Nor can the foremost of the sons of men
Escape my ribald and licentious pen
Composed and written October 23rd day, Anno 1839
You prisoners of New South Wales, Who frequent watchhouses and gaols A story to you I will tell 'Tis of a convict's tour to hell. Whose valour had for years been tried On the highway before he died At length he fell to death a prey To him it proved a happy day Downwards he bent his course I'm told Like one destined for Satan's fold And no refreshment would he take 'Till he approached the Stygian lake A tent he then began to fix Continuous to the River Styx Thinking that no one could molest him He leaped when Charon thus addressed him, Stranger I say from whence art thou, And my own name, pray tell me now, Kind sir I come from Sydney gaol My name I don't mean to conceal And since you seem anxious to know it On earth I was called Frank the Poet. Are you that person? Charon cried, I'll carry you to the other side. Five or sixpence I mostly charge For the like passage in my barge So stranger do not troubled be For you shall have a passage free Frank seeing no other succour nigh With the invitation did comply And having a fair wind and tide They soon arrived at the other side And leaving Charon at the ferry Frank went in haste to Purgatory And rapping loudly at the gate Of Limbo, or the Middle State Pope Pius the 7th soon appeared With gown, beads, crucifix and beard And gazing at the Poet the while Accosts him in the following style Stranger art thou a friend or foe Your business here I fain would know Quoth the Poet for Heaven I'm not fitted And here I hope to be admitted Pius rejoined, vain are your hopes This place was made for Priests and Popes 'Tis a world of our own invention But friend I've not the least intention To admit such a foolish elf Who scarce knows how to bless himself Quoth Frank were you mad or insane When first you made this world of pain? For I can see nought but fire A share of which I can't desire Here I see weeping wailing gnashing And torments of the newest fashion Therefore I call you silly elf Who made a rod to whip yourself And may you like all honest neighbours Enjoy the fruit of all your labours Frank then bid the Pope farewell And hurried to that place called Hell And having found the gloomy gate Frank rapped aloud to know his fate He louder knocked and louder still When the Devil came, pray what's your will? Alas cried the Poet I've come to dwell With you and share your fate in Hell Says Satan that can't be, I'm sure For I detest and hate the poor And none shall in my kingdom stand Except the grandees of the land. But Frank I think you are going astray For convicts never come this way But soar to Heaven in droves and legions A place so called in the upper regions So Frank I think with an empty purse You shall go further and fare worse Well cried the Poet since 'tis so One thing of you I'd like to know As I'm at present in no hurry Have you one here called Captain Murray? Yes Murray is within this place Would you said Satan see his face? May God forbid that I should view him For on board the Phoenix Hulk I knew him Who is that Sir in yonder blaze Who on fire and brimstone seems to graze? 'Tis Captain Logan of Moreton Bay And Williams who was killed the other day He was overseer at Grosse Farm And done poor convicts no little harm Cook who discovered New South Wales And he that first invented gaols Are both tied to a fiery stake Which stands in yonder boiling lake Hark do you hear this dreadful yelling It issues from Doctor Wardell's dwelling And all those fiery seats and chairs Are fitted up for Dukes and Mayors And nobles of Judicial orders Barristers, Lawyers and Recorders Here I beheld legions of traitors Hangmen gaolers and flagellators Commandants, Constables and Spies Informers and Overseers likewise In flames of brimstone they were toiling And lakes of sulphur round them boiling Hell did resound with their fierce yelling Alas how dismal was their dwelling Then Major Morriset I espied And Captain Cluney by his side With a fiery belt they were lashed together As tight as soles to upper leather Their situation was most horrid For they were tyrants down at the Norrid Postrate I beheld a petitioner It was the Company's Commissioner Satan said he my days are ended For many years I've superintended The An. Company's affairs And I punctually paid all arrears Sir should you doubt the hopping Colonel At Carrington you'll find my journal Legibly penned in black and white To prove that my accounts were right And since I've done your will on earth I hope you'll put me in a berth Then I saw old Sergeant Flood In Vulcan's hottest forge he stood He gazed at me his eyes with ire Appeared like burning coals of fire In fiery garments he was arrayed And like an Arabian horse he brayed He on a bloody cutlass leaned And to a lamp-post he was chained He loudly called out for assistance Or begged me to end his existence Cheer up said I be not afraid Remember No. Three Stockade In the course of time you may do well If you behave yourself in Hell Your heart on earth was fraught with malice Which oft drove convicts to the gallows But you'll now atone for all the blood Of prisoners shed by Sergeant Flood. Then I beheld that well known Trapman The Police Runner called Izzy Chapman Here he was standing on his head In a river of melted boiling lead. Alas he cried behold me stranger I've captured many a bold bushranger And for the same I'm suffering here But lo, now yonder snakes draw near On turning round I saw slow worms And snakes of various kinds and forms All entering at his mouth and nose To devour his entrails as I suppose Then turning round to go away Bold Lucifer bade me to stay Saying Frank by no means go man Till you see your old friend Dr Bowman 'Yonder he tumbles groans and gnashes He gave you many a thousand lashes And for the same he does bewail For Osker with an iron flail Thrashes him well you may depend And will till the world comes to an end Just as I spoke a coach and four Came in full post haste to the door And about six feet of mortal sin Without leave or licence trudged in At his arrival three cheers were given Which rend I'm sure the highest Heaven And all the inhabitants of Hell With one consent rang the great bell Which never was heard to sound or ring Since Judas sold our Heavenly King Drums were beating flags were hoisting There never before was such rejoicing Dancing singing joy or mirth In Heaven above or on the earth Straightway to Lucifer I went To know what these rejoicings meant Of sense cried Lucifer I'm deprived Since Governor Darling has arrived With fire and brimstone I've ordained him And Vulcan has already chained him And I'm going to fix an abode For Captain Rossi, he's on the road Frank don't go 'till you see the novice The magistrate from the Police Office Oh said the Poet I'm satisfied To hear that he is to be tied And burned in this world of fire I think 'tis high time to retire And having travelled many days O'er fiery hills and boiling seas At length I found that happy place Where all the woes of mortals cease And rapping loudly at the wicket Cried Peter, where's your certificate Or if you have not one to show Pray who in Heaven do you know? Well I know Brave Donohue Young Troy and Jenkins too And many others whom floggers mangled And lastly were by Jack Ketch strangled Peter, says Jesus, let Frank in For he is thoroughly purged from sin And although in convict's habit dressed Here he shall be a welcome guest Isaiah go with him to Job And put on him a scarlet robe St Paul go to the flock straightway And kill the fatted calf today And go tell Abraham and Abel In Haste now to prepare the table For we shall have a grand repast Since Frank the Poet has come at last Then came Moses and Elias John the Baptist and Mathias With many saints from foreign lands And with the Poet they all join hands Thro' Heaven's Concave their rejoicings range And hymns of praise to God they sang And as they praised his glorious name I woke and found 'twas but a dream.