A Hot Day in Sydney [poem, 29 January 1829]

[Editor: A poem published in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 29 January 1829.]

A Hot Day in Sydney.

O this weather! this weather!
It’s more than a mortal can bear;
I fear we shall all melt together,
So dreadfully hot is the air.

On rising from bed in the morning,
You feel yourself thirsty and hot!
And while at the toilette adorning,
You’re helpless as though you’d been shot.

You get through the work with great trouble, —
The shave, and the wash, and the dress;
And then comes your breakfast, to double
The causes of former distress.

The coffee, the tea, and the butter,
The smoking-hot muffin and bread —
Although you have put to the shutter —
Invite you in vain to be fed.

The tea and the coffee are hissing,
The butter is melting away, —
The flies in the milk-jug are kissing,
The ants in the sugar-bowl play:—

You rise in disgust from the table,
And, with your umbrella unfurl’d,
You toddle, as well as you’re able,
To the haunts of the mercantile world.

But whether you sit in your office,
Or stroll to the market and shops,
To bargain for sugars or coffees,
For snuff, or tobacco, or hops;—

You still are by no means forgetting
The torments inflicted by heat —
For still you are puffing and sweating,
And longing for some cool retreat.

You wash in Cologn’s cooling water, —
You swallow some brisk ginger-beer, —
You say to some kind neighbour’s daughter,
“O give me some swizzle, my dear!”

You go to take luncheon at Bax’s,
And call for cool jellies and buns —
But hotter and hotter it waxes,
The jelly to liquid soon runs;—

His dainties are only a pester,
And so you withdraw from his shop;—
Loud rages the fiery North-wester,
As back to your office you pop.

The streets are with dust so beclouded,
You cannot see over the way;
The town is so perfectly shrowded,
You scarcely believe it is day.

At length comes the wish’d hour of dinner;
Away to your dwelling you go —
But still you are far from a winner,
The table displeases you so.

The poultry, the beef, and the mutton,
The cabbage, potatoes, and peas, —
Though cook’d to delight e’en a glutton, —
Your palate in no degree please:—

The porter, the wine, and the brandy,
Invite you to wet your parch’d lips,
And being so perfectly handy,
You take a succession of sips:—

But then your blood burns into fever,
And sets the whole system on fire, —
And finding the drink a deceiver,
You soon from the table retire.

The drawing-room then you proceed to,
And join in the ladies’ discourse;
But the heat will not let you give heed to
The topics their sweet lips enforce.

They offer you tea, bread, and butter,
And other good things on the tray;
But while you your gratitude mutter,
The tea-things you wish far away.

They press the piano, with fingers
So graceful, so taper, so fair,
That while on the scene your heart lingers,
At the heat you are tempted to swear.

And while they are busily fanning
Their beautiful faces and necks,
To please them you fain would be planning,
Did the heat not so cruelly vex.

At length you retire to your pillow,
And hope for some comfort in sleep;—
But you toss like a tempest-wrought billow,
And cannot in one posture keep.

The heat almost stops your respiring, —
The blanket and quilt you kick off;—
The peace you had hoped in retiring,
You deplore in a yawn and a cough.

Mosquitos keep humming and stinging;
Alighting all over your face;—
The cricket and locust are singing,
And sleep flees your eyelids apace.

And there you lie tossing and tumbling,
So heated, and bitten, and stung, —
So weary of puffing and grumbling, —
You are ready to wish yourself hung.

And such are the pleasures of summer,
In this Australasian land;—
How charming to every new-comer,
If thus they can charm an old hand!

But still I would bear it with patience,
And so I would recommend you —
Convinc’d that, of all the earth’s nations,
Not one would be faultless to Q.

Sydney, Jan. 27, 1829.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 29 January 1829, p. 3

Editor’s notes:
It appears that the author has included his signature (“Q”) as part of the poem.

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