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The Disagreeable Musician by C.J. Dennis

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'E wouldn't play the flute; the sulky cow.
   An', after all the trouble that we took
To try an' cheer,'is spirits up some'ow,
   'E jes' sat there an' slung a glarsy look
To orl the crowd.  The diserbligin' coot!
'E wouldn't play the flute.

After we'd done our gilt in on the spread --
   Fish from the Dago joint, an' bottled beer,
An' froot, an' 'am, an' saverloys an' bread --
   'E wouldn't eat.  Jes' shook 'is silly 'ead.
An' though we begged 'im for some choonful toot,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

I puts it to yeh: Wuz we actin' fair?
   Wot more could neighbors do to cheer a bloke?
We knoo they 'e 'ad troubles fer to bear,
   An' jes called in to 'ave a friendly joke.
An', though we tempted 'im with 'am an' froot,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

There wuz Flash Liz, an' me, an' Ginger Mick.
   An' Mother Gumphy frum the corner store.
An' Bill the Rabbit-o, an' Dirty Dick,
   An' Nan the Nark, an' 'arf a dozzing more.
But strike!  It seemed the comp'ny didn't soot!
'E wouldn't play the flute.

I want yer dead straight griffen.  Wuz we right?
   Wuz it unneighborly to look 'im up
An' 'ave a little beano on the quite?....
   Fer Grief an' 'im wuz cobbers on that night.
But there 'e sat, like 's if 'e'd taken root,
An' wouldn't play the flute.

We sung a song er two to give 'im 'eart,
   'An' jes' to show yeh wot a nark 'e wuz,
'E wouldn't sing. 'E wouldn't take no part.
   'E wouldn't eat no matter wot we does.
'E wouldn't drink, 'e wouldn't touch the froot.
Or play 'is flamin' flute.

A blimed wet blankit at our little feast.
   Thet's wot 'e wuz.  'E jes sat there an' stared
Straight out afore 'im. Wouldn't take the least
   Account o' wot we did. 'E'd never cared
If we wuz rooned wif buyin' fish an' froot.
'E wouldn't play the flute.

Aw, it wuz crook!  I swear I never seen
   So mean a coot.  An' 'e could play a treat --
Play like a blinded angel, for 'e'd been
   A star pufformer -- played afore the Queen!
An', though 'e knoo we knoo of 'is repute,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

We knoo 'e'd been a bonzer in 'is day
   Afore 'e struck the slum in Scrooge's Lane.
I've orfen 'eard it said 'e useter play
   In some swell orchestrer fer fancy pay.
An' there 'e sat, in 'is ole shabby soot,
An' wouldn't play the flute.

We knoo 'e'd struck tough luck an' drifted down --
   'Im an' 'is missis -- till they come to live
On 'arf o' nothink in our part o' town.
   It weren't no fault of ours that they wuz driv
Frum bad to worse, till they wuz destichoot.
'E wouldn't play the flute.

'E wouldn't play.  Jes shook 'is silly 'ead.
   We done our best to cheer 'im, fer we knoo
'Is wife wuz lyin' in the nex' room, dead.
   Died 'cause of sooicide, the neighbors said.
But, spite of all we done, the selfish brute,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

First published in The Bulletin, 7 January 1915

The Birth of Music by Emily Coungeau

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Once, in the dawning of the splendid years,
When Fauns and Satyrs haunted woods at night,
Where deep arboreal vistas arched away
To spangled glades, and nymphs would, on tiptoe,
Dance graceful rhythms beneath the moon's soft glow,
Invisible, unheard by mortal ears,
A Spirit hid... As leaves absorb the light,
And never really die. . . It dormant lay.

He whispered to the trees with lips of fire,
Lord of the blue, domed hall .. the poet Wind
Faint, fingered, trembling, he would softly pour
Adoring passion in a minor key.
Till, like a bud that flowers impetuously,
Responsive to the breath of warm desire...
The sleeping Soul of Music woke, to find
Its magic spell would live for evermore.

And Thraeian Orpheus made the Spirit sing,
Charming the serpents wound about his feet;
And fair, frail Sappho in her Lesbian shrine,
Reeking eternal yonth at Music's fount...
Framing her lyrics on that Leucan mount...
Touched chords that down time's corridor still ring,
Though faint the echoes and the incense sweet,
She was the Muse who fanned the flame divine.

Music, the bay-crowned, of the golden tongue,
Falling in soft, celestial dews around,
A new inheritance, yet old as Time ...
The Chrysalis, whence comes seraphic wings,
To bear the spirit's sweet imaginings,
Past the supernal maze where stars are hung,
To bathe in waves of multi-coloured sound,
And melt with beauty into the Sublime.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 14 July 1923

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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