Poem: Simple Song by Grant Hervey

"The chief fault of recent Australian verse lies in its extreme simplicity; it does not go deep enough." - Chorus of British rags.

They have scoffed at us in England, where the poet's hair is long,
And have crawled a dread "too simple" through the stanzas of our song;
They have said that we are shallow, that we sink no deep song-mines --
There's a sorry lack of culchaw in our easy-flowing lines!
And we do not boost Britannia with our poems and our pens,
Hence come these deep reproaches from the land of beef and fens.
We're a Simple (shout it!) People, and we want no gaudy song,
So we write our verse to suit us, and, says Hingland, it is wrong.

We should learn a style didactic; we should Chadbandise our verse;
Till it ambled past the eyesight like a smug, corpse-laden hearse.
We should yell for Blood and Boodle; we should howl for Grab and Gore;
Then those papers all would praise us and would say we "simped" no more!
If we screeched for Brass and Battle we would be more popular
In the land where Judas reigneth and the fogs and paupers are.
If we lauded King and Courtier -- if we crawled like worms along,
There'd be tears of joy in Fleet-street and a boom in Austral song.

Every bard would get the order of the Clothes Prop or the Bath;
They would knight friend Victor Daley with a paling or a lath.
They would chase each wayback rhymer with a starry C.M.G.,
And THE TIMES would print our poems if we praised Bull constantlee!
But we cannot yell for Hempire and we cannot howl for Blood --
We object to Kings, and Courtiers like Batrachians in the mud.
Even though the mud be Royal, we object to crawling through,
To the throne of august Edward and the kiss-goal of his shoe.
We object to Judas Joseph, and till Daley's hair grows long,
We shall raise grey grief in Fleet-street with our beastly Simple Song!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 August 1903

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 12, 2006 7:13 AM.

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