The Lodes That Under-Lie.
O, calm and clear the liar lies
Who writes reports on mines:
Behold what knowledge deep and wise
His legend intertwines.
But ah, if he should own the lease
Supposed to hold the lode —
Behold his lying pow’rs increase —
Observe his matchless mode.
He may not have an ounce of quartz,
The reef his lease might miss,
But in his Rougemont-like reports
But if perchance the reef is found
And proven rich and wide,
Within another party’s ground
Who pegged him side by side,
He can’t peg in upon the end,
That’s taken long ago.
And if the lode-line doesn’t bend
He hasn’t Buckley’s show;
But shifting reefs is labor light,
And perfect is his bliss,
So as his lease is on the right —
But should his lease located be
Upon the 1eft-hand side,
The reef in which the gold shows free
Towards the left he’ll guide.
For that which baulks a modest man
A mining scribe can do.
And alterations on a plan
Will swing a reef askew;
So once again with pencil deft
He plumbs the earth’s abyss
And as his lease is on the left
But if he has no part or share
Around the golden ground,
A tinker’s toss he doesn’t care
If ANY reef is found.
He cares not if it goes an ounce
Or only goes a grain,
But if the owners try to bounce
They’re soon amongst the slain.
He slays them as a mad Malay
Slays foemen with a kris,
And in the mining news next day —
Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, pages 26-27
Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 14 June 1903, p. 4
Dryblower, Jarrahland Jingles: A Volume of Westralian Verse, Perth (W.A.): R.S. Sampson for Sunday Times, 1908, pages 157-160
The last line in this poem was placed vertically, with each of the six words descending in size from a large “THEIR” down to a small “THIS”.
Buckley’s = Buckley’s chance, i.e. little or no chance (a reference to the convict William Buckley who disappeared into the bush and was presumed dead; although he did reappear some years later, after having spent a long time living amongst the Aborigines)
kris = an Indonesian or Malayan dagger with a wavy double-edged blade
Rougemont = 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)]
tinker’s toss = phrases such as “I don’t give a tinker’s toss”, “I could’t care a tinker’s toss”, or variations thereon, is a phrase used to show a lack of interest in something (also rendered as “tinker’s cuss” or “tinker’s damn”)