The Ballad of the Bondi Bather by C.J Dennis

| No TrackBacks
There is much consternation among the large number of men who indulge in surf-bathing at Bondi, on account of new regulations to be enforced.  The Waverley Municipal Council has decided that a neck-to-knee costume is to be no longer  sufficient.  A skirt, reaching at least to the knees, has to be added, and arms must be concealed to near the elbows.   Loitering on the beach is also to be prohibited, and all intercourse between bathers and the general public is to be  forbidden.  The penalties for a breach of the regulations will range from 20s. to £25.

A bather down at Bondi was strolling by the sea,
As innocent as any Bondi bather well could be,
Nor deemed it any evil, as it may well be supposed,
That a kneecap was uncovered and a funny-bone exposed.

Nay, who should think it sinful that no skirt concealed the shape?
The bathing clothes were wet and tight with no concealing drape;
But the godly folk of Waverley espied it on the sands,
And the godly folk of Waverley cast up their eyes and hands.

For a bather down at Bondi with a funny-bone exposed
Is a monster of iniquity to whom all heaven's closed.
And a bather down at Bondi with a shameless, naked knee
Is evil to the pious folk of godly Waverley.

And the folk of Waverley espied the bather there,
They locked their womenfolk inside and hastened to the Mayor:
"Alas," they cried, "upon our beach a fiend in human frame.
Ay, all too much in human shape, has put our town to shame!

"He strolls upon the open beach, his funny-bone in sight,
Our womenfolk are all indoors, half fainting from the fright;
Our brave police are after him, they think they have a clue,
For he has shown his humerus, ay, and his kneecap, too."

The good Mayor's brow frowned darkly as he thundered, "Have they brought
And tried for his iniquity before our august court."
"Ay, try him!" yelled the populace, and rushing down the street,
They seized the Bondi bather, whom they wrapped within a sheet.

The good Mayor sat upon the bench, a solemn sight to see.
Upon his face he wore a look of shocked propriety;
But as the bather was unwrapped he cried in great distress,
"Why, you haven't brought a bather; you have brought a batheress!"

Then the populace of Waverley, it turned a fiery red,
The populace of Waverley hung its collective head,
And the voice of Waverley went up attuned to deepest woe.
"Oh, how can we be blamed for it? How were we to know?"

The pious Mayor of Waverley he did not say a word.
The populace of Waverley began to feel absurd.
The blushing Bondi bather, she just hung her pretty head.
Then spake the Mayor, "Let the men all haste indoor," he said.

The modest men of Waverley they hastened from the court.
The godly Mayor stayed behind, altho' he never ought;
Then the Bondi bather murmured, "May I go away and dress?"
And the pious magistrate looked down and blushing, answered, "Yes."

There's a moral to my story, as you surely will have guessed --
You have to move discreetly when you deal with the undressed.
And they never since have raised their heads, the folk of Waverley:
That's the ballad of the bather down at Bondi by the sea.

First published in The Gadfly, 16 October 1907

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 16, 2013 7:30 AM.

A Song for a Centenary by C.J. Dennis was the previous entry in this blog.

Shweemeesh by C.J. Dennis is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en