[Editor: A poem by Grant Hervey, published in his “Cuts and Carvings” column in The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 28 December 1902.]
A Molloy Melody.
Lo, we send a Christmas present to thee, Thomas, in a pleasant, and a gentle, early Christian frame of journalistic mind;
’Tis the time when men forgiving all their foes who yet are living, step aside to welt them fairly with a sandbag from behind!
Unto thee, we send this from us, pray receive it, gentle Thomas, for ’tis sent in gladsome greeting and a state of soul most gay;
In your stocking do we put it, and we pray no thief may loot it, bearing this, your Christmas babble, from your dear bed-rail away! —
Every child should have its present, so we bid you, Tom, look pleasant; keep your wrathful gorge from rising, chiefest child in W. A.!
Man was fashioned in the image of the Lord (I nigh said Brimage!) — God was gazing in the mirror when he first invented man;
Yea, however, have the pleasure, O, you journalistic treasure, of knowing that you’re built on quite a different carcase plan.
Not that we should say who made you: Mephistoph’les pr’aps surveyed you — in our soaring hours of fancy do we see his two eyes bright;
Gleaming warmly in the distance, where with calm and grave insistence, he, the Prince of Fiends surveyed you with his own theodolite!
In our solemn hours of thinking, lo, we see his orblets blinking — gazing fondly on your features with an architect’s delight!
Whether God or Devil built you, or some unknown person spilt you through the yawning cracks of chaos, is too much for us to swear;
Only man must have his fancy, and in moments of romance he often finds the truth uncovered by the hand of Fortune fair!
We do merely print the notion, ere we seek a cooling lotion and prepare to spend our Christmas sinking shypee in the bar;
If it’s false we will not sorrow (for we draw our screw to-morrow), if it’s true it merely proveth what smart folks we TIMES scribes are!
If it’s falser than false Judas we will break no office Buddhas — we will merely whisper “Yea, miss, we will buy Martell’s Three Star.”
Lo, our intent now is pleasant, and we write no alkale-cent, scorching verse to sear your eyeballs with a warm, scorbutic brand;
Oh, we pray you, Tom, be cheerful, read not on askance and fearful; we are not upon the warpath and hold out a friendly hand.
We have “fell back” on you often, when our brains refused to waft in half a line of decent copy from the void where screed comes from;
We have used you as a fall-back and, we (pro. tem.) take it all back; we have laid aide the vitriol and have spiked our warm pom-pom;
For it is the gooseful season, lo, there blows a peaceful breeze in, and the TIMES cries “Truce!” and warbles “MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, TOM!”
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 28 December 1902, p. 12
alkale-cent = alkalescent (something slightly alkaline, containing alkali); rarely used, see examples in:
1) John Mason Good et al, Pantologia: A New Cyclopaedia, Comprehending a Complete Series of Essays, Treatises, and Systems (vol. X “Q — SOY”), London: G. Kearsley et al, 1813 (pages not numbered; appears on the last page of the entry for “Secretions”, three paragraphs above the entry for “Secretitious”)
2) [Tobias George Smollett (editor)], The Critical Review; or, Annals of Literature, volume 67, London: A. Hamilton, 1789, p.457 (3rd paragraph)
Brimage = Thomas Frederick Outridge Brimage, a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council (elected in September 1901 for the electorate of South, serving until 1912), who was also a prominent mining businessman (his father was Captain Thomas Brimage, the harbourmaster at Port Pirie)
Martell’s Three Star = the name of a brandy (alcoholic drink)
Molloy = Thomas Molloy, a Western Australian politician, who was a councilor for the City of Perth from 1884 to World War One (he was Mayor of Perth 1908-1909 and 1911-1912), and was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for the electorate of Perth from 1892 to 1894 (he ran for Parliament many times, from 1901 to 1932, but never won a seat again) [see: Tom Stannage, “Molloy, Thomas George Anstruther (1852–1938)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography (accessed 9 June 2012)]
Thomas = Thomas Molloy
[Editor’s note: The word “buy” is unclear in the scanned copy of the newspaper.]