It was the old night-porter
At the Knock-em-up Hotel,
He’d been a racecourse wroughter
In the years that yester dwell.
He had snared what he could snavel,
He had chewed it off in chunks,
And now he scratched for gravel
Serving drinks to midnight drunks;
While in between each boarder
Who rolled home with fish and chips,
Or with crayfish whose disorder
Stained their liquor-loving lips;
As another pot he plighted me
And called a sweet encore,
This remnant ripe recited me
A Symphony of Snore!
“I goes around me rounds,” said he, “an’ cleans the boarders’ boots;
I start at ’arf past two or three or enny time that suits.
An’ when I’ve done the ’ole lot out an’ worked from door to door,
Believe me I know all about the way that people snore.
“There’s the cheeky snore, an’ the squeaky snore, and the snore that sounds like silk;
There’s the creamy, dreamy kind of snore that comes of drinkin’ milk;
There’s the raspy snore, an’ the gaspy snore, an’ the snore that’s ’ard to wake,
An’ the snore that’s ’arf a jackass larf an’ the hiss of startled snake.
There’s the snore that shows its owner’s shick, an’ the one that shows ’e’s not,
And one ’oose owner I’d like to kick, the worst of all the lot.
It’s a kind of a cross between a calf an’ a pig that’s dyin’ ’ard,
With a bit thrown in from the mornin’ din out in the poultry yard.
“There’s also the snore that softly sighs like the close of an evenin’ hymn,
As if a bloke ’ad just got wise ’e’d lorst an ’arf a jim.
I’ve ’eard ’em snore in concert pitch an’ also a trifle flat,
With snores that orfen drop a stitch, then bustle an’ get the bat.
There’s the snore that trickles the keyhole track like onions bein’ fried,
And the snore of the bachelor on ’ees back an’ the spinster on ’er side.
There’s the haughty snore an’ the snorty snore of blokes wot’s prim an proud,
An’ the snore of the cove wot owes a score, ’oose conscience ’as ’im cowed.
“There’s the snore of the nervous actor blokes ’oo orfen recite in sleep,
There’s the Hamlet snore, Othello snore, and the snore of Uriah Heep.
There’s the snore of the stout commercial man ’oo rattles the panes an’ doors,
An’ the snore of the merely Mary Ann ’oo doesn’t think she snores.
Ah, sir, I’ve heard ’em ’igh and low, from cellar floor to roof,
I’ve ’eard ’em ’ave their dinkum go from weak to over-proof.
I’ve ’eard ’em north, I’ve ’eard ’em south, I’ve ’eard ’em thrill an throb,
Till I give me ’onnest word o’ mouth I’ve nearly chucked me job.
“It’s certainly nice to ’ear the snore that shows a man’s at ease,
Like summer surges on the shore where wimmen wet their knees.
But I’ve shook on nights like this one, p’r’aps, when a cuppler drunks in 3
Start tryin’ to beat the thunder-claps in a kind of a chorus key.
“The snores of the waitress ain’t so bad, she camps in number 5,
An’ my assistant yardman ’e ain’t joined the noisy ’ive;
But the cook an’ the laundress, bless their ’earts an’ bless my own as well,
They scatter it in concerted parts like Mozart’s ‘Weddin’ Bell.’
I s’pose yore wondering why I stop — well, I orfen do meself.
But it ain’t so easy to get a cop when a bloke is on the shelf;
An’ now that I’ve got used to it, like second nature it comes,
Like a cavalry ’orse wot’s done ’ees bit amongst the guns and drums!
* * * * * *
“Tom Hood ’e wrote ‘The Song of the Shirt,’ but if ’e’d ’ave ’ad my job
Instead of writin’ of ’unger an’ dirt an’ the cruel-’earted nob,
’E’d ’ave put ’ees talents to better use
As I told yer wunce before
An’ though it might bring ’im more abuse,
’E’d ’ave writ ‘The Song of the Snore’
Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, pages 93-95
Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 14 August 1921, p. 4 (entitled “Snores: The Night Porter’s Story”)
shick = shickered (drunk)
stop = stay
Vernacular spelling in the original text:
cuppler (couple of)