John Burroughs.

The Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 online

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But she 's rocked him in that gin-case on the floor,

An' there 's been two of 'em in it at a pinch.
And the gal out there, a-leanin' on the fence

Them there rockers was put on when she was born.
What say ? Half-a-crown, sir ? You was nigh too late.

Sev'n-an'-six, gents ! Look alive before its gorn.

Are you done at three half-crowns ? At eight-and-six ?

Just another eighteenpence to make it ten.
Much obliged, sir ! See them marks there in the bricks ?

Them 'ere rockers made 'em ; Tom was in it then.
Well ! a pound I 'm bid : I ain't agoin' to dwell ;

And it 's goin' at a pound, this little bed
(Twenty-five? No half-bids, now; I 'm going to sell!)

Where she used to rock the little one that 's dead.



SOLD- UP. 39

Little hands that move no longer played along

Where the wood is wore all shiny on the side
As the cradle rocked in time to mother's song ;

The song she has n't sung since baby died.
No, it ain't a common gin-case, gents, this 'ere

But it 's goin' at two pounds, at two-p'und-ten !
Two p'und Three ! at five, and now it is n't dear,

Except to her as used to rock it then 1



And it 's goin' ! goin' ! Third and last time GONE !

Oh ! here, missus ! Here 's a present from the chaps.
What? Oh, something in it! There now, don't take on!

It may come in useful for the gal, perhaps.

C. H. SOUTER.



A LEGEND OF THE DARGO.

IT was on the Upper Dargo, in the spring of eighty-four,
That Cargoola township boasted a Salvation Army

corps;

Which was needed very badly, for the Upper Dargo then
Contained a population of most irreligious men ;
And the daddy of the sinners, owning neither God nor

boss,

Was a grey old drunken Scotchman of the name of Sandy
Ross.



40 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Now Sandy, as a sinful man, was very hard to beat.

His oaths were fresh and fierce and strong they scorched

you with their heat.

He was drunk at early sunrise, he was drunk at sunset too;
And when drunkest told his biggest lie he sang "We are

na foil 1 ! "
He would steal, or beg, or borrow ; he was always on the

cross ;
And the parsons classing sinners gave the cake to

Sandy Ross.

But the Army girls got at him, for their hearts were

in their work,

And the Hallelujah lasses have been never known to shirk
A hopeless case, an uphill fight salute them as they pass!
For a worker of the workers is a Hallelujah lass.
So they tackled Alexander with the Story of the Cross,
And a change became apparent in the life of Sandy Ross.

Now, about this time, it happened that a direful deed was

done ;
For the parson's ducks they vanished yes, they vanished

one by one ;

And the solitary trooper, for the honour of the force,
Spent watchful days, and sleepless nights, and sorely tried

his horse ;
Till at length a whisper went abroad a calumny most

gross,

And the finger of suspicion seemed to point to Sandy
Ross.



A LEGEND OF THE DARGO. 41

But the Army wouldn't hear it, and they gave that

yarn the lie,
When they entered Sandy boldly for the "Coming

By-and-By."
Then each night upon the platform, in a broken voice

and low,
He informed his fellow sinners he was "whiter than the

snow."
And the parson's pretty daughter the enthusiastic

Floss,
Told her friends, in gladsome accents, "There's a change

in Mister Ross ! "

Then the teacher of the State-school, who possessed a

merry eye,

And had doubts of Sandy's fitness for a mansion in the sky,
Wagered gloves that, at next meeting, the converted man

would scare

And demoralise the godly with a most prodigious swear.
But the girls they booked the wagers, and enthusiastic Floss
Said she felt just like a sister to the convert Mister Ross.

The night arrived, the hall was full; men spoke, and

by-and-by
Came announcement from the chairman : " Brother Ross

will testify ! "
And Sandy rose and told once more how he excelled the

snow
In whiteness but no further in his tale could Sandy go,



42 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

For, heard by all, and seemingly proceeding from the back,
To the horror of the Army came a duck's protesting
quack.

The speaker paused, and glared around, then had another

try.
"I thank the" Quack! "I thank" Quack, quack!

" I thank the Lord that I *
Am whiter" Qu-a-a-ck "See here, young chap!"

then out the torrent burst,
And Sandy ripped, and tore, and swore 't was fearsome

how he cursed !

He cursed the teacher cursed the ducks he cursed till

all was blue ;

The solitary trooper came, he cursed the trooper, too ;
He took his coat and waistcoat off he would have taken

more,

But the solitary trooper led him cursing to the door.
Thus, back upon society, came old-time Sandy Ross,
Fearing neither man nor devil, owning neither God nor

boss.

W. LONG.




A LEGEND OF THE DAK GO.



[ To face Page 42.



IN THE FACE OF THE DEAD. 43



IN THE FACE OF THE DEAD.

THE artist wins plaudits by showing
The loveliest prize of Earth's race ;
His Helen with young life is glowing,

All human hopes summed in her face.
His name would be borne o'er the oceans,
His fame to the poles would be spread,
Could he add to her play of emotions
The joy in the face of the dead !

Enthroned by the love of a nation,

The actor rings clear in his part
The gamut from grief to elation ;

His face is transformed by his art.
What lacks in his strong histrionic

Appeals to the heart and the head ?
Whispers Death, with hoarse accent sardonic,

" The joy in the face of the dead ! "

The jockey is thrilled by the thunder,

Sweet as peace after fever and fret,
That hails his great win as a wonder ;

His price above rubies is set.
His face blazons forth his glad story

Whence triumph exultant is shed,
Yet its brightness is dulled by the glory

Of the joy in the face of the dead.



44 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Enthralled by white arms, clinging kisses,

The lover quaffs passion's strong wine,
Yet, sweet as the draught is, he misses

A joy he can never define.
The rose out of Eden, the fairest,

Would come, with Love's secret flushed red,
Could he find in the eyes of his dearest

The joy in the face of the dead !

ETHEL CASTILLA.



THE MAN WITH RUBBER PEDALS.

IT has all the latest fixings barrel hubs and narrow
tread;

It weighs twenty pounds or under, is as rigid as the dead ;
It 's the very newest pattern, and the very latest grade,
And it cost you all the cash that in the last three months

you made.
You lead it from the agent's, and your bosom swells with

pride
As you lift it from the kerbstone and you start its maiden

ride ...
Like the lightning past the tram-cars, cabs, and everything

you Ve sped,
When you see a man with rubber pedals plugging on

ahead.



THE MAN WITH RUBBER PEDALS. 45

He is forty years of age, and on an antiquated crock,

Sitting upright as a soldier and as bandy as a jock ;

He is wobbly, he is shifty, and he scarce knows how to

ride;

His gear is less than fifty, and his handle-bars are wide.
From crank to crank his tread is eighteen inches, and his

frame

Is a pattern that was popular when first the safety came ;
And as you gain upon him you are thinking, "I must show
How a good man on a jigger that is up to date can go."

You fold your arms and pass him in an attitude of grace,
When the beatific smile upon his open whiskered face
Makes your conscience somehow smite you as across his

track you whiz,
Lest you show him p'r'aps too harshly what an utter mug

he is;
And when you think that he's about a hundred yards

behind,
That man with rubber pedals goes completely from your

mind,

Till a darkness at your elbow and a rattling on your ear
Shows the man with rubber pedals still is battling in the

rear.

Then you think with some resentment, " This is not as it

should be ;

This man with rubber pedals taking all his pace from me ;
Such presumption is opposed to all the canons of the game,
And if I show him up he 's only got himself to blame."



4 6 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

So you drop your arms and lightly touch the neatly-
nickeled head,

With some ankling calculated just to kill that fellow dead,
But after half a mile you are astounded still to feel
That man with rubber pedals hanging calmly on your
wheel.

You argue out the question, and you 're bustled to confess
That the man is what is technically known as N.T.S.
Still, for such as he to push you is a thing you can't allow
He has asked for pace, and, Holy Moses ! won't he get it

now?
You drop your head twelve inches, grip your handles tight

and lift,
And as your calves and biceps swell, by Jingo, don't you

shift !
Then you reckon that you 've left him and it 's nearly time

to slack,
When you hear the cursed rattle of his mud-guards at

your back.

He can hold his own at sprinting that is proved beyond

a doubt,

So the only way to beat him is to simply wear him out.
You set a nice two-forty bat, and to yourself you hiss :
" That man with rubber pedals can't stand many miles of

this."
Then the townships travel past you and the milestones

rise ahead



THE MAN WITH RUBBER PEDALS. 47

Till your thighs are working stiffly and you're feeling

pretty dead ;
Still you force your ped'ling even and your handle-tips

you clinch,
But that man with rubber pedals has n't shifted not an

inch.

At last, in view of " business " and the " fast-approaching

night,"
You decide 't is best for you to take the turning to the

right ;

And as you swing around he passes upright as the just,
With that beatific smile of his still glowing through the

dust.



Are you riding to Sans Souci ? He '11 be there to " do

you bad."

He is on St. Kilda Road; and on each Western camel pad.
Be you cycling in the country, be you cycling in the town,
That man with rubber pedals will be there to take you

down.

McG.



43 THE BULLETIN RECITER.



IN THE DEAD-LETTER OFFICE.

COME, rip the mail-bags open, chaps, and sort the stuff
away ;
A thumping mail again from Perth we '11 have some work

to-day.
Two thousand unclaimed letters here, if there 's a single

one;

So bustle round the tables, boys, and get the sorting done
That we may have them opened up and let the senders

know
The reason why there 's no reply come back from " West-

ward-Ho ! "

For wives have husbands over there, and girls their sweet-
hearts, too,

And sons who found the old land hard sought fortune in
the new ;

And some died in the hospitals, who nameless there have
lain,

And some lie dead where no man knows upon the
scorching plain ;

And some have glared on blazing skies and cruel desert
sands

Till reeling brain and bursting heart they stilled with
desp'rate hands;



IN THE DEAD LETTER OFFICE. 49

And timid men stay near the towns, but some in quest of

gold
Have wandered from the mailman's track : no letters reach

the bold.



Then stir yourselves and toss them out ; for some are on

the rack
These three months past with sorrowing when no reply

came back ;
A gleam of hope to many send who mourn their loved

to-day,
For oft the envelopes are marked Unclaimed, or Gone

Away ;
But some have scored across the face the mournful legend,

Dead,
Or Died in Hospital. Ah me ! sad missives never read.

The daring heart that crossed the sea to win his dear ones

bread
Had perished 'neath the fever-pang, no friend beside his

bed;
And hardly had his sunken eyes filmed in approaching

death,
And still his frame seemed quivering with one last sobbing

breath,
When from his wife the letter came so full of loving

cheer:
"I 'm longing for your safe return ; God bless and keep

you, dear !
D



50 THE BULLETIN' RECITER.

The children all are well and strong they send their love

to you ;
We manage just to get along ; but one week's rent is

due,
And that can wait, the landlord says he's better than we

thought ;
He thinks, perhaps, you '11 strike the gold; there's plenty

there ; you ought."

Ah, well! such tales are common now, they 're multiplying

fast-
See! yonder lazy fourth-class man is working hard at last!
He 's crusty and cantankerous, and selfish as can be :
He growls and grumbles all the day, and little work does

he;
His tongue is always on the nag; but since the goldfields'

mail
Comes once a month from Albany with many a mournful

tale,

He 's seized with a desire to show a heart he does not lack,
And grafts away with might and main to send the letters

back.



The junior clerks are writing fast, their pen-nibs fairly fly ;
The usual chatt'ring is not heard, and little wonder why
When sending back to some poor girl the tender, loving

note
That never met the eyes of him for whose dear sake she

wrote ;



IN THE DEAD LETTER OFFICE. 51

And right across the envelope a legend, scrawled in red,
Tells how, while she poured forth her heart, the youth lay
stark and dead.

Alas for those unfortunates whose hopes are in the West,
With husbands, fathers, toiling there for gold in fierce

unrest !
For fever, drought, and pestilence will reap a harvest

grand
The stoutest hearts Australia owns throb in that deadly

land :

So, when you pass our office by, and hear no noisy din,
You '11 maybe murmur with a sigh, "The Perth Dead Mail

is in.*

R. STEWART.



HOW M'DOUGAL TOPPED THE SCORE.

A PEACEFUL spot is Piper's Flat. The folk that live
around
They keep themselves by keeping sheep and turning up

the ground ;

But the climate is erratic, and the consequences are
The struggle with the elements is everlasting war.
We plough, and sow, and harrow then sit down and

pray for rain ;
And then we all get flooded out and have to start again.



52 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

But the folk are now rejoicing as they ne'er rejoiced

before,
For we 've played Molongo cricket, and M'Dougal topped

the score !

Molongo had a head on it, and challenged us to play
A single-innings match for lunch the losing team to pay.
We were not great guns at cricket, but we could n't well

say No,

So we all began to practise, and we let the reaping go.
We scoured the Flat for ten miles round to muster up our

men,

But when the list was totalled we could only number ten.
Then up spoke big Tim Brady : he was always slow to

speak,
And he said " What price M'Dougal, who lives down at

Cooper's Creek ? "

So we sent for old M'Dougal, and he stated in reply
That he 'd never played at cricket, but he 'd half a mind

to try.

He could n't come to practise he was getting in his hay,
But he guessed he'd show the beggars from Molongo

how to play.
Now, M'Dougal was a Scotchman, and a canny one at

that,

So he started in to practise with a paling for a bat.
He got Mrs. Mac. to bowl him, but she couldn't run at all,
So he trained his sheep-dog, Pincher, how to scout and

fetch the ball.



HOW M'DOUGAL TOPPED THE SCORE. 53

Now, Pincher was no puppy ; he was old, and worn, and

grey;

But he understood M'Dougal, and accustomed to obey
When M'Dougal cried out "Fetch it!" he would fetch it

in a trice,
But, until the word was "Drop it!" he would grip it like

a vyce.
And each succeeding night they played until the light

grew dim :
Sometimes M'Dougal struck the ball sometimes the ball

struck him !
Each time he struck, the ball would plough a furrow in

the ground,
And when he missed the impetus would turn him three

times round.

The fatal day at length arrived the day that was to see
Molongo bite the dust, or Piper's Flat knocked up a

tree!
Molongo's captain won the toss, and sent his men to

bat,
And they gave some leather-hunting to the men of Piper's

Flat.
When the ball sped where M'Dougal stood, firm planted

in his track,
He shut his eyes, and turned him round, and stopped it

with his back!

The highest score was twenty-two, the total sixty-six,
When Brady sent a yorker down that scattered Johnson's

sticks.



54 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Then Piper's Flat went in to bat, for glory and renown,
But, like the grass before the scythe, our wickets tumbled

down.
"Nine wickets down for seventeen, with fifty more to

win!"

Our captain heaved a heavy sigh, and sent M'Dougal in.
" Ten pounds to one you '11 lose it ! " cried a barracker

from town ;
But M'Dougal said "I '11 tak* it, mon!" and planked the

money down.

Then he girded up his moleskins in a self-reliant style,
Threw off his hat and boots, and faced the bowler with a

smile.



He held the bat the wrong side out, and Johnson with a

grin
Stepped lightly to the bowling crease, and sent a

"wobbler "in;
M'Dougal spooned it softly back, and Johnson waited

there,
But M'Dougal, crying " Fetch it t " started running like a

hare.

Molongo shouted " Victory ! He 's out as sure as eggs,"
When Pincher started through the crowd, and ran through

Johnson's legs.
He seized the ball like lightning ; then he ran behind a

log,
And M'Dougal kept on running, while Molongo chased

the dog !




HOW M'DOUGAL TOPPED 7'HE SCORE.



[ Tojace Page j



HO IV M'DOUGAL TOPPED THE SCORE. 55

They chased him up, they chased him down, they chased

him round, and then
He darted through a slip-rail as the scorer shouted

" Ten ! "

M'Dougal puffed; Molongo swore; excitement was intense;
As the scorer marked down twenty, Pincher cleared a

barbed-wire fence.
" Let us head him ! " shrieked Molongo. " Brain the

mongrel with a bat ! "
" Run it out ! Good old M'Dougal ! " yelled the men of

Piper's Flat.
And M'Dougal kept on jogging, and then Pincher

doubled back,
And the scorer counted "Forty" as they raced across

the track.

M'Dougal's legs were going fast, Molongo's breath was

gone
But still Molongo chased the dog M'Dougal struggled

on.
When the scorer shouted " Fifty " then they knew the

chase could cease ;
And M'Dougal gasped out "Drop it!" as he dropped

within his crease.
Then Pincher dropped the ball, and as instinctively he

knew

Discretion was the wiser plan, he disappeared from view ;
And as Molongo's beaten men exhausted lay around
We raised M'Dougal shoulder-high, and bore him from

the ground.



56 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

We bore him to M'Ginniss's, where lunch was ready laid,
And filled him up with whisky-punch, for which Molongo

paid.
We drank his health in bumpers, and we cheered him

three times three,
And when Molongo got its breath, Molongo joined the

spree.
And the critics say they never saw a cricket match like

that,
When M'Dougal broke the record in the game at Piper's

Flat;

And the folk are jubilating as they never did before ;
For we played Molongo cricket and M'Dougal topped

. the score !

THOS. E. SPENCER.



MARIAN'S CHILD.

FIRST we thought of the river,
But the body might be found j
And it did not seem so cruel

To bury it in the ground.
So small it seemed, so helpless

I hardened my heart like stone
She kissed it over and over,
And then I heard her groan.



MARIAN'S CHILD. 57

I took it out of her bosom :

It cried, and cried, and cried ;
I carried it down the garden

The moon was bright outside.
I dug a hole with a shovel

And laid the baby down ;
1 shovelled the sand upon it

The sand was soft and brown.

But, ah ! its cry was bitter

I scarce could cover it in,
And when at last 't was hidden

I sank beneath my sin.
Down at the foot of the garden,

Where the moon-made shadows fell,
I sold myself to the Devil

And bought a home in hell.

Down at the foot of the garden,

Where the weeds grew rank and wild,
Under the shivering willows

I murdered Marian's child ;
My heart was wildly beating,

My eyes and cheeks were wet,
For I heard the baby crying

O God ! I hear it yet.
I hear it crying, crying,

Just as I heard it cry
In Marian's arms in the morning

When I knew that it must die.



58 THE BULLETIN RECITER,

Neither of us was woman

I was the younger one ;
And we strove to tell each other

What a wise thing we had done.
Why should it live to plague us ?

Why should it ever begin
Travelling roads of trouble,

Soiling its soul with sin ?

Marian ! ah, she remembers !

In spite of all her tears
Sweet children call her mother

These many, many years.
Yet when I saw my darling,

Her blue eyes seemed to swell :
"Annie ! " she said, "do you hear it?

Listen ! I hear it well !

In the night I hear it calling

With a muffled, plaintive wail,
And my heart stands still to count its sobs,

And ever I try and fail ;
For I think the depth of my baby's grief

Will never fathomed be
Till the fires are lit in the bottomless pit

To blast eternity."

Once in a southern city

Joy came into my life
He loved me, kissed me, thought me

Worthy to be his wife . , .



MARIAN'S CHILD. 59

No, I will never marry.

God ! I had rather die
If ever I had a baby

'T would curse me with its cry !
For down at the foot of the garden,

Where the moon-made shadows fell,
I sold myself to the Devil

And bought a home in hell.

J. S. NEILSON.



THE MAN WHO TOLD YOU SO.

OF all the fiends who walk this earth,
Whose game, it seems, is mainly
To make us curse for all we 're worth
And swear and speak profanely,
I '11 back the brute, in time of woe
Who comes and says, " I told you so ! "

Does speculation bring you down

And ruin you completely,
Or spielers get your last half-crown
Particularly neatly,

He never fails to let you know
That all along he told you so.



60 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

With buoyant hope out West you went

To make a fortune speedy,
But came back home without a cent,
Disgusted, worn, and seedy.

He met you with his face aglow
"Now recollect, I told you so !"

That little bill, to save a friend,

Accepted by you blindly,
Meets with dishonour in the end,
And lets you in unkindly ;

His hope that soon you '11 wiser grow
Is prefixed by " I told you so ! "

The maiden whom you were to wed,
Who swore she loved you madly,
Gets married to a pal instead,
Which wounds you very badly :
Again, his sympathy to show,
Out comes the same old "Told you so!"

And much I dread that, by-and-by,
When we 're amongst the tainted,
And with the imps in Satan's sty
Are getting fast acquainted,

He'll point to us from Heaven's front row,
And wag his chin " I told them so ! "

STYX.



A SEA TRAGEDY. 61



A SEA TRAGEDY.

AND he lies there,
With the sand in his mouth and the salt in his hair
And I stand here,

Naked and burnt in the blazing sun :
And the Sea lies calm,
Shining and blue in the morning air,

Seeming unconscious of what it has done.

Curse you, O Sea !

You have robbed him of life and me of a friend
Wrecked us and tossed us here on the shore,
Just when the toil of our life was o'er.

Curse you, O Sea !

We have loved you and fought you many a year,
Laughed at your fury many a time,
Met you in peace and met you in storm ;
And now, as we gave you our last good-bye,
You acted the part of a treacherous foe ;
You have robbed me of fortune and friend at a blow.

Naked I am on the blazing sand

Not even a knife to dig him a grave :
Foodless, waterless here in a land

As bare of life as that gleaming wave.



62 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Faithful old chum !

We have lived together so many years
I do not care to part from you now.
Come ! I can lift you up in my arms,
Swim with you just a few fathoms from shore,
And sink with you into the Nevermore !

F. ROLLETT.



THE SILENCE OF MULLOCK CREEK.

HE was dubbed the Lisping Infant when he came to
Mullock Creek ;
Most confiding was his nature, and his manners they were

meek;
He was fair and wore an eyeglass, and a Sunday suit for

days;
He'd a soft, engaging simper, and such fascinating ways!



'T was a time of sore adversity, and sinful men and weak
Said that Fate created Clyde to be the prey of Mullock

Creek ;
For he 'd booked himself at Hogan's pub., effusively and

rash,
As the travelling representative of eighty thousand, cash.



THE SILENCE OF MULLOCK CREEK. 63

He was buying mining properties. His syndicate in town
Had the greatest faith in Mullock Creek. The terms were

money down.

So if any man amongst us wished to sell a likely show,
Would he kindly state his price, "and furnish samples

don't you know."

'Twas the softest thing on earth beneath. The Creek

dissembled well
Not a man about the field but had a score of shows to

sell-
But from Cooper's Hump to Fly bite they were roaring

down below
At the Johnnie buying leases "as per sample, don't you

know.* 1

Soon the joke was bandied freely, miners yelled it near

and far.
"Where 's yer samples ? " was the greeting on the brace

and in the bar ;
And each grimy digger answered he was " trav'lin' fer his

chief,
With a lovely lot o' samples of the latest lines o' reef ! "

But the Infant was oblivious, and when any of the throng


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Online LibraryJohn BurroughsThe Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 → online text (page 3 of 11)