Backblock Ballads and Later Verses


C.J. Dennis

AW, go write yer tinklin’ jingle, an’ yer pretty phrases mingle,
    Fer the mamby-pamby girl, all fluffy frill an’ shinin’ silk.
Them’s the sort ter fetch yer trouble, when yer tries ’em, in the double.
    Blow yer beauty! Wot’s the matter with the maiden ’oo kin milk?
Them there rhymers uv the wattle!    An’ the bardlet uv the bottle—
    ’Im that sings uv sparklin’ wine, an’ does a perish fer the beer;
An’ yer slap-dash ’orsey po-it!    Garn!    If you blokes only know it,
    You ’ave missed the single subjec’ fit ter rhyme about down ’ere.
An’ although I ain’t a bard, with bloomin’ bays upon me brow,
I kinsider that it’s up ter me ter sing about The Cow.

                        Cow, Cow—
                (Though it ain’t a pretty row,
It’s a word that ’ipnertises me; I couldn’t tell yer ’ow.)
                Though I ain’t a gifted rhymer,
                Nor a blamed Parnassus climber,
I’m inspired ter sing a tune er two about the Blessed Cow.

0h, the cow-bells are a-tinklin’, and the daisies are a twinklin’—
    Well, that ain’t the style ersackly I intended fer to sing.
’Ark, was ever music greater then the buzzin’ sepy-rater,
    Coinin’ gaily money daily fer the—no, that’s not the thing!
’Omeward comes the cows a-lowin’, an’ the butter-cups are blowin’;
    But there’s better butter in the—Blarst! That ain’t the proper way!
See the pretty milkmaid walkin’—aw, it ain’t no use er talkin’.
    Listen ’ere, I want ter tell yer this: A COW’S THER THING TER PAY!
Sell yer ’orses, sell yer arrers, an’ yer reapers, an’ yer plough;
If yer want yer land ter pay yer, sacrifice yer life ter Cow.

                        Cow, Cow—
                Sittin’ underneath the bough,
With a bail, an’ with a pail, an’ with a little stool, an’ thou
                Kickin’ when I pull yer teat there,
                Swishin’ flies, the pretty creatur.
Ah, there ain’t no music sweeter—money squirtin’ from the Cow.

Take away the wine-cup; take it.    An’ the foamin’ flagon, break it.
    Brimmin’ cups uv butter-milk’ll set yer glowin’ thro’ an’ thro’;
An’ the reason I’m teetotal is becos me thrifty throat’ll
    Jest refuse ter swaller stuff that’s costin’ me a precious sou.
Once I wus a sinful spender. Used ter go a roarin’ bender—
    Used ter often spend a thruppence when ther’ wasn’t any need.
An’ the many ways I’ve busted money, when I should er trusted
    It ter cattle an’ erconomy, ’ud cause yer ’eart ter bleed
But I’m glad, me friends, that godliness ’as made me careful now;
Tho’ I lorst the thing wot’s next it when I cottoned ter the Cow.

                        Cow, Cow—
                Trudin’ thro’ the sloppy slough.
Ah, I once despised the Jews, but I kin under-stand ’em now—
                When they needed elevatin’,
                An’ ole Moses kep’ ’em waitin’
Fer religi’n, they went straight ’n’ sorter substichooted Cow.

Listen to the lowin’ cattle.    Listen to the buckets rattle,
    See, the sun is—(’ERE! YOU BILL!    Yer goin’ ter stay all day asleep?
’Ustle, or yer’ll get a taste er—Wot?    No cheek yer flamin’ waster!
    This is wot I get fer payin’ ’ARF A QUID A WEEK AN’ KEEP!
Talk about yer unions, will yer?    Right, me covey, wait until yer
    Come ’ere crawlin’—WHERE’S THAT SARAH?    Ain’t she finished milkin’ Spot?
Is this wot I brought yer up fer; reared, an’ give yer bite an’ sup fer?
    ’Struth! A man’s own kids ’ll next be talkin’ Union, like as not
Garn, I ain’t got time ter listen ter yer silly sniv’lin’ now.
Understan’ me, you was born an’ bred ter THINK AN’ LIVE FER Cow!)

                        Cow, Cow—
                I’m a capitalist now
Tho’ I once wus poor an’ lonely, an’ a waster I’ll allow.
                Now I’ve ’an’s that I kin ’ector:
                I’m a Nupper ’Ouse elector;
An’ the Sanitry Inspector is an interferin’ cow!

Talk about yer modrun schoolin’! Edjucation’s wasteful foolin’!
    I got on without it; an’ it only teaches youngsters cheek—
(Where’s young Tom? Wot? Ain’t ’e back yet?
    Sam, go—’Ere    YOU’LL GET THE SACK YET!
Wastin’ time there, washin’ buckets! THEM WUS WASHED LARST CHOOSDEE WEEK!
    Tell young Tom if ’e don’t ’urry, I’ll——.    Now, mother, don’t yer worry.
I’ll deal Christian with ’im; but I’m not a Bible pa by ’alf.
    That ole Scripchure cove’s a driv’lin’ idjut.    When ’is son comes sniv’lin’,
Why, the blazin’, wasteful crim’nal GOES AN’ KILLS A PODDY CALF!
I’m no dotin’ daddy, but I know me jooty, you’ll allow,
An’ the children uv me loins is born to ’ave respect fer Cow.)

                        Cow, Cow—
                (Bow yer ’eads, yer blighters, bow!)
Come an’ be initiated.    Come an’ take the milky vow,
                Put yer wife an’ fam’ly in it;
                Work ’em ev’ry wakin’ minit;
Fetch yer sordid soul an’ pin it, signed an’ sealed an’ sold ter COW.

Backblock Ballads and Later Verses - Contents

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