In re a Gentleman, One by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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When an attorney is called before the Full Court to answer for any alleged misconduct it is not usual to publish his name until he is found guilty; until then the matter appears in the papers as "In re a Gentleman, One of the Attorneys of the Supreme Court", or, more shortly, "In re a Gentleman, One".

We see it each day in the paper,
   And know that there's mischief in store;
That some unprofessional caper
   Has landed a shark on the shore.
We know there'll be plenty of trouble
   Before they get through with the fun,
Because he's been coming the double
   On clients, has "Gentleman, One".

Alas for the gallant attorney,
   Intent upon cutting a dash!
He starts on life's perilous journey
   With rather more cunning than cash.
And fortune at first is inviting --
   He struts his brief hour in the sun --
But, lo! on the wall is the writing
   Of Nemesis, "Gentleman, One".

For soon he runs short of the dollars,
   He fears he must go to the wall;
So Peters' trust-money he collars
   To pay off his creditor, Paul;
Then robs right and left -- for he goes it
   In earnest when once he's begun.
Descensus Averni -- he knows it;
   It's easy for "Gentleman, One".

The crash comes as soon as the seasons,
   He loses his coin in a mine,
Or booming in land, or for reasons
   Connected with women and wine.
Or maybe the cards or the horses
   A share of the damage have done --
No matter, the end of the course is
   The same: "Re a Gentleman, One."

He struggles awhile to keep going,
   To stave off detection and shame;
But creditors, clamorous growing,
   Ere long put an end to the game.
At length the poor soldier of Satan
   His course to a finish has run --
And just think of Windeyer waiting
   To deal with "A Gentleman, One"!

And some face it boldly, and brazen
   The shame and the utter disgrace;
While others, more sensitive, hasten
   Their names and their deeds to efface.
They snap the frail thread which the Furies
   And Fates have so cruelly spun.
May the great Final Judge and His juries
   Have mercy on "Gentleman, One"!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 March 1889, and again in the same magazine on 30 April 1930;
and later in
Saltbush Bill, J.P., and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1917;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990; and
Selected Poems: A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1992.

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 March 30, 2012 9:04 AM.

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