At a suburban police court on Tuesday a magistrate took strong exception to a witness's frequent use of the terms "cobber" and "half-quid."
Is youth not less pedantic, less absurd, Less prone to value things of little worth In failing to wax wrath about a word That bears suspicion of a lowly birth? All words have known their low and vulgar days -- Known grime and poverty when they were young; And many a proud and pompous modern phrase Was once the plaything of a common tongue. But as we grow respectable and staid Mere sound, to middle-age, parades as sense. Grey slaves of precedent, we grow afraid Of youth and all its sane inconsequence. Forgetting words are no god-given things, With queer intolerance we would insist -- In terms to which the mould of ages clings -- On purity that never did exist. Language is not the gift of any god; Rude tribesmen made it when the race was young; And as around the weary earth we plod Still the illiterate enrich the tongue; And still while careless youth goes gaily rid Of age's caution, precedent and pence, Better a cobber who'll lend half a quid Than all the thrifty pedant's "commonsense."
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06|