The Silver City: A Ballad of the Barrier by C.J. Dennis

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Come sing us a song of the city of sand,
   Silver, sin, and sixpenny ale;
Dumped in a desolate, drought-struck land,
   Where the dead-beat pitches his pitiful tale.

Oh, the miners work and the miners sweat;
And doubly earn the wage they get;
   On top and underground.
They toil and moil night shift and day;
And gaily they disburse their pay,
   As pay day comes around.
         Oh, pay day
         Is a gay day,
Tho' 'tis slow in comin' round.

And Bung, he smiles a well-fed smile;
And rakes the silver in the while;
   And waxes rich and stout.
The miner's stoutest friend is he,
So long's the miner's hand is free,
   And miner's cash holds out.
         He's a spender,
         On a bender,
While his hard-earned cash holds out.

The wily Book he hooks his bet,
He toils not, neither does he sweat,
   Upon the grinding mine;
But lives upon the working clods;
And lays the very shortest odds;
   And wears an air benign.
         To the miner,
         None benigner;
And it pays to look benign.

The careful Cop grabs miners tight
By scores, on ev'ry "big-pay night."
   A chance hell never lose.
The blessed Beak he fines a fine;
Then back the toilers go to mine;
   And earn another booze.
         Beak nor copper
         Put a stopper
On that yearning for a booze.

Morn, night, and noon the dust blows down
Thro' ev'ry quarter of the town --
   Round humpy, pub, and store.
It paints the face of all things brown;
And men drink pints to wash it down;
   To keep it there drink more.
         When it's dusty
         Men get thusty;
And can always do one more.

And Satan sits on a distant dump;
For in his line there's nary slump.
   He dreams sweet dreams of home;
As, watching with reflective eye;
He heaves a weary home-sick sigh;
   And vows no more to roam.
         To the heedless
         Temptin's needless;
And he might have waited home.

Then this is a lay of the land of lust,
   And the independent Ikey Mo.;
Of Greed, and Gamble, Drink, and Dust,
   And the man who slaves for Grab and Co.

First published in The Gadfly, 5 February 1908

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 5, 2013 7:16 AM.

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