[Editor: A poem published in Aussie: The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine, no. 1, 18 January 1918.]
[An imaginary interview between Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and. Major-General J—— M—— unreliably reported by our correspondent Bill Adams, on 22-9-17.]
They lined ’em up upon a field for Haig came to inspect.
He came and saw them lookin’ fine, tip-top and all correct.
He said to J—— while glancing round with eye so keen and bright,
“Hey, chum, I say, these blokes of yours are just the stuff alright.
“They told me once these Anzacs were a pretty rotten lot,
As far as show or drill ground went, but that is all d—— rot.
They stand as steady as a rock — as straight as any pine;
They march like British veterans. They keep a bonza line.”
Then J—— looks up and sez to “Aig,” them blokes is good I know,
I’m proud of them and know they will do well where’er they go,
If you have got a stiffish job, let them put in the boot.
They likes a job that’s fairly tough — yes, every darn galoot.”
Then ’Aig looks down considerin’ an’ then ’e sez, sez ’e,
“I’m countin’ on those coves of yours to do a job fer me.
You’ll find it stiff an’ ’ard enough but them there coves ’as grit,
I know that every mother’s son will do ’is little bit.
I ’opes ter see yer when it’s done. I knows yer won’t go wrong,
So tie yer bowyangs on yer pants. I must be off — so long.
Just tell the chaps they looked first rate a’ marchin’ past in rows,
An’ I’ll remember all on ’em wherever else I goes.”
Aussie: The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine, no. 1, 18 January 1918, page 8
bonza = excellent (can also be spelt as “bonzer”)
bowyangs = a pair of cords, strings, or straps tied around a worker’s trouser leg just below the knee (derived from 1800s English dialect, wherein “bowy-yanks” referred to leather leggings); they were used by agricultural workers so as to stop dust, grass seeds, insects, and snakes from going up their legs
galoot = someone (usually a male) who is foolish, stupid, awkward, or clumsy; can be used in an affectionate manner, such as “ya daft galoot”