Backblock Ballads and Later Verses


C.J. Dennis

NOW, Ma-til-der!    Ain’t cher dressed yet? I declare, the girl ain’t up!
Last as ushul.    Move yerself, you sleepy’-ead!
Are you goin’ to lie there lazin’,
W’ile I—Nell, put down that basin;
Go an’ see if Bill has got the poddies fed;
Tell ’im not to move that clucky—ho, yer up, me lady, eh?
That’s wot comes from gallivantin’ late ut night.
Why, the sun is nearly—see now,
Don’t chu dare talk back at me now!
Set the table, Nell!    Where’s Nell?    Put out that light!

Now then, ’urry, goodness, ’urry!    Mary, tell the men to come.
Oh there, drat the girl!    MA-TIL-DER! where’s the jam?
You fergot it? Well, uv all ther. . . . 
Mary! ’Ear me tell you call ther. . . . 
Now, then, take ’er steady, clumsy, or she’ll cut herself—LEAVE OFF!
Do you want the cow to—There!    I never did!
Well, you mighter took ’er steady.
Sit up, Dad, yer late already.
Did ju put the tea in, Mary?    Where’s the lid?

Oh, do ’urry!    Where’s them buckets?    Nell, ’as Bill brought in the cows?
Where’s that boy?    Ain’t finished eatin’ yet, uv course;
Eat all day if ’e wus let to.
Mary, where’d yer father get to?
Gone!    Wot!    Call ’im back!    DAD!    Wot about that ’orse?
No, indeed, it ain’t my business; you kin see the man yerself.
No, I won’t!    I’m sure I’ve quite enough to do.
If ’e calls ter-day about it,
’E kin either go without it,
Or elst walk acrost the paddick out to you.

Are the cows in, B-i-ll?    Oh, there they are.    Well, nearly time they—Nell,
Feed the calves, an’ pack the—Yes, indeed ju will!
Get the sepy-rater ready.
Woa, there, Baldy—steady, steady.
Bail up.    Stop-er!    Hi, Matilder!    MARY!    BILL!
Well, uv all th’. . . . Now you’ve done it.
Wait till Dad comes ’ome to-night;
When ’e sees the mess you’ve—Don’t stand starin’ there!
Go an’ get the cart an’ neddy;
An’ the cream cans—are they ready?
Where’s the. . . . There!    Fergot the fowls, I do declare!

Chuck!—Chook!—CHOOK!    Why, there’s that white un lost another chick to-day!
Nell, ’ow many did I count?—Oh, stop that row!
Wot’s ’e doin’?    Oh, you daisy!
Do you mean to tell me, lazy,
Thet you ’aven’t fed the pigs until jus’ now?
Oh, do ’urry!    There’s the men ull soon be knockin’ off fer lunch.
An’ we ’aven’t got the. . . . Reach that bacon down.
Get the billies, Nell, an’—Mary,
Go an’ fetch the. . . . Wot?    ’Ow dare ’e!
Bill, yer NOT to wear yer best ’at inter town!

Get up the cans, an’—Nell, go down the paddick with the lunch;
There’s that dog gone off with. . . . Bill, do ’urry on!
You must get to town in fas’ time.
Or you’ll miss the train like las’ time.
Oh, an’ Bill, if there’s SOME EMPTIES. . . . There, ’e’s gone!
Now then, Mary, ’urry up, or. . . . Ow!
TAKE IT FRUM ’IM, or ’e’ll chew it inter bits!
You’d no right to leave it out there
With them calves and things about there.
’Eavens wot a state! Dad’s best! My, you’ll get fits!

’Ave you washed the things, Matilder?    Oh, do ’urry, girl, yer late!
Seems to me you trouble more—TAKE CARE!—You dunce!
Now you’ve broke it!    Well I never!
Ain’t chu mighty smart an’ clever;
Try’n to carry arf a dozen things at once.
No back answers now!    You hussy!    Don’t chu dare talk back at me
Or I’ll. . . . Nelly, did ju give them eggs to Bill?
Wot?    CHU NEVER?    Well I. . . . Mary,
Bring them dishes frum the dairy;
No, not them, the. . . . Lord, the sun’s be’ind the hill!

.     .     .     .     .

All right, Dad, all right; don’t worry. Now Matilder, goodness, ’urry!
Where’d ju put that pie that’s over? Wot? Which shelf?
Mary, wot about the tea things?
Must I alwis ’ave to see things
Managed proper? Can’t chu ’tend to it yerself?
Where’s that Bill? Wot! ain’t ’e back yet? Did ju ever see the like?
Dad, ju’ll ’ave to take an’ talk to that young Turk.
Ev’ry time ’e goes to town there,
’E just stays an’ loafs aroun’ there;
While ’e leaves us wimmin ’ere to slave an’ work.

’Ave you cleaned the sepy-rater, Nell?    Well, get along to bed.
No; you can’t go ’crost to Thompson’s place to-night;
You wus there las’ Chusday—See, miss,
Don’t chu toss your head at me, miss!
I won’t ’ave it.    Mary, ’urry with that light!
Now then, get yer Dad the paper.    Set down, Dad—ju must be tired.
’Ere, Matilder, put that almanick away!
Where’s them stockin’s I wus darnin’?
Bill an’ Mary, stop yer yarnin’!
Now then, Dad.    Heigh-ho!    Me fust sit down ter-day.

Backblock Ballads and Later Verses - Contents

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