Skyline Riders and Other Verses

The Horse and Cart Ferry

Henry Lawson

    IT WAS old Jerry Brown,
    Who’d an office in town,
And he used to get jocular, very;
    And he’d go to the Shore
    When they’d serve him no more,
And, of course, by the passenger ferry,
A sight on the passenger ferry.

    Now this is a song of the ferry,
    And a lay of the juice of the berry;
    ’Tis the ballad of Brown,
    Who’d a business in town,
    And commenced to go down
        Very slow,
        Don’t you know?
    By coming home just a bit merry.

    By the Drunks’ Boat—that’s right—
    On a Saturday night
He would often be past being merry;
    With his back teeth afloat,
    On the twelve o’clock boat,
And a spectacle there on the ferry
(A picture to all on the ferry).

    In the mornings, ashamed—
    ’Twas the last drink he blamed,
Though the first was the matter with Jerry,
    With his nerve out of joint,
    He’d sneak down to Blue’s Point,
And he’d cross by the horse-and-cart ferry,
Like a thief—by the horse-and-cart ferry.

    But long before night
    He’d most likely be tight,
And a subject and theme for George Perry;
    And he’d cross to the Shore,
    Somewhat worse than before,
And a nuisance to all on the ferry;
Singing-drunk on the passenger ferry.

    And so it went on
    Till his reason seemed gone,
And the Law, so it seemed, got a derry
    On Brown. He went down,
    And they sent him to town
One day, by “the trap,” on the ferry—
The Government trap on the ferry.

    He was sober and sane
    When he came back again,
And the past he’d determined to bury—
    Or, I mean, live it down—
    And he crossed from the town
Like a man, on the passenger ferry.
(There were sceptical souls on that ferry.)

    They say ’twas the jaw
    Of his mother-in-law
Drove him back to the juice of the berry;
    But he soon got afloat
    On the passenger boat
Or adrift on the horse-and-cart ferry
(Wrongly called the ve-hic-ular ferry).

    The drink had him fast,
    And he drank till at last
He dried up—a withered old cherry;
    And they thought him no loss
    When they sent him across
In a box, on the cart-and-horse ferry—
In a low, covered trap on the ferry.

    Which I rise to explain—
    If the moral ain’t plain,
And if you’re a cove that gets merry—
    Always stick, when “afloat,”
    To the passenger boat;
Or else to the cart-and-horse ferry,
Or you’ll make matters worse, like old Jerry.

    But this is the song of the ferry,
    And the lay of the juice of the berry;
    And you will not deny—
    If you read by-and-bye—
    That the casual eye
        Of the Tight
        At first sight
    Misses much in the song of the ferry.

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