Poem – Jane And Eliza

There were two little girls, neither handsome nor plain;
One’s name was Eliza, the other’s was Jane:
They were both of one height, as I’ve heard people say,
They were both of one age, I believe, to a day.

‘Twas fancied by some, who but slightly had seen them,
That scarcely a difference was there between them;
But no one for long in this notion persisted,
So great a distinction there really existed.

Eliza knew well that she could not be pleasing,
While fretting and fuming, while sulky or teasing;
And therefore in company artfully tried­
Not to break her bad habits, but only to hide.

So when she was out, with much labour and pain,
She contrived to look almost a pleasant as Jane;
But then you might see, that in forcing a smile,
Her mouth was uneasy, and ached all the while.

And in spite of her care, it would sometimes befall,
That some cross event happen’d to ruin it all;
And because it might chance that her share was the worst,
Her temper broke loose, and her dimples dispersed.

But Jane, who had nothing she wanted to hide,
And therefore these troublesome arts never tried,
Had none of the care and fatigue of concealing,
But her face always show’d what her bosom was feeling.

At home or abroad there was peace in her smile,
A cheerful good nature that needed no guile.
And Eliza work’d hard, but could never obtain
The affection that freely was given to Jane.

Poem – Meddlesome Matty

One ugly trick has often spoil’d
The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
One ugly trick possess’d,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she’d lift the tea-pot lid,
To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day,
And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
Too near the little maid;
“Ah! well,” thought she, “I’ll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone. ”

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
The snuff-box too she spied:
“Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I’ll open it,” said little Matt.

“I know that grandmamma would say,
‘Don’t meddle with it, dear;’
But then, she’s far enough away,
And no one else is near:
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this? ”

So thumb and finger went to work
To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.

Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dash’d the spectacles away,
To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
Her grandmamma she spies.
“Heyday! and what’s the matter now?”
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore.
And ’tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.

Poem – Little Girls Must Not Fret

WHAT is it that makes little Emily cry?
Come then, let mamma wipe the tear from her eye:
There–lay down your head on my bosom–that’s right,
And now tell mamma what’s the matter to-night.

What! Emmy is sleepy, and tired with play?
Come, Betty, make haste then, and fetch her away;
But do not be fretful, my darling; you know
Mamma cannot love little girls that are so.

She shall soon go to bed and forget it all there–
Ah! here’s her sweet smile come again, I declare:
That’s right, for I thought you quite naughty before.
Good night, my dear child, but don’t fret any more.

Poem – The Lost Drink

I had spent the night in the watch-house —
My head was the size of three —
So I went and asked the chemist
To fix up a drink for me;
And he brewed it from various bottles
With soda and plenty of ice,
With something that smelt like lemon,
And something that seemed like spice.
It fell on my parching palate
Like the dew on a sunbaked plain,
And my system began to flourish
Like the grass in the soft spring rain;
It wandered throughout my being,
Suffusing my soul with rest,
And I felt as I “scoffed” that liquid
That life had a new-found zest.

I have been on the razzle-dazzle
Full many a time since then
But I never could get the chemist
To brew me that drink again.
He says he’s forgotten the notion —
‘Twas only by chance it came —
He’s tried me with various liquids
But oh! they are not the same.

We have sought, but we sought it vainly,
That one lost drink divine;
We have sampled his various bottles,
But somehow they don’t combine:
Yet I know when I cross the River
And stand on the Golden Shore
I shall meet with an angel chemist
To brew me that drink once more.

Poem – Our Mat

It came from the prison this morning,
Close-twisted, neat-lettered, and flat;
It lies the hall doorway adorning,
A very good style of a mat.

Prison-made! how the spirit is moven
As we think of its story of dread —
What wiles of the wicked are woven
And spun in its intricate thread!

The letters are new, neat and nobby,
Suggesting a masterly hand —
Was it Sikes, who half-murdered the bobby,
That put the neat D on the “and”?

Some banker found guilty of laches —
It’s always called laches, you know —
Had Holt any hand in those Hs?
Did Bertrand illumine that O?

That T has a look of the gallows,
That A’s a triangle, I guess;
Was it one of the Mount Rennie fellows
Who twisted the strands of the S?

Was it made by some “highly connected”,
Who is doing his spell “on his head”,
Or some wretched woman detected
In stealing her children some bread?

Does it speak of a bitter repentance
For the crime that so easily came?
Of the wearisome length of the sentence,
Of the sin, and the sorrow, and shame?

A mat! I should call it a sermon
On sin, to all sinners addressed;
It would take a keen judge to determine
Whether writer or reader is best.

Though the doorway be hard as a pavestone,
I rather would use it than that —
I’d as soon wipe my boots on a gravestone,
As I would on that Darlinghurst mat!

Poem – Driver Smith

Twas Driver Smith of Battery A was anxious to see a fight;
He thought of the Transvaal all the day, he thought of it all the night —
“Well, if the battery’s left behind, I’ll go to the war,” says he,
“I’ll go a-driving and ambulance in the ranks of the A.M.C.
“I’m fairly sick of these here parades — it’s want of a change that kills —
A-charging the Randwick Rifle Range and aiming at Surry Hills.
And I think if I go with the ambulance I’m certain to find a show,
For they have to send the Medical men wherever the troops can go.

“Wherever the rifle bullets flash and the Maxims raise a din,
It’s here you’ll find the Medical men a-raking the wounded in —
A-raking ’em in like human flies — and a driver smart like me
Will find some scope for his extra skill in the ranks of the A.M.C.”

So Driver Smith he went to war a-cracking his driver’s whip,
From ambulance to collecting base they showed him his regular trip.
And he said to the boys that were marching past, as he gave his whip a crack,
“You’ll walk yourselves to the fight,” says he — “Lord spare me, I’ll drive you back.”

Now the fight went on in the Transvaal hills for the half of a day or more,
And Driver Smith he worked his trip — all aboard for the seat of war!
He took his load from the stretcher men and hurried ’em homeward fast
Till he heard a sound that he knew full well — a battery rolling past.

He heard the clink of the leading chains and the roll of the guns behind —
He heard the crack of the drivers’ whips, and he says to ’em, “Strike me blind,
I’ll miss me trip with this ambulance, although I don’t care to shirk,
But I’ll take the car off the line today and follow the guns at work.”

Then up the Battery Colonel came a-cursing ’em black in the face.
“Sit down and shift ‘e,, you drivers there, and gallop ’em into place.”
So off the Battery rolled and swung, a-going a merry dance,
And holding his own with the leading gun goes Smith with his ambulance.

They opened fire on the mountain side, a-peppering by and large,
When over the hill above their flank the Boers came down at the charge;
They rushed the guns with a daring rush, a-volleying left and right,
And Driver Smith and his ambulance moved up to the edge of the fight.

The gunners stuck to their guns like men, and fought as the wild cats fight,
For a Battery man don’t leave his gun with ever a hope in sight;
But the bullets sang and the Mausers cracked and the Battery men gave away,
Till Driver Smith with his ambulance drove into the thick of the fray.

He saw the head of the Transvaal troop a-thundering to and fro,
A hard old face with a monkey beard — a face that he seemed to know;
“Now who’s that leader?” said Driver Smith. “I’ve seen him before today.
Why, bless my heart, but it’s Kruger’s self,” and he jumped for him straight away.

He collared old Kruger round the waist and hustled him into the van.
It wasn’t according to stretcher drill for raising a wounded man;
But he forced him in and said, “All aboard, we’re off for a little ride,
And you’ll have the car to yourself,” says he, “I reckon we’re full inside.”

He wheeled his team on the mountain side and set ’em a merry pace,
A-galloping over the rocks and stones, and a lot of the Boers gave chase;
Bur Driver Smith had a fairish start, and he said to the Boers, “Good-day,
You have Buckley’s chance for to catch a man that was trained in Battery A.”

He drove his team to the hospital bed and said to the P.M.O.,
“Beg pardon, sir, but I missed the trip, mistaking the way to go;
And Kruger came to the ambulance and asked could we spare a bed,
So I fetched him here, and we’ll take him home to show for a bob a head.”

So the word went round to the English troops to say they need fight no more,
For Driver Smith with his ambulance had ended the blooming war.
And in London now at the music halls he’s starring it every night,
And drawing a hundred pounds a week to tell how he won the fight.

Poem – Hard Luck

I left the course, and by my side
There walked a ruined tout —
A hungry creature, evil-eyed,
Who poured this story out.
“You see,” he said, “there came a swell
To Kensington today,
And, if I picked the winners well,
A crown at least he’s pay.

“I picked three winners straight, I did;
I filled his purse with pelf,
And then he gave me half-a-quid
To back one for myself.

“A half-a-quid to me he cast —
I wanted it indeed;
So help me Bob, for two days past
I haven’t had a feed.

“But still I thought my luck was in,
I couldn’t go astray —
I put it all on Little Min,
And lost it straightaway.

“I haven’t got a bite or bed,
I’m absolutely stuck;
So keep this lesson in your head:
Don’t over-trust your luck!”

The folks went homeward, near and far,
The tout, oh! where is he?
Ask where the empty boilers are
Beside the Circular Quay.