[Editor: This is an anonymously-authored bawdy rhyme, apparently from the early 1900s (or possibly the late 1890s). Some have attributed it to Henry Lawson; however, it is doubtful that he would be the author, given his reported aversion to swearing. The attribution to Lawson is likely to have arisen from the fact that the poem was obviously based upon his poem “The Captain of the Push” (first published in 1892).]
The Bastard from the Bush
As the night was falling slowly over city, town and bush,
From a house in Hogan’s Alley came the Captain of the Push,
And his whistle loud and piercing woke the echoes of the Rocks,
And a dozen ghouls came slouching round the corners of the docks,
Then the Captain jerked a finger at a stranger on the kerb,
Whom he qualified politely with an adjective and verb.
Then he made the introduction, “Here’s a covey from the bush,
F**k me blind, he wants to join us, be a member of the Push!”
Then the stranger made this answer to the Captain of the Push,
“F**k me dead, I’m Foreskin Fred, the Bastard from the Bush!
I’ve been to every two-up school from Darwin to the ’Loo,
I’ve ridden colts and black gins, what more can a Bastard do?”
“Are you game to smash a window?” asked the Captain of the Push;
“I’d knock a f**king house down,” said the Bastard from the Bush.
“Would you take a maiden’s baby? asked the Captain of the Push;
“I’d take a baby’s maiden,” said the Bastard from the Bush.
“Would you bash a bloody copper, if you caught the c**t alone,
Would you stoush a swell or chinky, split his garret with a stone,
Would you make your wife a harlot, and swear off work for good?”
Again that bastard’s voice rang out, “My f**king oath, I would!”
“Do you help the girls pick gum leaves?” asked the Captain of the Push;
“No, I hit ’em with the branches!” said the Bastard from the Bush.
“Would you knock me down and rob me?” asked the Captain of the Push;
“I’d knock you down and f**k you!” said the Bastard from the Bush.
“Would you like a cigarette?” asked the Captain of the Push;
“I’ll take the bloody packet,” said the Bastard from the Bush.
Then the Pushites all took counsel, saying “F**k me, but he’s game.
Let’s make him our star basher, and he’ll live up to his name.”
So they took him to their hide-out, that Bastard from the Bush,
And they gave him all the privileges belonging to the Push;
But soon they found his little ways were more than they could stand,
And finally the Captain thus addressed his little band:
“Now listen here you buggers, we’ve caught a f**king tartar;
At every kind of bludgin’ that bastard’s got the starter,
At poker and at two-up he shook our f**king rules,
He swipes our f**king liquor and he robs our f**king girls.”
So down in Hogan’s Alley, all the members of the Push
Laid a dark and dirty ambush for the Bastard from the Bush,
And against the wall of Riley’s pub, the Bastard made a stand,
A nasty grin upon his dial, a bike chain in his hand.
They sprang upon him in a bunch, but one by one they fell,
With crack of bone, unearthly groan and agonizing yell,
Till the sorely battered Captain, spitting teeth and coughing blood,
Held an ear all torn and bleeding in a hand bedaubed with mud.
“You low polluted bastard,” snarled the Captain of the Push,
“Get back to where you come from, that’s somewhere in the bush,
And I hope that vile misfortune may tumble down on you,
May some lousy harlot dose you, till your bollocks turn sky blue.
May the pangs of windy spasms through your aching bowels dart,
May you shit your bloody trousers, every time you try to fart,
May you take a swig of gin’s piss, mistaking it for beer,
May the Push you next impose on, toss you out on your bloody ear.
May the itching piles torment you, may corns grow on your feet,
May crabs as big as spiders attack your balls a treat.
Then, when you’re down and out, and a hopeless bloody wreck,
May you slip back through your arsehole, and break your bloody neck.”
As this bawdy poem is one that has been passed on verbally, no “original” source is listed.
Richard Walsh, in his 2009 collection of Australian poetry, laid out some arguments for and against Henry Lawson being the author of “The Bastard from the Bush”:
“The best evidence against the vulgar version being Lawson’s is that ‘The Shearer’s Dream’ is as close as we know he came to composing a rude poem and it is hardly offensive. He seems to have been somewhat puritanical; for example, he never swore unless extremely drunk and agitated. However, H.A. Lindsay asserts that Lawson ‘wrote the obscene version himself and circulated copies among his friends’. Later, wanting some money in a hurry, he toned it down considerably and it was published under the title of ‘The Captain of the Push’.”
See: Richard Walsh (editor), Traditional Australian Verse: The Essential Collection, Crows Nest (Sydney, NSW): Allen & Unwin, 2009, p. 277