Why Doherty Died

It was out on the Bogan near Billabong Creek
Where the sky shines like brass seven days in the week,
Where the buzzin' mosquitoes annoy you all night
And the blowflies come wakin' you up at daylight;
Where the people get weary and sad and forlorn
Till they wish they had died long before they were born;
There's a flat near the river, I knew the place well,
For ‘twas there Dinny Doherty kept the hotel.

Dinny Doherty died. 'Twasn't aisy to say
Just the cause of the trouble that tuk him away;
If 'twas measles or whoopin' cough, croup or catarrh,
Or the things docthers pickle and put in a jar.
Not a dochter was nigh when he come to his death
So we reckoned he died just through shortage of breath —-
We didn't know how these fine points to decide;
What we did know for certain was: Doherty died.

The coroner came up from Bottle-nose Flat,
And twelve of us wid him on Doherty sat.
The hate was intense; there was whisky galore —-
When we'd finished we weren't as wise as before.
We were roastin'; yet there, wid a shmile on his face,
Lay poor Dinny, the only cool man in the place.
Yet divil a one in the crowd could decide
Or even imagine why Doherty died.

The old pub it seemed lonesome whin Dinny was gone,
Lavin' poor Kitty Doherty grievin' alone.
Every time that I called she cried: "Phwat will I do?
Darlin' Dinny, come back to me, Cushla! Wirroo!
Faith it's lonely I am today, Dinny, asthore!
Don't be sayin' you're dead, that I'll see you no more."
Whin I tried to console her, she bitterly cried,
"I have no one to love me since Doherty died."
"I kape pinin'," says she, "till I'm mere shkin and bone."
(Poor Kitty! She only weighed siventeen shtone.)
"Sure, life widhout love is like bread widhout yaste."
Poor Kitty! Her heart was as big as a her waist.
And what is the pain? — 'tisn't iveryone knows
Whin a big heart like Kitty's wid love overflows.
Kitty's love was as broad as the ocean is wide,
But she'd no one to share it since Doherty died.

'Twas a hot sumnmer's day when a visit I paid,
For the hate was hundhred and tin in the shade;
Poor Kitty looked sad as I inthered the gate,
And her cheeks were quite moist wid her tears (and the hate):
But 'twas cosy she looked as she sat in the bar,
And I whispered, "Poor girl, is it lonely ye are?"
"Bedad! Lonely's no name for it," Kitty replied.
"I'm just frettin' me heart out since Doherty died.

Then, says I, "Faith, this isn't the weather to fret!"
And I wiped her plump cheeks, that were clammy and wet;
"Sure, Kitty," says I, "you must hould up your head,
For the world isn't impty if one man is dead.
To be livin' and pinin' alone's a disgrace;
Can you find no good man to take Doherty's place?"
Then she shmiled through her tears, and she said as she sighed:
"Ah! the good men are scarce since poor Doherty died."

"Och," says I, "to talk that way is fiddle-de-dee;
There are good men left yet, Kitty — what about me?"
Then, before you'd say "Jack", o'er the bar she had leapt,
And she flung herself on me bosom and wept.
'Twas in vain that I thried to get out to get cool,
She was harder to shift than a big bale of wool.
And I thought, as she lay on me bosom and cried:
"Faith! 'Tis now that I know why poor Doherty died."

Stifling was the air, and heavy; blowflies buzzed and held a levee,
And the mid-day sun shone hot upon the plains of Bungaroo,
As Tobias Mathew Carey, a devout bush missionary,
Urged his broken-winded horse towards the township of Warhoo.
He was visiting the stations and delivering orations
About everlasting torture and the land of Kingdom Come,
And astounding all his hearers, both the rouseabouts and shearers,
When descanting on the horrors that result from drinking rum.

As Tobias Mathew Carey, lost in visions bright and airy,
Tried to goad his lean Pegasus to a canter from a jog,
All his visions were sent flying as his horse abruptly shying
At a newly wakened-something that was camped beside a log.
It was bearded, bronzed and hairy, and Tobias Mathew Carey
Had a very shrewd suspicion as the object he espied,
And observed its bleary winking, that the object had been drinking,
A suspicion which was strengthened by a bottle at its side.

It was Jacob William Wheeler, better known as "Jake the Spieler,"
Just returning from a sojourn in the township of Warhoo,
Where, by fast-repeated stages, he had swamped his cheque for wages,
And for language made a record for the plains of Bungaroo.
Then the earnest missionary, Mr. Toby Mathew Carey,
Like a busy bee desiring to improve each shining hour,
Gave his horse a spell much needed, and immediately proceeded
To pour down on Jake the Spieler, an admonitory shower.

He commenced his exhortation with a striking illustration
Of the physical and moral degradation that must come
To the unrepentant sinner who takes whisky with his dinner,
And converts his stomach into a receptacle for rum.
"Give attention to my query," said the ardent missionary:
"Do you not perceive that Satan is this moment calling you?
He is shouting! He is calling in a voice that is appalling:
Do you hear him? And the Spieler answered sadly - "Yes! I do."

"I can prove it is impious" said the eloquent Tobias,
"To drink stuff containing alcohol, and liquors that are strong,
And I'll prove to demonstration that your guzzling inclination
Is quite morally, and socially, and physically wrong.
When about to drain a bottle, or pour whisky down your throttle,
You should think about the thousands who have perished for its sake.
Gone! To the Davey Jones's locker, through the wine that is a mocker,
And which biteth like a serpent's tooth and stingeth like a snake."

Toby paused, and Jake replying said, "It ain't no use denying
That your logic is convincing, and your arguments are sound.
I have heard with admiration your remarks and peroration,
And your knowledge of the subject seems extensive and profound.
Yet, in spite of all your spouting, there is just one thing I'm doubting,
But I'm open to conviction, so convince me if you can.
As the iron's hot now strike it, just convince me I don't like it,
And I'll chuck the grog, and sign the pledge, and keep it like a man."

Then Tobias Mathew Carey eyed the Spieler bronzed and hairy,
But his tongue no word could utter, and the silence was intense,
As the Spieler, slowly rising, in a style quite patronising
Blandly smiled upon Tobias, and continued his defence.
"In your arguments I noticed that the scriptures you misquoted,
But you know, Old Nick proved long ago that two could play at that.
Which has caused the greatest slaughter? Was it rum or was it water?
If you say it was the former then I'll contradict it flat.

"When Old Noah in the deluge, in the Ark was taking refuge,
All the other people in the world by water met their fate.
And King Pharaoh's countless army! - Did they drink and all go balmy?
No! You'll find they died by water if you'll just investigate.
All the records of the ages, mentioned in the sacred pages,
Only tell of one example, and the fact you know well,
Where a cove a drink was craving and for water started raving,
And that beggar was located - where he ought to be - in Hell!"

Jake then dropped the tone effusive, and began to be abusive,
Swore he'd "pick the missionary up and dropp him in the dirt,"
Vowed he'd "twist his blooming nose up, make him turn his blinded toes up,
Sing him for a dusty fiver, or else fight him for his shirt."
And the air was hot and heavy, and the blowflies held their levee,
And the evening sun shone red upon the plains of Bungaroo:
As Tobias Mathew Carey, a disgusted missionary,
Spurred his broken-winded steed towards the township of Warhoo.