The Stones of Gosh by C.J. Dennis

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Now, here is a tale of the Glugs of Gosh,
   In the end of the year umteen;
Of the Glugs of Gosh and their great King Splosh,
   And Tush, his virtuous Queen.
And here is a tale of the Oglike Ogs,
   In their neighbouring land of Podge;
Of their sayings and doings and plottings and brewings,
   And something about Sir Stodge.
      Wise to profundity,
      Stout to rotundity,
   That was the Knight Sir Stodge.

Oh, the King was rich, and the Queen was fair,
And they made a very respectable pair.
And whenever a Glug in that peaceful land,
Did anything no one could understand
The Knight, Sir Stodge, he looked in a book,
And charged that Glug with a crime called Crook.
And the great Judge Fudge, who wore for a hat
The skin of a female tortoise-shell cat,
He fined that Glug for his actions rash,
And frequently asked to be paid in cash.
Then every Glug went home to rest
With his head in a bag and his toes to the west;
For they knew it was best,
Since their grandpas slept with their toes to the west. 

But all of the tale that is so far told
   Has nothing whatever to do
With the Ogs of Podge, and their crafty dodge,
   And the trade in pickles and glue.
To trade with the Glugs came the Ogs to Gosh,
   And they said in the mildest of tones,
"We'll sell you pianers and pickels and spanners
   For seventeen shiploads of stones -
      Smooth 'uns or nobbly 'uns,
      Firm 'uns or wobbly 'uns,
   All that we ask is stones."

And the King said, "What?" and the Queen said, "Why,
That is awfully cheap to the things I buy!
That grocer of ours in the light brown hat
Asks two-and-eleven for pickles like that!"
But a Glug stood up with a wart on his nose,
And he cried, "Your Majesties! Ogs is foes!"
But the Glugs cried, "Peace! Will you hold your jaw!
How did our grandpas fashion the law?"
Said the Knight, Sir Stodge, as he opened a book,
"If the goods were cheap then the goods they took."
So they fined the Glug with the wart on his nose
For wearing a wart with his everyday clothes.
And the goods were brought home through a Glug named Jones;
And the Ogs went home with their loads of stones,
Which they landed with glee in the land of Podge.
Do you notice the dodge?
Not yet?  Well, no more did the Knight, Sir Stodge.

In the following Summer the Ogs came back
   With a cargo of eight-day clocks,
And hand-painted screens, and sewing machines,
   And mangles, and scissors, and socks.
And they said, "For these excellent things we bring
   We are ready to take more stones;
And in bricks or road-metal for goods you will settle
   Indented by your Mister Jones."
      Cried the Glugs praisingly:
      "Why, how amazingly
   Smart of industrious Jones!"

And the King said, "Hum," and the Queen said, "Oo!
That curtain!  What a bee-ootiful blue!"
But a Glug stood up with some very large ears,
And said, "There is more in this thing than appears!
So we ought to be taxing these goods of the Ogs,
Or our industry soon will be gone to the dogs."
And the King said, "Bosh!  You're un-Gluggish and rude!"
And the Queen said, "What an absurd attitude!"
Then the Glugs cried, "Down with political quacks!
How did our grandpas look at a tax?"
So the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book.
"No tax," said he, "wherever I look."
Then they fined the Glug with the prominent ears
For being old-fashioned by several years;
And the Ogs went home with the stones, full-steam.
Do you notice the scheme?
Not yet? Nor did the Glugs in their dreamiest dreams.  

Then every month to the land of the Gosh
   The Ogs they continued to come,
With buttons and hooks and medical books
   And rotary engines and rum,
Large cases with labels, occasional tables,
   Hair tonic and fiddles and 'phones;
And the Glugs, while concealing their joy in the dealing,
   Paid promptly in nothing but stones.
      Why, it was screamingly
      Laughable, seemingly --
   Asking for nothing but stones!

And the King said, "Haw!" and the Queen said, "Oh!
Our drawing-room now is a heavenly show
Of large overmantels and whatnots and chairs,
And a statue of Splosh at the head of the stairs."
But a Glug stood up with a cast in his eye,
And he said, "Far too many baubles we buy;
With all the Gosh factories closing their doors,
And importers' warehouses lining our shores."
But the Glugs cried, "Down with such meddlesome fools!
What did our grandpas lay down in their rules?"
And the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book:
"To cheapness," he said, "was the road they took."
Then every Glug who was not too fat
Turned seventeen handsprings, and jumped on his hat.
And they fined the Glug with the cast in his eye
For looking two ways at the tenth of July,
And for having no visible Precedent, which
Is a crime in the poor and a fault in the rich.
And the Glugs cried "Strooth!" which is Gluggish, you know,
For a phrase that, in English, is charmingly low.
Are you grasping it?  No?
Well, we haven't got very much farther to go.

Now it chanced one day, in the middle of May,
   There came to the great King Splosh
A policeman who said, while scratching his head:
   "There isn't a stone in Gosh
To throw at a dog; for the crafty Og,
   Last Saturday week, at one,
Took our last blue-metal in order to settle
   A bill for a toy pop-gun."
      Said the King, jokingly:
      "Why, how provokingly
   Weird!  But we have the gun."

And the King said: "Well, we are stony broke!"
But the Queen couldn't see it was much of a joke.
And she said: "If the metal's all used up,
Pray what of the costume I want for the Cup?
It all seems so dreadfully simple to me.
The stones?  Why import them from over the sea!"
But a Glug stood up with a mole on his chin,
And he said, with a most diabolical grin:
"Your Majesties, down in the country of Podge
A spy has unravelled a very cute dodge;
And the Ogs are determined to wage a war
On the Glugs next Friday, at half-past four!"
Then the Glugs all cried in a terrible fright:
"How did our grandpas manage a fight?"
And the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened a book,
And he read: "Some very large stones they took
And flung at the foe with exceeding force;
Which was very effective, though rude, of course."
And, lo, with sorrowful wails and moans,
The Glugs cried: "Where, oh, where are the stones?"
And some rushed north, and a few ran west,
Seeking the substitutes seeming best.
And they gathered the pillows and cushions and rugs
From the homes of the rich and the middle-class Glugs.
And a hasty message they managed to send
Craving the loan of some bricks from a friend.
Do you now comprehend?
Well, hold on at the curve, for we're nearing the end.

On Friday exactly at half-past four
   Came the Ogs with a warlike glee;
And the first of their stones hit poor Mr. Jones,
   The Captain of Industry.
Then a pebble of Podge took the Knight, Sir Stodge,
   In the pit of his convex vest.
He muttered "Un-Gluggish!"  His heart grew sluggish,
   He solemnly sank to rest,
      'Tis inconceivable -
      Hardly believable -
   Yet he was sent to rest.

And the King said "Ouch!" and the Queen said "Oo!
My bee-ootiful drawing-room!  What shall I do?"
But the Oglike Ogs they hurled great rocks
Through the works of the wonderful eight-day clocks
They had sold to the Glugs but a month before -
Which is very absurd, but, of course, it's war.
And the Glugs cried: "What would our grandpas do
If they hadn't the stones that they one time threw?"
But the Knight, Sir Stodge, and his mystic book
Oblivious slept in a graveyard nook.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 July 1915;
and later in
The Glugs of Gosh by C.J. Dennis, 1917;
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984;
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis, 1988;
The Sting in the Wattle: Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1993; and
Bugger the Music, Give Us a Poem! edited by Keith McKenry, 1998.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 8, 2013 7:14 AM.

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