In Melbourne lately, there are not lacking signs of a cultural and architectural renascence. Professor Wood-Jones suggests the adoption of the Melbourne Hospital site for a centre of art and culture, while Mr Lionel Lindsay pleads for less vulgarity and more artistic cohesion in the city's architecture.
Oh, we might have a marvellous city Were we only less keen on cash Less avid for things -- more's the pity -- That fade and are gone in a flash, A city where duffers in my line In wrapt adoration fall flat To behold its superlative skyline -- But there isn't much money in that. Oh, we might have a city most splendid Were sordid self-seeking denied. Were good taste and culture attended By pride that transcends money-pride. Then, urged by more glorious dreaming Than moved beneath Pericles' hat, We would out-Athens Athens in scheming But -- there isn't much money in that. So let's build our city according To canons commercial and sane. Where every house is a hoarding And every "palace" a pain. Let us mingle the Gothic and Moorish In the nice neo-Georgian flat. What odds, tho' they blither it's boorish? Who cares? For there's money in that. Oh, let's have a conglomeration Of all architectural ills. We build for ouselves, not th enation, And to advertise somebody's pills With piles that are proud and pretentious And styles that are "pretty" and fat. And a fig for their strictures sententious! There's not a brass farthing in that. And so we'll grow richer and richer While curleywigs crawl the facade Of the home of the sur-super-picture Or pubs where the profits are made. Yet -- We might have a marvellous city If we only knew how to grow fat At the game. But we don't -- more's the pity. So there isn't much money in that. And when we have piled up the riches, And pass, and leave never a trace, A grave-digger, with clay on his breeches, Will come and pitch dirt on our face. And our passing may serve to remind him, As he gives the grave-mound a last pat: "Well, he's gone; and he's left nought behind him, And there isn't much honor in that."
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005|