The Governor’s Xmas Party [poem by W. T. Goodge, 25 December 1898]

[Editor: This poem by W. T. Goodge was published in Truth (Sydney, NSW), 25 December 1898.]

The Governor’s Xmas Party.

A Seasonable Vain Imagining.

(By W. T. Goodge, in the ‘Orange Leader.’)

Oh, the Governor was happy and the Governor was gay,
For he knew that he was going home to Britain;
And he couldn’t stand Australia at twenty pounds a day,
And he’d consequently given us the mitten!
Yet he wasn’t quite as nasty in his manner as his looks,
But a genial sort of person, bluff and hearty!
So he wisely intimated to his waiting-maids and cooks
His resolve to give a special Christmas Party!

Not a party to be limited to people who are ‘nice’
(Which is generally much the same as ‘nasty,’)
But the leading men in Sydney, both in virtue and in vice,
Something fresh, and unconventional and tasty!
Such a cheering! Such a clapping! Such a singing! Such a row!
And the band a-playing ‘Kiss Me Quick, McCarthy!’
Oh, the Governor was blushing to his alabaster brow,
When presiding at his novel Christmas Party!

The Admiral, you’ll understand, was seated on the right,
As the First and Greatest Person in Australia!
And this proper recognition filled His Highness with delight,
When an error would have made the thing a failure;
Meagher and Norton sat together, pretty close to Nosey Bob,
Premier Reid was chatting affably to Barty,
Larry Foley and the General conversing nob to nob
At the Governor’s delightful Christmas Party!

Mr. Want explained to Bishop Smith the beauties of Japan,
In a manner marked by admirable piety,
While the excellent Chief Justice, a most amiable man,
Told some stories of the Sunday-school variety;
Quong Tart was quoting Robbie Burns to Coghlan, who replied
By remarking on the sweetness of the salad,
When the Governor arose and called for order, when he cried
‘Mr Barton will oblige us with a ballad!’

Here you behold a remarkable character!
’Markable character,
’Markable character!
Spoke to the Colony, flattered, and barracked her,
Till I was boss of the show,
Oh no!
Not the provincial show!

I couldn’t tickle the local auricular,
Silly auricular,
Foolish auricular!
People all say I’m too blessed particular,
That’s why I don’t get a show,
That’s so!
Ain’t got a possible show!

Reid is the boss of the local invincibles,
Brutal invincibles,
Horrid invincibles!
Ready to swallow his words and his principles!
That’s why he’s boss of the show,
You know!
That’s why he’s boss of the show!

Still I’ve no feeling of jealous malignity,
Savage malignity,
Glaring malignity!
Seat on the Bench, full of honor and dignity,
That’s where I’ll soon get a show!
That’s where I’ll soon get a show!

Then the company applauded, and the Governor observed
That he’d always been impressed with Mr Barton,
And the Bishop said that Toby was a man who never swerved,
Even Foley said he was a pretty smart ’un.
But for teaching points to pupils, why the Premier was the boss.
He was artful, he was dodgy, he was clever!
And it wouldn’t be a blanketty extraordinary loss
If the Barton push were bundled out for ever.

Mr Foley, as a party man, is perfectly sincere,
And occasionally feels he has a mission,
But his side remarks on politics are pungently severe,
And he makes things very warm in King Division;
So the Governor asked all to help the harmony along,
From the Bishop to the hangman and reporters,
And he called on Mr Foley to oblige ’em with a song,
And he did so to the tune of ‘Sally Waters.’

The Scripture says that if one’s cheek
Is smitten by one’s brother,
One should be very mild and meek,
And offer him the other!
Which plan may do for Sunday-schools,
When parsons are a preachin’,
But ain’t according to the rules
That I’ve been used to teachin’.
No, sir!
That’s not according to the rules
That I’ve been used to teachin’.

We work on quite a different plan,
For if a man should vex us,
We feint, get back, and biff that man
Upon the solar plexus;
The Bishop’s method may be kind
And Christian-like and lenient,
But in the ring we always find
Our style is more convenient.
Yes, sir!
When in the ring we always find
Our style is more convenient.

Although I have been in the ring,
At creeds I am no scoffer,
But I don’t think that cheek’s a thing
That any man should offer;
And if he gave his cheek to me,
I’m afraid I’d not excuse his
Dashed impudence, but make him see
More ‘Stars’ than ‘Evening Newses’!
Yes, sir!
I somehow fancy he would see
More ‘Stars’ than ‘Evening Newses’!

Mr Foley’s song concluded, there occurred a little scene,
Which was caused, we understand, by Mr Norton
Asking Meagher if he would rather be a Bishop or a Dean,
And by Mr Meagher ungraciously retortin’
That Johnn Norton must have recently appealed to Phillip drunk,
As he wouldn’t have a chance with Phillip sober;
But friend Barton he demanded personalities be sunk,
Till McSharry’s case was ended next October.

Mr Barton’s kindly efforts would have been without avail,
Had conciliation rested on him solely;
But the scene became as peaceful as Killarney’s fairy vale,
At a question put by Mr Laurence Foley,
Who politely asked the Governor if he should take a hand,
And regarded Brand’s objection as a pity.
Then the Bishop rose and offered in his polished accents bland,
To oblige them with the following little ditty:—

An episcopal mind is not the kind
That’s usual with the mob;
A Bishop’s aware that’s black’s not white,
That lack of the sun produces night,
That when a man’s ill he’s not all right,
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob!
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob,
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob.

An episcopal brain will stand a strain
Above the usual nob;
A Bishop’s aware it’s wrong to swear,
That baldness comes of a want of hair,
That nil is the tail of a native bear,
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob!
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob,
And a cabman’s fare’s a bob.

Now the Bishop’s little ditty was received with much delight,
It was clever, and his Lordship plainly knew it;
Next the Hangman and Chief Justice sang together, and it might
Have been very nice could you have heard them duet:—

I am the head and front of the law,
The guardian, saviour, and friend of it.

I put the rope round the criminal’s jaw,
So if he is the head, I’m the end of it.

Both of us work for the good of society,
Men of propriety, models of piety,
Though in our duties there’s much of variety,
We’re the two ends of the law.

Great is my joy in the fall of the rope,
With a criminal’s neck in the end of it.

I’ll get the Governor’s wages I hope,
And if so, very little I’ll spend of it.

We are the guards of a Christian community,
None with impunity threaten our unity.
If you’d be hanged here’s a great opportunity.
We’re the two ends of the law.

Mr Norton asked Lord Hampden how on earth it came to be
That the Hangman should be found in such society;
And the Governor explained that for this special Christmas spree
There was but one claim, and that was notoriety:
Every man most be a champion, whatever was his line,
Be he hero, villain, knave or fool, or smarty;
They must all be ne plus ultra, A1, extra-superfine,
To be welcome to his Lordship’s Christmas Party.

Mr Norton said he claimed to be the champion bad shot,
Mr Meagher, of course, was champion secret blurter;
But they’d also sing a duet, of the kettle and the pot,
For they’d neither of them ever prove deserter.

Champion boomers, the pick of the lot,
One is the kettle and one is the pot:
A pot and a kettle,
In excellent fettle,
A pot and a kettle, a kettle and pot,
Strong as they make ’em, and smoking all hot.
Some people wonder what’s wrong with the dot,
Say that we blather ridiculous rot,
Don’t you believe it, it’s certainly not,
Not very easy to wittingly spot
Which is the kettle and which is the pot.
A pot, and a kettle
Of similar mettle,
But which is the kettle and which is the pot?

The Premier he expressed delight to see the parties friends,
For both of them were men of great abilities,
And just the sort of men required to serve the country’s ends,
If only given time and due facilities.
And now that he had slobbered both with treacle fairly strong,
He thought it only fair he should oblige them with a song.

If you want to be a leader
Or a party special pleader,
You must cultivate a hearty jocularity;
You must snigger like a nigger
With a fat and jolly figure,
For the vigor of a nigger is a rarity.

You must study how to slobber
To a rascal or a robber,
To the little, big, the black and brown and carrotty;
To be looked on as a calf, or
As a chaffer or a laugher,
That is certainly the half o’

It is well to be abusive
On occasion, if conducive
To the sentimental views of party parity,
But be careful of your tether,
Or in case of dirty weather,
You’ll be losing altogether

Then the Governor arose, and said the hour was growing late,
But he’d warble If they only had the decency to wait.

’Tis a very poor requital,
But the circumstance remains,
That I got my father’s title
If I didn’t get his brains;
For my father was a Speaker
Who was dignified and grand,
But my mental power is weaker,
I’m a different sort of Brand.

Oh, I thought to over-awe you
When they shunted me out here,
But I very shortly saw you
Didn’t reverence a peer;
For the ‘Bulletin’ won’t heed a
Lord, but jibes him all the time,
And the beastly ‘Orange Leader’
With its jingle-jangle rhyme.

So my resignation’s written,
And I’m bound across the seas,
To the white chalk cliffs of Britain,
Where the balmy breezes breeze;
For I feel I’ve been a failure,
And I’m filled completely up,
And there’s nothing in Australia
Fit to see — except the Cup.

’Tis a land of fire and slaughter,
With a blast on everything;
Where the rivers have no water,
And the blessed birds can’t sing.
I am sick of all you rotters,
And I’ll pack my traps and go,
For I’d sooner peddle trotters
In the purlieus of Soho.

There arose some further trouble when the Governor had done,
Though they all endorsed his Excellency’s holloa,
And his dismal doleful wailing, they endorsed it everyone;
But the trouble was about the right to follow.
Mr Want desired to sing about the merits of Japan,
While Quong Tart demanded precedence for China;
And as soon as Hampden finished then the quarrelling began,
And the row was just like Parliament, but finer.

Then they started off together, singing one in Japanese,
And the other in the grid iron notes of Chowland,
While the Premier shouted ‘Order,’ and poor Hampden cried, ‘Oh, PLEASE!’
But the parties still went on to yell and howl and
To bellow at each other. Louder still the voices grew,
Till it looked as if the pair would come to fistics,
But great Caesar ’twas a lovely kind of special hullaballoo,
When Tim Coghlan quoted Federal statistics.

Jack Want he bawled in Japanese, ‘Three Little Girls from School,’
Quong Tart, in Chinese, warbled ‘Hunting-tower’;
And the Hangman took a drop too much and babbled like a fool,
While the pressmen cheered with lungs of wondrous power.
Mr Foley very generously wished to fight the lot;
Reid and Barton kept on calling out for order;
Meagher and Norton gave the chorus of the ‘Kettle and the Pot,’
You could hear the row from Botany to the border.

And the Governor was weeping like Niagara in Spring,
With his noble forehead resting on the table;
Want, he danced a sailor’s hornpipe, and Quong Tart a highland fling,
It was Pandemonium, Parliament, and Babel.
I was trying to call out ‘Murder!’ which, somehow, I couldn’t do,
When of course I woke and found I had been dreaming.
But the Chinese near this office had been burying Ah Chu,
And were fiddling and bellowing and screaming.

Truth (Sydney, NSW), 25 December 1898, p. 4

[Editor: Inserted a single quotation mark after “Orange Leader”.]

Speak Your Mind