“Snazelleparilla” [poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, 17 September 1899]

[Editor: A poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, published in The West Australian Sunday Times, 17 September 1899.]


Mr. G. H. Snazelle, the popular operatic singer and monologue entertainer, some time back published a beautifully got up edition of quips and cranks, alleged as happening amongst his personal experiences, and mostly in Australia. That he had drawn largely on the light literature of this continent was evident to Antipodeans who handled the book, and Mr. E. G. Murphy (“Dryblower”), when in London, got off the following lines in a review of the work published by a metropolitan journal:—

Why chafe against the exile’s chain, though fast our lives it’s cooping?
For here, across the mighty main, old friends to-day are trooping;
Some old and bent — some deadly dull — some sharp as banderilla —
Some drawn from out a misty age, but all must help to fill a page
In thee — Snazelleparilla.

Oft have we met them by the fire, beneath the scented gum,
Where seasoned swagmen fear inspire within the guileless chum;
O’er tropic seas that curl and dance from York to far Manilla
Full many a yarn has ceased to roam to find at last a peaceful home
In thee — Snazelleparilla.

From Kosciusco, cold and grey, to hell’s twin-brother, Bourke,
We’ve met the yarns that here to-day within your pages lurk;
Where high the willy-willy rears its dread cyclonic pillar,
We march again with dogged tramp to reach each yarn-infested camp
In thee — Snazelleparilla.

So welcome, ancient comrades all, strike root secure and deep,
Obedient to the Master’s call, the Rubicon you leap;
From bush and plain you come to cheer baronial hall and villa,
Through summer’s sun and winters gloom perennial shall the chestnut bloom
To thee — Snazelleparilla.

The book has only had a small sale, despite its remarkable title, which was the pride of the author. It has since been thought that the public have all along mistaken it for a treatise on some herbal remedy connected, possibly, with “Saraparilla.” Anyhow, it didn’t catch on.

The West Australian Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 17 September 1899, p. 5

Editor’s notes:
Antipodean = of or relating to Australia or New Zealand; normally used by Europeans to refer to Australians or New Zealanders, or items from those two countries, however, the term is also used by the inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand to refer to themselves (“antipodean” also refers to two things that are direct opposites, including two places or areas which are on opposite sides of the world; hence the origin of its usage regarding Australasia)

banderilla = a decorated long dart that a banderillero (a matador’s assistant) stabs into the neck or shoulders of a bull as part of a bullfight

chestnut = a reference to the phrase “old chestnut” (commonly expressed as “that old chestnut”), which refers to a story or joke which has been told many times before (the phrase is believed to have originated with the play “The Broken Sword” (1816), by William Dimond, in which a character tells the same joke, about a chestnut, over and over again)

Rubicon = (usually given in a phrase, such as “to cross the Rubicon” and “crossing the Rubicon”) to take an action, make a decision, or begin a process, which, once begun, cannot be changed or will have strong consequences; a point of no return (the phrase refers to the Rubicon river, or stream, in north-east Italy, which was a Roman boundary; no Roman general was allowed to lead an army into the republic of Rome, under penalty of treason; however, in 49 B.C. Julius Caesar had been recalled to Rome and faced prosecution, but once at the Rubicon he made the decision to march into Rome with the 13th Legion, thus causing a civil war, which he eventually won)

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