Buying Land [song by Charles Thatcher, 1857]

[Editor: This song by Charles Thatcher was published in Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, 1857.]

Buying Land.

An Original Song by Chas. R. Thatcher.
Tune — “Calder Fair.

I came out here two years ago,
As you must understand;
And as I’d been successful,
Thinks I, I’ll purchase land.
In the Argus several townships
Were advertised each day,
And it said allotments now were cheap,
And almost given away.

In Collins-street, up near the bank,
There is an auction mart;
And there you’ll see attractive plans
Stuck up in every part.
The auctioneer’s a fat old bloke,
You must know whom I mean,
And in his eye you can’t detect
One particle of green.

I viewed the plan of Walker Town,
And the artist, — what a wretch!
Had there drawn in the corner
A most inviting sketch —
Fine meadow land, tall shady trees,
With such a homely look;
And cows that in the distance grazed
Close to a running brook.

He got up in the rostrum,
While the leer was in his eye,
And had champagne all handed round,
To excite the folks to buy.
He put George Robins in the shade,
With descriptions long and grand,
Which were embellished by the strains
Of a noisy German band.

The allotment that I wanted,
Of course went very high;
But ’twas no use bidding ’gainst me,
For I’d resolved to buy.
Says he, “It’s yours,” and knocked it down,
While the band played “All is lost,”
An appropriate piece of music,
As I found to my cost.

I paid the money, bought a horse,
And rode out to the spot;
But the very sight quite staggered me,
As if I had been shot —
No splendid meadow land was there,
No stately, shady trees;
No brook, but an entire swamp,
Up to the horse’s knees.

He said the land was watered well,
Oh ! what a cruel joke!
The bull-frogs seemed to jeer at me,
With their rheumatic croak.
My feelings, as I journeyed home,
No mortal tongue could tell;
The land I’d bought turned out to be
A miserable “sell.”

So all take warning here by me,
And if you should want land,
Beware of this fat auctioneer,
And his noisy German band.
In such a treacherous mart as his,
Your money do not waste;
And if you would avoid “real” pain,
His champagne do not taste.

Charles R. Thatcher. Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, Containing All the Choice Local Songs, Parodies, &c., of the Celebrated Chas. R. Thatcher, Charlwood & Son, Melbourne, 1857, pages 9-10

Editor’s notes:
Argus = The Argus newspaper (Melbourne, Vic.), published from 1848 to 1956

George Robins = a well-known London auctioneer [see: “Under the ivory hammer: George Robins and the London auction mart”, The Camperdown Chronicle, (Camperdown, Vic.), Thursday 23 September 1909, page 6]

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