A New John Bull

Henry Lawson, 1915

      A tall, slight, English gentleman,
             With an eyeglass to his eye;
      He mostly says "Good-Bai" to you,
             When he means to say "Good-bye";
      He shakes hands like a ladies' man,
             For all the world to see —
      But they know, in Corners of the World.
             No ladies' man is he.

      A tall, slight English gentleman,
             Who hates to soil his hands;
      He takes his mother's drawing-room
             To the most outlandish lands;
      And when, through Hells we dream not of,
             His battery prevails,
      He cleans the grime of gunpowder
             And blue blood from his nails.

      He's what our blokes in Egypt call
             "A decent kinder cove."
      And if the Pyramids should fall?
             He'd merely say "Bai Jove!"
      And if the stones should block his path
             For a twelve-month, or a day,
      He'd call on Sergeant Whatsisname
             To clear those things away!

      A quiet English gentleman,
             Who dots the Empire's rim,
      Where sweating sons of ebony
             Would go to Hell for him.
      And if he chances to get "winged,"
             Or smashed up rather worse,
      He's quite apologetic to
             The doctor and the nurse.

      A silent English gentleman —
             Though sometimes he says "Haw."
      But if a baboon in its cage
             Appealed to British Law
      And Justice, to be understood,
             He'd listen all polite,
      And do his very best to set
             The monkey grievance right.

      A thoroughbred whose ancestry
             Goes back to ages dim;
      Yet no one on his wide estates
             Need fear to speak to him.
      Although he never showed a sign
             Of aught save sympathy,
      He was the only gentleman
             That shamed the cad in me.