Hides and Tallow [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in The Ways of Many Waters (1899).]


Hides and Tallow.

Here ain’t a lavender ditty,
Sung by a sweet-scented cove;
Here ain’t no wine-inspired, witty
Story of Honour and Love.
Here is the song of the Taller;
Likewise the chanty of ’Ides,
Greasy an’ dirty an’ yaller,
Gritty an’ stinkin’ besides —
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

Potes who ’ave nourished on roses,
Given to sipping of dew,
Potes with sus-ceptible noses,
This ain’t intended for you!
These are the lands that lie fallow,
Unploughed by the pens of Romance;
This is the ode of the tallow, —
Odorous tallow perchance;

The whenceness of Which an’ the Whither,
No creed of no church ain’t secure;
Old fashions and fancies may wither,
One fact it is certain an’ sure —
There’s nothink smells worse nor the taller,
Always exceptin’ the ’ides;
Grimy, an’ sweaty, an’ yaller,
Gritty an’ greasy besides,
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

The wool bales is easy to lumber;
We knows ’em the same as a book;
The clerk keeps his eye on the number,
You cop ’em right side with yer ’ook.
You knows a dern “dump” when you spot ’im;
You ’ump ’im, an’ truck ’im away:
A cask, you’ll perceive, when you’ve got ’im,
Ain’t never constructed that way.

’E slips, an’ ’e rolls, an’ ’e shices,
’E bucks, an’ ’e wobbles, an’ worse,
’E jams, an’ ’e rams, an’ entices
’Ard-workin’ pore blokes for to curse, —
Oh, burn all the pro-duct of taller!
An’ sink all the pro-duct of ’ides!
It’s ’eavy an’ dirty an’ yaller,
It’s greasy an’ stinkin’ besides —
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

The thing that gets over a feller
Is kids, an’ a missus to keep:
It don’t make ’is lot none too meller;
It don’t much provoke ’im to sleep;
’E ain’t got no time to grow lazy;
’E’s got to look limber an’ slick,
Though taller ’d drive a cove crazy,
An’ ’ides makes a feller go sick.

So that is the reason we’re lumpin’
Them pro-ducts that’s awkwardly rolled;
A-thumpin’ our shin-bones, an’ bumpin’
The same to their place in the ’old.
If ’ell is as ’ot as they tell us,
We need n’t be gallied by that,
The devils will strike when they smell us
A-rendering up of our fat!

The Preacher, whose pulpit is furnished
With cushions of velvet an’ silk,
With bloomin’ brass rails, brightly burnished,
Who scoffs all the honey and milk —
’E often gets up, an’ ’e preaches
A sermon on cussin’ an’ beer,
On liver an’ bacon, an’ peaches!
’E guys us pore sinners down ’ere.

But, Lord! let him rip off ’is cassock
An’ peel to ’is sanctified pelt;
Give over ’is nice feather ’assock,
An’ kneel where us jokers ’as knelt,
With sweat an’ ’ard graft for to haller
’Is soul, an’ ’is body besides!
Contrition ain’t nothink to taller,
An’ prayin’ ain’t in it with ’ides —
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

We ain’t much addicted to sorrow,
We’re given right over to slang;
It’s yakker to-day, ’an to-morrow
You’re smashed and they don’t give a ’ang.
There’s Jones — ’e was workin’ last Monday —
Cask rolled an’ she pinned ’im long-side —
They’ll carve up ’is innards ’fore Sunday
To find out the reason ’e died.

The brokers is scoopin’ their profit;
It pays ’em right up to the hilt;
Cham-pagne is their tap, an’ they scoff it, —
The buyers don’t growl if it’s spilt.
But beer’s our own tack, an’ we booze it;
’T is good for our common insides;
’T is good for yer soul if you views it
Al-right through the taller an’ ’ides —
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

This hugly four-master she offers
A ’old that’s as deep as the deuce;
The takings will bulge their fat coffers,
By gosh! but we’ll stew in our juice.
Their mess-kids is smokin’ up forrard —
My breakfast it mainly were bread;
This feel in your stummick is ’orrid,
It’s worse nor the feel in your ’ead.

By God! if I’m tempted to leave ’er,
To get one more sniff o’ the sea,
My bloomin’ “ole Dutch” were a griever —
It’s longshore an’ cuss it for me.
It’s ’umpin’ the wool in ’ot seasons;
It’s rollin’ these casks in the cold;
It’s “Stand by the slings!” — for good reasons;
Get graft, an’ more graft, an’ grow old.

I’m clewed to four walls an’ a table,
The chairs an’ the kids an’ the wife;
I’m petticoat-tied, and ain’t able
To kick for the old rovin’ life;
I’m hitched to the wool an’ the taller,
The copra, an’ sich like besides;
I’m spliced to the bales an’ the taller,
The ’orns an’ the bones an’ the ’ides —
’Ides an’ taller, taller an’ ’ides!

I’ve got a spare judy out yonder;
I ’ad a nice gal in Bombay;
Wot’s Nelly a-doin’, I wonder?
I’ll cut my stick over some day . . .
By guns! were I just a bit younger
I’d slip in the twink o’ the tides;
This bleedin’ ole tub she could ’unger
For me, for ’er taller an’ ’ides —
’Ides an’ Taller!
An’ ’Ides!!

E. J. Brady, The Ways of Many Waters, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1909 [first published 1899], pages 13-17

Editor’s notes:
cussing = cursing, swearing

don’t give a hang = to care little for something

guy = to good-humoredly annoy, or make fun of

hold = a ship’s hold, the area of a ship where cargo is stored

yakker = (also spelt “yakka”) work

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
’ang (hang)
’assock (cassock)
cussin’ (cussing)
feller (fellow)
’ides (hides)
meller (mellow)
’old (hold)
pore (poor)
taller (tallow)
’unger (hunger)
yaller (yellow)

Speak Your Mind