The Dog in the Manger [poem by W. T. Goodge, 7 February 1909]

[Editor: This poem by W. T. Goodge was published in The Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), 7 February 1909. In this poem Goodge, who was born in England, takes exception to the call of the Labor Council in Newcastle (NSW) to minimise immigration to Australia.]

The Dog in the Manger.

(For the “Sunday Times.”)

[“The Newcastle (N.S.W.) Labor Council has warned the Imperial Parliamentary Labor Committee that the present supply of labor in New South Wales greatly exceeds the demand, and that men of all ranks are earning a precarious livelihood.” — Cable from London to Sydney, 6/2/09.]

Not alone the Asiatic doth his narrow soul abhor;
And ’tis not a White Australia he is really fighting for!
He would bar all colored persons, not because they’re colored, but
They’re among the outside aliens against whom the gate is shut!
It is not alone the German, French, Italian, Swiss, and Dutch
Who should be denied admission. Nation doesn’t matter much!
He, most likely, came from Europe; or his father came from there;
But he wants to bar ALL persons who may come from ANYWHERE!
Is “Australia for Australians,” then, to be the battle-cry?
If a man is not a Native must he pack his traps and fly?
Must I hie me home to London (little town where I was born),
While my young Australian children treat their “foreign” Dad with scorn?
If all “foreigners” from Britain should be ordered to return;
Who would lead the Labor Unions? I’d be very pleased to learn!
Take the working man’s misleaders, seriatim, one by one,
Can you find a born Australian ’midst the strife-promoters? None!
No; the narrow-minded programme is to keep this continent
For its present occupiers, and at that to rest content!
He (the dog) would bar his brothers and would blindly trust to Fate
Till the swarming hordes of Asia come a-hammering at the gate!


The Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), 7 February 1909, p. 7

Editor’s notes:
hie = hurry; to go quickly

’midst = amidst; of or in the middle of an area, group, position, etc.

seriatim = occurring in a series; to take individually in a certain order; to take one subject after another in sequence; point by point

’tis = a contraction of “it is”

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