More Echoes from the Old Museum

Henry Lawson, 1892

      A merry lot of lunies in a Government asylum —
      That Upper House of "Fossils", as the working classes style 'em.
      The present writer lately was constrained to write about 'em,
      He wants to know the reason why we cannot do without 'em.
      We analyzed the Fossilized. and from their talk selected
      Some reasons why the People's Bill by them should be rejected;
      And, as a fresh incentive to consign them to the d — — ,
      We give some more examples of their everlasting drivel.
      First we see the mighty Lucas — man of weight among his brothers —
      Rise to add his wretched drivel to the drivel of the others;
      And he said "I think — " (Great Homer! Pray excuse the muse for winking!
      Shades of all the ancient wizards! Just imagine Lucas thinking!)
      'Cording to his speech, he rather seemed to think it was a pity
      That they couldn't have the measure mutilated in committee;
      "Necessary alterations . . . thought desirable," he muttered —
      But we scarcely see the reason for the utters that he uttered;
      He desired (at least we think so — for his words appear to show it)
      That the Bill be mutilated till its father wouldn't know it,
      Then another Jewish ruler of the working people's Tophet —
      Rather bolder than his fellows — rose and claimed to be a prophet;
      When the late reforms were started, breaking down the old class-fences,
      He and other men predicted the most fearful consequences;
      He regards attempted changes in the sacred "Constitution"
      As the reddest kind of treason, leading up to revolution;
      Others threatened, others cautioned, but the Jew put no restrictions
      On his fancy. What the dickens do we care for his predictions?
      He, perhaps, for selfish reasons fears the Democratic shake-ups.
      (If the crimson flag was hoisted 'twould be bad for prophets such as Jacobs.)
      And then "Senile de Salis" rose — another hoary filcher,
      And spoke awhile in favour of the "'on and learned Pilcher".
      He wept for bleeding PROPERTY — this venerable talker;
      He gave a case in point — he took the case of Mr Walker,
      Who robbed the toilers of the world, to leave his heirs in clover,
      And went to Heaven, having died a millionaire twice over.
      They paid one hundred thousand (Salts says), in income taxes;
      "And didn't such a man deserve his extra votes?" he axes;
      "Attacks on PROPERTY portend the ruin of the nation;"
      And — well, in short. he "would support Financial Reformation",
      Then another fossil — Bowker — waking from his mental slumber,
      Gravely tells us that "the working people are the greatest number",
      Property supports the workman; and he wants it understood, sir,
      That he'll always vote for measures which will work the greatest good, sir;
      But he asks the same old question that the rich have asked for ages,
      "Now, if Property is ruined. how can workingmen get wages?"
      For the House to pass the measure would, he thinks, be "suicidal",
      "Property's the 'ma' of wages" (Property is Bowker's idol);
      '"Twas his duty to the country, and the Queen across the ocean,
      To oppose the second reading." He would "vote against the motion".
      And behold! As writ in Hansard, 'twas the "Sheepish Shepherd's" pleasure
      To have "very great objections to the clauses of the measure";
      "Property" was "overlooked"! (Good Lord! how property lies bleeding,)
      Therefore, it was his intention to "oppose the second reading".
      He has had control of workmen since he was a little kiddy,
      And he has "got no objection to the workers". Neither did he
      In the past or in the present — this the substance of his gabble —
      "Ever look upon the Workers, as a class, objectionable";
      And he talks of thieves and loafers being voters, — rot and gammon:
      For the real Loafers, suffrage is the Robber-vote of Mammon.
      A Wesleyan rose with gabble — on1y fitted for his hearers;
      He lied about our leaders: lied about the Queensland shearers;
      He, who claims to teach the lessons of the father and the teacher,
      Rose to lie about his brother; slandered mankind like — a preacher.
      And still they talked, and yet they talked: for then another wizard —
      It was the Seer of Windsor — rose with something in his gizzard;
      And boss of all the arguments was that which he selected
      'Twas that the Bill would stop some gents from being re-elected;
      But let the people wait and hope — a coming time shall free 'em
      From the reservoirs of drivel in the stagnant old museum.
      And so the People's Bill was squashed, and "Moneybags" exulted.
      The people and the people's friends were slandered and insulted.
      One-Man-One-Vote it may not be, but if the wealthy trifle
      With Labour's rights and God's decree, we'll try "One-Man-One-Rifle".
      We have another boat afloat, and plenty hands to pull it;
      And if it ain't "One-Man-One-Vote," 'twill be — "One-Man-One-Bullet".