Poem: An Encouragement to Literature by Silas Snell (Edward Dyson)

Premier Murray explains that the Vic. Government has appointed a new hangman. The payment he receives is 2s. a day as a retaining fee and £3 for an execution. The man is known as plain "Smith of Victoria," but his real identity is kept dark.

Who would not be a hangman fine,
   A hero of the choking rope?
   The job extends a wider scope
Than offers in another line
For thought profound and dreams divine.

The hangman whiles his hours away
   'Twixt catting backs and breaking necks,
   With no grim cares his soul to vex;
For though he have no man to flay
He gaily draws two bob a day.

From hangings and from floggings he
   Can turn, and sweet occasion find
   To feed his eye, improve his mind --
How glad would any poet be,
Endowed with Smith's retaining fee!

But stay! M.'sP. have striven with
   A hope to smooth the lot austere
   That waits on men of letters here;
A strong suspicion whispereth --
An Austral bard is Mr. Smith!

He coils the rope, the cat resigns;
   And now the bard has ample time
   To build anew the lofty rhyme,
Well knowing (though the press declines)
That men will hang upon his lines.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 March 1909

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 10, 2009 7:19 AM.

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