Works in the Herald 1922

An artist, convicted in Melbourne City Court yesterday, said in defence that out of love for the beautifully artistic design of the 1 note came the desire to make a replica. He had no intention, he said, of cashing it. Possibly he intended to frame it.

You .... with but a sixpence in your pocket, and you with half a "quid," and 
   you with a solid bank balance, and sundry others;
Let not the cares of money e'er oppress you.
Today I would address you
Upon the wonders of the one pound note
And in the words that someone one day wrote
Across its face,
I trust my words will not be out of place.

Have you e'er given our pound note a glance --
When you have had a chance?
Artistic, ain't it?
I wonder what aesthete they got to paint it?
Doesn't its face attract you, and its smile
Lure you to love and fondle it a while --
The brief while that 'tis with you?  Don't you feel
It has a certain -- shall we say -- appeal?
And, have you ever
Marvelled at all that intricate and clever --
That wonderful arrangement of the "ones"
That pop up in tne most unexpected places?
There are so many there
That, just to count them, makes you feel almost a millionaire.
And have you ever noticed how its face is
Adorned with divers writings in quaint style?
Brothers; those writing often make me smile.
Is it indeed a sin to copy such?
It doesn't matter much.
But, as a writer, I'm interested in the subject, and up to the time those few 
   lines were indited
I've never heard that note was copyrighted.
But, still, why need we quarrel
About that matter?  But what I have been trying to say all this time is that I 
   consider that the pound note, beloved though it be by all classes of the 
   community, is, in some senses, highly immoral
For why?
It tells a lie.
What does it say?
"I (the Commonwealth treasurer) promise to pay
"One pound in gold" --
(Oh brothers!  How can such vain things be told?)
"Upon demand" (he prints DEMAND in "caps.")
But will he pay? . .  Perhaps!
Why, brothers?  Why?
Go up and try,
Go up into the lordly treasuree
And ask to see
The Treasurer, and there and then unfold
The tale of your dire need for gold.
The man won't dare to look you in the face.
Demand (as he invites you to), insist, reason, argue, shout, yell your demand 
   at him, and he'll probably have you kicked out of the place.
Now, brothers, is that fair?
I know there was a catch in there somewhere.
So next time that you Bills and Bens, and Hals and Toms amd Dicks and Timothys 
   and Thomases
Kid yourselves that you are well off, consider, it is not wealth, splosh, 
   spondulicks, brass, beans, dough that you possess; but merely a pocketful of 
   worthless promises.
The man won't recognise that note: he hates it;
Yet gaols the flatterer who imitates it.

The Mooch of Life
"C. J. Dennis"
Herald, 23 May 1922, p4

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06