The Travelling Barber by Edward Dyson

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Came one day to Willy-Nilly,
   On a broken-hearted crock,
With his soapsuds in a billy
   And his razors in a sock,
Harry Nott, the travelling barber
From Boonanga, 'Couta Harbour,
   And he said he'd shave the lot,
   Twenty shearers on the spot,
   For a quid and just the taste of
        Any liquor we had got.

Then big Bull M'Owen set him:
   "T'ave us clean within the hour,
Cash or quits I'm game to bet him
   That it isn't in his pow'r!"
Harry Nott unstrapped his lumber,
In a row he set the number,
   Touched his razor on a cone,
   Flung a mirror on the roan,
   Stropped the blade upon his horse's
         Tail, and tackled Tim Malone.

Frog M'Dougal spread the lather,
   And the barber at his heel
Leaped the Simpsons, son and father,
   With his free and flashing steel.
"Wool away here!" bellowed Harry.  
   "Tar, you swine!" cried Limping Larry.
   And then Nott improved his paces,
   Knocked the beards from off their faces,  
   And the trees were filled with whiskers
         All the way to Billy's Braces.

Nott had done; one minute saved him;
   But he'd overtaken Frog
In the rush and cleanly shaved him,
   Likewise Don M'Owen's dog.
Then he turned upon them proudly,
And he cursed his blinkers loudly,
   For the first three shearers sat
   In their places, fair and fat,
   Just the same three men, but beards
         They had, and long and thick at that.

Says M'Owen, "Who can doubt it?
   You don't know this fertile plain!
Why, you've been so long about it  
   That their beards have grown again!"
Then the barber, white with wonder,
Climbed his roan, and sighing, "Thunder!"
   Cantered off his bag of bones;
   But M'Owen never owns
   How they rang the changes on him
      With the fat and fair Malones.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 13 December 1905

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 13, 2011 6:57 AM.

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