Poem: Hints in Season by Mrs Edward Caudle

Alas! what sore discomfiture poor scribblers labor under,
In every contribution the printer makes a blunder,
Errata constantly appear; while editorial sages
Declare that needful hands are unattainable for wages.
"All frantic rush for yellow ore," they ruefully exclaim,
"Disordering our city and exposing us to blame:
Did Bendigo, or Ballarat, or the Echunga Diggins,
Approximate old England, th' inimitable Dickens
Might issue " Household Words" in vain: aye, gentles, I avow it;
And if my ipse dixit's doubted, crave of Doctor Hewitt
The genuine opinion of his literary frater:) --
Could any human intellect presiding o'er a paper
Indulge its daily readers with a faultless publication,
While such a mania prevails? is their interrogation.
In justice to Victoria's press -- a suff'rer though I be too --
In favor of its Editors I must record my veto.
Oh! unpropitious epocha for literary men.
When nuggets, dust, quartz specimens, quite supersede the pen --
When social wrong lives unredressed; schemes worth consideration,
Are liable to sad mistakes, and oft non-publication.
Last Thursday morn the Herald made me use in one production
Instead of "consternation" the uncanny word "construction."
The Argus, in a rhyming scrap, with much chagrin I read,
Excluded my expression "heart" and substituted "head;"
But notwithstanding these and many errors here untold,
Attribute all to their true source:- Insatiate thirst for gold!
While speaking of this yellow fever -- (pry thee, no misprint)
I wish the Government would take a well intentioned hint :-
Contagion, fearful, fatal peril lurks insidiously
In fetid stagnant pools, which shock the nerves olfactory
Of Melbourne's doomed inhabitants; - aye, doomed I boldly say.
If these contaminations still pollute the public way!
Men of Victoria, arouse! destruction's seeds will sorely yield
Prolific harvest! -- Pestilence prepares to reap the field!
Death onward stalks with giant stride, insensible to pity,
Shaking his dart exultingly o'er this neglected city
Awake, I say, to action ! nor suffer the historic page
To chronicle your Town's perdition from its golden age!
And now, kind Editors, grave senators, good citizens, excuse
The unsophisticated candour of an English woman's muse,
Who having Melbourne's weal at heart would fain behold it flourish,
And mourns that such infectious germs its fertile breast should nourish,
Who hopes to see its literature assume a loftier rank --
The Arts and Sciences succeed the present mental blank.

First published in The Argus, 6 October 1852

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 29, 2009 8:31 AM.

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