine.
Fer when 'e sez, 'You'll 'ave ter graft on this 'ere job, yer know,'
I winks an' murmurs 'Dicken,' an' 'e winks an' sez 'Righto!'
An' when I jus' perten's ter graft 'e cracks 'e doesn't see;
So I jus' grins an' winks at 'im, an' 'e jus' winks at me.

'O, blimey! Them was golding days, wif not a stroke ter do
Excep' ter line up ev'ry week an' dror me bloomin' screw.
O' course, ther's some thet chips at me an' bellers in a rage;
But I jus' grins an' tips the wink ter 'im they calls the HAGE.
An' 'e speaks up quite serious: ''Ow kin I work,' sez 'e,
'When these 'ere Opposition blokes are all obstructin' me?'

'My oath, it wus an orlright cop! I thort I'd struck it rich.
'Ow could I know' (again he sobbed) 'thet 'e would crool me pitch?
One day 'e sez, quite sudding like, 'This job must be put thro','
An' I jus' winks an' murmurs, 'Dicken,' like I useter do.
But strike! You could 'ave outed me in one, when, 'fore I knowed,
'E turns around on me and sez, quite narsty, 'You be blowed!'

''You'll 'ave ter get ter work,' 'e sez, 'on this 'ere job, or leave.
Fer w'y,' 'e sez, 'I'm sick o' this 'ere game o' make-believe.
Yer jus' perten' ter work,' 'e sez. 'Yer're loafin' day an' night.
Don't grin an' wink at me,' 'e sez, 'yer blanky hippercryte!
Wot are yer 'ere fer anny way? Wot did we pay yer for?
We wants more solid graft,' 'e sez, 'an' less infernal jore!'

'An' that wus 'im I called me pal - me cobber staunch an' true!
'E turns around on me like that an' gives me graft ter do!
Graft, w'ich was the mean sorter thing I allays 'ad despised.
Oh, 'ow wus I ter know 'e wus a sorter John disguised?
'E let me loaf fer munce and munce, an' sets me workin' now.
An', blimey, Mister, I would work, but, 'struth, I dunno 'ow!

'I dunno 'ow ter do the work; an' spare me, if I did,
I couldn't go ter do it, 'cos me doctor 'as forbid.
'E sez that I'm worn out in ev'ry part excep' me cheek;
An' if I start ter graft I'll go ter pieces in a week.
An' if I lose me job I'll 'ave no tucker, bed or roof.
For w'y? Me cobber's done me in! 'E's gone and told the troof.'

I tried to soothe the stricken Bloke, and still his mournful din;
But yet he murmured brokenly, 'Me cobber's done me in!'
And if you roam in Spring-street when the House adjourns at night,
You'll probably encounter this most pitiable sight.
He leans against his post and sobs, prostrated by the news
The Bloke whose cobber did him in, the disillusioned Fuse.

'E sez to me, 'Wot's orl this flamin' war?
The papers torks uv nothin' else but scraps.
An'wot's ole England got snake-'eaded for?
An' wot's the strength uv callin' out our chaps?'
'E sez to me, 'Struth! Don't she rule the sea?
Wot does she want wiv us?' 'e sez to me.

Ole Ginger Mick is loadin' up 'is truck
One mornin' in the markit feelin' sore.
'E sez to me, 'Well, mate, I've done me luck;
An' Rose is arstin', 'Wot about this war?'
I'm gone a tenner at the two-up school;
The game is crook, an' Rose is turnin' cool.

'E sez to me, ''Ow is it fer a beer?'
I tips 'im 'ow I've told me wife, Doreen,
That when I comes down to the markit 'ere
I dodges pubs, an' chucks the tipple, clean.
Wiv 'er an' kid alone up on the farm
She's full uv fancies that I'll come to 'arm.

''Enpecked!' 'e sez. An' then, 'Ar, I dunno.
I wouldn't mind if I wus in yer place.
I've 'arf a mind to give cold tea a go
It's no game, pourin' snake-juice in yer face.
But, lad, I 'ave to, wiv the thirst I got.
I'm goin' over now to stop a pot.'

'E goes acrost to find a pint a 'ome;
An' meets a pal an' keeps another down.
Ten minutes later, when 'e starts to roam
Back to the markit, wiv an ugly frown,
'E spags a soljer bloke 'oo's passin' by,
An' sez 'e'd like to dot 'im in the eye.

'Your sort,' sez Mick, 'don't know yer silly mind!
They lead yeh like a sheep; it's time yeh woke
The 'eads is makin' piles out uv your kind!'
'Aw, git yer 'ead read!' sez the soljer bloke.
'Struth! 'e wus willin' wus that Kharki' chap;
I 'ad me work cut out to stop a scrap.

An 'as the soljer fades acrost the street,
Mick strikes a light an' sits down on 'is truck,
An' chews 'is fag - a sign 'is nerve is beat
An' swears a bit, an' sez 'e's done is luck.
'E grouches there ten minutes, maybe more,
Then sez quite sudden, 'Blarst the flamin'war!'

Jist then a motor car goes glidin' by
Wiv two fat toffs be'ind two fat cigars;
Mick twigs 'em frum the corner uv 'is eye
'I 'ope,' 'e sez, 'the 'Uns don't git my cars.
Me di'mons, too, don't let me sleep a wink…
Ar, 'Struth! I'd fight fer that sort - I don't think.'

'E sits there while I 'arness up me prad,
Chewin' 'is gag an' starin' at the ground.
I tumbles that 'e's got the joes reel bad,
An' don't say nothin' till 'e comes around.
'E sez 'is luck's a nark, an' swears some more.
An' then: 'Wot is the strength uv this 'ere war?'

I tells 'im wot I read about the 'Uns,
An' wot they done in Beljum an' in France,
Wiv drivin' Janes an' kids before their guns,
An' never givin' blokes a stray dawg's chance;
An' 'ow they thing they got the whole world beat.
Sez 'e, 'I'll crack the first Ducth cow I meet!'

Mick listen, while I tell 'im 'ow they starts
Be burnin' pore coves 'omes an' killin' kids,
An' comin' it reel crook wiv decent tarts,
An' fightin' foul, as orl the rules forbids,
Leavin' a string uv stiff-uns in their track.
Sez Mick, 'The dirt cows! They wants a crack!'

'E chews it over soid fer a bit,
Workin' 'is copper-top a double shift.
I don't need specs to see that 'e wus 'it
be somethin' more than Rosie's little rift.
'If they'd done that,' 'e sez, 'out 'ere - Ar, rats!
Why don't ole Eng;and belt 'em in the slats?'

Then Mick gits up an' starts another fag.
'Ar, well,' 'e sez, 'it's no affair uv mine,
If I don't work they'd pinch me on the vag;
But I'm not keen to fight so toffs kin dine
On pickled olives . . . Blarst the flamin' war!
I ain't got nothin' worth the fightin' for.

'So long,' 'e sez. 'I got ter trade me stock;
An' when yeh 'ear I've took a soljer's job
I gave yeh leave to say I've done me block
An' got a flock uv weevils in me knob.'
An' then, orf-'anded-like, 'e arsts me: 'Say,
Wot are they slingin' soljers fer their pay?

I tells 'im; an' 'e sez to me, 'So long.
Some day this rabbit trade will git me beat.'
An' Ginger Mick shoves thro' the markit throng,
An' gits 'is barrer out into the street.
An' as 'e goes, I 'ears 'is gentle roar:
'Rabbee! Wile Rabbee! . . . Blarst the flamin' war!'