[Editor: A poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, published in the “Variety Vamps and Sunday Satires” column in The West Australian Sunday Times, 28 April 1901.]
M’Stingaree stepped from the boat to the pier
In a doleful, despairing condition,
And we knew, as we saw in his optic a tear
Acutely he felt his position
He’d even forgotten his tackle to take,
Or basket the schnapper he’d hooked.
With the air of a criminal sentenced to die
He made for the shore with a pitiful sigh,
And a picture of misery looked.
He’d fortunate been in his fishing that day,
So his air of dejection was odd;
He’d left in the boat, as he wandered away
A dozen of schnapper and cod.
But though at the sport apostolic he shone,
His prestige had suffered a shock,
For amid the calm liars that people the Earth
None equalled this Baron Munchausen of Perth
When he opened his marvellous stock.
For Mac was the picturesque liar-in-chief
Of the Swan River Fishing Brigade
All rivals to date had surrendered in grief
Whatever their standing and grade.
He could lie with the confidence placid and bland
Of a candidate airing his views.
Compared with this famous distorter of truth
“De Rougey” was only a blundering youth
With no reputation to lose.
Not in fishing alone did he snavel the bun,
For he lied with a courage sublime
Of what he had witnessed and what he had done
In many a marvellous clime.
But to-day on a fishing excursion he’d met
With sudden and crushing defeat,
A person of no reputation had come
And yarned ’till M’Stingaree, stupid and dumb,
Turned tail in a rapid retreat.
The stranger spoke neither of mountains of gold,
Nor snakes of a wonderful size;
No horrorsome legends of hardship he told,
Or prattled them cannibal lies,
And rarely it is that a baiter of hooks
To a liar promiscnous yields:
But the man who excelled at M’Stingaree’s game
And cruelly punctured his fictional fame
WAS A “DUST-LIAR” DOWN FROM THE FIELDS.
The West Australian Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 28 April 1901, p. 1
Also published in:
The Sun (Kalgoorlie, WA), 28 April 1901, p. 4
Baron Munchausen = a fictional character who was the narrator of tall tales, telling stories of his unlikely and truth-defying adventures; the character was based upon a German nobleman, Baron von Münchhausen (1720-1797)
De Rougey = Louis de Rougemont (1847-1921), a famous hoaxer; born in Switzerland as Henri Louis Grin, he came to Australia in 1875, married and had children, then deserted his family in 1897, and re-appeared in England in 1898 as Louis de Rougemont, where he published, in Wide World Magazine, “The adventures of Louis de Rougemont”, a serial story which ran from August 1898 to May 1899, in which he described his amazing adventures as a castaway living amongst the Australian Aborigines (his story was also published as a book), however his deception was exposed, although he subsequently made some money in speaking engagements, being described as “the greatest liar on earth” [See: B. G. Andrews, “de Rougemont, Louis (1847–1921)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (accessed 20 May 2014)]
optic = the eye (or relating to sight or vision)
prattled = to prate: to talk at length on trivial matters; idle or foolish talk; excessive and pointless talk; to chatter, waffle, witter, or prattle
snavel = grab, snatch; pickpocket; steal (similar to the word “snaffle”)
snavel the bun = (grab the bun) win the prize; be the best, be the winner
sport apostolic = fishing; a reference to the fishermen who became apostles of Jesus Christ
[Editor: Corrected “pratted” to “prattled” (the correct spelling was used in the version published in The Sun, 28 April 1901, p. 4).]