Jugger [poem by Louis Esson]

[Editor: This poem by Louis Esson was published in Red Gums and Other Verses (1912). The poem is written from the viewpoint of someone celebrating the release of a friend from jail.]


Give the push the office,
Pass the ’at erlong,
Won’t the Flying Angels
’Ave er dance and song!
We’ve er busker organ,
Beer, an’ crimson cr’y,
Won’t we blow the froth orf!
Jugger’s owt ter-d’y.

Jugger got er sixer,
Toppin’ orf er John,
Stouched ’im wi er bottle,
Back o’ Little Lon.
Wen they tried ter bluff ’im
Give the push aw’y,
Swore blind ’e never seen us,
Jugger’s owt ter-d’y.

Won’t them ’awkers edge it
Wen ’e passes now!
Not er shutter lifted
Since they jugged ’im. Yow!
Not er decent mix-up
Since ’e went aw’y.
Won’t it nark the rozzers!
Jugger’s owt ter-d’y.

All the tarts iz waitin’,
Lining Little Lon,
In ther flashest clobber,
Battlin’ ter git on.
Floss and Mag and Clara —
Won’t the feathers fly
Wen ’e picks the winner!
Jugger’s owt ter-d’y.

Watch the Johns go steady,
’E’s the bloke to fite,
’E’s the peb, gorblime,
Blow eround ter-nite.
Sling yer ’arf-er-dollar,
Tords the beer an’ cr’y,
It’s up to us to do ’im proud,
Jugger’s owt ter-d’y.

Louis Esson, Red Gums and Other Verses, Melbourne: Fraser & Jenkinson, 1912, pages 36-37

Editor’s notes:
bloke = man, chap, fellow

clobber = clothes; accessories, equipment, personal belongings, or supplies (can also mean to strike someone severely; beat, criticize, defeat, or treat harshly)

feathers fly = fight (a reference to a cock fight between roosters, as their feathers fly, or come off them, during the course of their battle)

flash = showy, vulgar; fashionable or showy, but often in a way that shows a lack of taste

gorblime = an exclamation which expresses surprise (a contraction of the phrase “God blind me”, which is believed to be a shorter version of “May God blind me if it is not so”, or similar phrases, used to assert truthfulness); variations include “cor blimey”, “corblimey”, “gawblimy”, “gawblimey”, “gorblime”, and “gorblimey”

jugged = put into prison (“jug” is slang for jail/gaol)

Little Lon = Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

nark = annoy, irritate, upset (can also refer to an informer, stool pigeon, or spy)

pass the hat = raise money (from the practice of passing an upturned hat around a group of people for them to put in money, so as to raise funds)

push = a gang; historically, the term refers to a street gang; may also be used to refer to a group

rozzer = policeman; police (also spelt “rosser”)

sixer = a six month sentence in jail

stouch = hit, punch (stoush may also mean to fight or brawl)

tart = a young woman; C. J. Dennis, in the glossary for The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, says that the word is a contraction of “sweetheart” (a later meaning is: a woman who behaves or dresses in such a way as to be considered sexually provocative; an older meaning is: prostitute)

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
an’ (and)
’arf-er-dollar (half-a-dollar)
’at (hat)
’ave (have)
’awker (hawker)
aw’y (away)
’e (he)
er (a)
erlong (along)
eround (around)
fite (fight)
git (get)
’im (him)
iz (is)
o’ (of)
orf (off)
owt (out)
ter (to)
ter-d’y (to-day; today)
ter-nite (to-night; tonight)
ther (their)
tords (towards)
waitin’ (waiting)
wen (when)
wi (with)
yer (your)

Speak Your Mind