Works in the Bulletin 1909

A voice: Are you going to support Fisher? (Applause and laughter.)
Mr. Deakin: It will be my endeavor in the course of the next 50 minutes to answer that question. -
Newspaper report.

   Ho, the old Egyptian people,
      In the ages long ago,
   They understood the value
      Of a simple "Yes" and "No";
   They knoo the 'ole 'ipocrisy
      Of smiles an' nods an' winks,
   An' they build a stony sermon
      In the figger of a Sphinx.
   An' that stone 'as kep' on preachin',
      Through these many thousan' years,
   An entertainin' lecture
      Into ev'ry nation's ears.
   You kin arsk it any question
      On a subjec' great or small,
   An' as it can't say "Yes" or "No,"
      It don't reply at all.
   An' that's the simple lesson
      It's intended to convey;
   For, though it isn't gassin',
      You kin plainly 'ear it say:

"Torkin', torkin''! Wot's the use er torkin'? I'm sayin' all I 'ave to say, an' that amounts to nix; I'm doin' all I 'ave to do, an' that is sittin' here An' lettin' foolish 'umans whisper questions in me ear. But, bein' made of stone, I never yet was known To tork a bloomin' syllable in many thousan' year. For, seein' as I can't reply, I shuts me mouth an' don't; So you foller my example, w'ich I know darn well you won't!"
But that old Egyptian lesson Ain't been learned not to this day; An' the world's still fond of sayin' Wot it 'asn't got to say. We 'ave lost the art o' gettin' Lengthy sermons outer stones, An' encouraged politicians, An' invented gramaphones. There is some (like Mister Deakin) Takes a brilliant hour or so To look pleasant on a platform An' get out a "Yes" or "No." Even then 'e doesn't do it; For you'll find, when 'e is done, That the "Yes" or "No" is missin', Fer 'e ain't sed either one. There are other 'oo kin answer "Yes and No," if there is need, Both together, simultan'ous. (Needn't mention Mr. Reid.) An' w'ile they tork the stony Sphinx, Ignorin' all the crew, Is sayin' all an' doin' all That she's expected to.
It's torkin', torkin', nothin' else but torkin', Saying nothin' eloquent with large amounts of noise: Never sayin', like the Sphinx, all there is to say, But torkin' all around it in a most annoyin' way. Torkin' nothin' by the yard; Torkin' loud an' torkin' 'ard: Never stoppin' fer to act, but torkin' night an' day. An' Australia she listens with a buzzin' in 'er 'ead, An' she dunno 'ow to answer 'cos she dunno wot's been sed.

The Bulletin, 27 May 1909, p24

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002