Works in the Bulletin 1906

A small orchardist near Melbourne was charged, the other day, with "removing" chickens off a neighbour's hen ranch. Defendant pleaded that his neighbour did not know how to rear chickens, that he was not fit to keep poultry, and he (defendant) had taken the birds because they were not being properly treated. At this, there was much laughter in court. The orchardist was fined, and ordered to restore the chickens.

A noble lesson this should teach,
   Dear children unto you.
If other people's goods you reach,
Of rectitude 'twill be a breach,
Or parsons will your virtues preach,
   According to the point of view,
   Or to the kind of folks you "do".

You steal a chicken off a fence With wrath the pious shake, Although you say with eloquence The owner used it ill, and hence You kindly sought to recompense The bird for troubles past, and make It happier, for Heaven's sake.
But if you are a statesman grand, And ships and armies raise, To steel some feeble niggers' land, To make its folks a Christian band, To take their moral weal in hand - The Empire echoes with your praise, And churches bless you all your days.

The Bulletin, 21 June 1906, p12

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002