The Old House in Park Street [poem, 22 September 1855]

[Editor: One of a number of poetic advertisements produced by Wiley & Son, under the heading of “The Old House in Park Street”. This particular poetic advertisement encouraged the public to buy baskets, so to carry their food and drinks to the opening of the Sydney and Parramatta Railway. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 1855.]

The Old House in Park Street.

“To laugh and grow fat,” is a good English rule,
And he who condemns it is not from our school;
So prone are mankind to be brooding o’er grief,
That we’re proud when some holiday brings us relief.
And when, since Australia first had a name,
Or her sons ceased from toil to rejoice at her fame,
Has there been a cause like the Christening Day
Of her offspring, the Sydney and Parramatta Railway!
Then let all employers but join in our text;
’Tis give labour a holiday on Wednesday next –
We are proud of the line, and more proud of the men,
Who, in spite of a fastion, in spite of the pen,
Have carried their work to that glorious end,
Which, full soon, both the rich and the poor will befriend.
But this is all foreign to what we intended
To say when we started; and now we’ve near ended,
Though on Wednesday next there’s to be a great fete –
You must bear in mind, you will have nothing to eat,
So punish yourselves e’er you go on the rail
With a basket to carry your sandwiches and ale.
A basket you’ll want, to carry your prog –
A basket you’ll want to carry your grog,
You’ll honor the railway, of course, with a cheer,
So pray take a basket to carry your beer.

Wiley and Son, basket makers and chair caners, 11, Park-street, and 636, George-street South.
N.B. Wednesday being a general holiday (not our fault if it is not), no business done after 11 a.m.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 22 September 1855, page 5 (column 6)

[Editor: Corrected “Wiley and Sons” to “Wiley and Son”.]

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