Purely Personal by C.J. Dennis

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The Federal Treasurer (Mr. Casey) says he can recall no instance in his political career of a private person asking for a copy of Hansard unless personal interests were involved.

Now recently a well-known and scholarly librarian
Was approached in his habitat by a person who may be termed loosely as an Australian proletarian,
Who said: "Pray, sir, I wish to borrow from this library a copy of Federal Hansard."
"Stone the crows! Do you know what you are asking for?" the cultured librarian answered.
(Which, candidly, is a pretty awful rhyme;
But must do for the time;
For in these days
Modern poets are apt to rhyme in many fierce and fantastic ways,
All of them quaintly queer.)
O tempora! O mores! O Canberra! O dear! O dear!

"Too right I do," the proletarian made retort.
"Hansard is an unabridged, unexpurgated report
Of all speeches, chorally, sedate, wise and witty,
Heard in our Federal City
Above the rumble of rolling logs and the harsh grinding of axes,
And delivered by the noble fellows who extort and expend our various taxes.
Am I right or am I right?" 
O tempora! O mores! O Canberra! O lovely night!

"Well," replied the librarian, "despite the quaint phraseology in which your asserveration is wrapped,
I admit that your description, tho' terse and vigorous, is not entirely inapt.
At the same time, if you will allow me so to speak,
May I say that this occasion is absolutely and unquestionably unique.
Man and boy, for 27 years, I have watched Hansard cumber the shelves here; but until now, no man, woman, or child, has ever appear'd to need it.
I take it, sir, your intention is to read it?"
"Aw, don't be daft!" the proletarian made reply.
O tempora! O mores! O Canberra! O me! O my!

"Between ourselves," the proletarian returned; "and speaking, in good sooth,
The unashamed tho' naked truth --
As it should be between honest men and brothers --
On of the legs of our kitchen table is much shorter than the others;
Wherefore my missus thought --"
"Say no more," the librarian besought.
"Take it, and if, perchance, one volume is not enough,
Come back, and I will give you more; for we want to be rid of the darn stuff
It's cluttering up all the place here."
O tempora! O mores! O Canberra! O dear, dear, dear!

First published in The Herald, 23 June 1936

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 23, 2013 4:36 PM.

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