The Song of What Do You Think
Henry Lawson, 1909
Oh this is the song of What-Do-You-Think, and it's sung from a safe "retreat",
And the copy was written in bilious ink to the rhythm of pacing feet.
Oh this is the song of Old Green Pen, and the Tea-Cup revolution;
Of the Stolen Ideas of Other Men, and it's sung from an Institution
A legalised institution,
A sort of an Anti-club-pub-and-shanty-avadrink Institution.
Oh this is the song of Advanced Ideas, and the song of the Latest Fad,
Of the 'Osophys and the 'Losophys the phees of the Crazy Mad.
They grip the tail of the Thing that is Dead, and believe they will save the Nation,
For they think they are flying far ahead on the wings of a revelation.
(We have all had a revelation),
And they think they are flying o'er centuries dying on the wings of a revelation.
Oh this is the song of Boy Author Clubs, and their old-maid Presidents
(And it isn't a lay of the low-down pubs, nor a trill for the navvies' tents);
'Tis a song of the Greenery Yallery Schools, and Culchaw in all its glory,
Of the Diddle-dee, Daddle-dee, Scratch-me-Back fools and Physiological Story!
Oh, the Physiological Story!
The hemale and shemale, sash-wearing old female and daring young new-girly story.
Of Debates on "Free Love" in the Realms (above), and the Readings from exercise books
On the Things that are Hid and the Woman-Wot-Did likewise of the Man-Wot-Looks;
Of the things that are known to the spooks and the gnomes, and the Ers and the Ists and Isms,
And the Creatures that writhe in Maternity Homes and the Catmittee's catechisms
Oh, those awful catechisms!
But Fred Brown, the prophet, shall picture in Tophet the end of those ghoul catechisms.
Oh, this is the song of the Tea-room and Lawn, where the slang of the nicest is heard,
Where "Oh Bothah" in favour of "Dam" is withdrawn, which they think an original word.
Where the grammar and slang of the Donah is spoke, by a sort of a flank retrogression,
And the splutter, worn out and despised by the Bloke, is considered a novel expression
Is thought quite a smart expression;
And the gushing young woman says "filthy" for "common", and for ought that might cause her depression.
Oh, this is the song of the "Push" that has gone, and of Dear Lady Who's-This to come;
Of our work with the Poor (by the Paid carried on) and of dear Mrs Upstart's At Home.
And Sir Hyphen and Oh! that Tariff You Know; and that What's This? Freetrade and Protection
We are voting for Who's-This Papa told us so; but I'm sick of the silly election.
Then they "fluff" in another direction.
And I hope, when all's ended, and broken and mended, that I'll fluff in another direction.
But this is the song of the Who'll Get In, and the song of the Who'll Go Out
And as to their votes, when they know who'll win, they haven't the slightest doubt.
Oh this is the trill of the What D'you Think, and the croon of the What Would You Say;
And they take it all down in their mental ink to use as their own next day.
She's so awfully clever next day,
And her cackle and capers are all in the papers with owlish approval next day.
They wheedle to cackle and pump to spout, and they read, on the cheap, to write:
All day they are rooting the Libraries out, for the "lecture" they're giving to-night;
For the Meetings they hold, and the Papers they read the Committee-Room cackle they cackle,
The League-Room's Debates, and, in fact and indeed, there is no subject they wouldn't tackle.
(They're a difficult subject to tackle)
It's a plucky male-human who'll tackle a woman, and some take a hero to tackle.
So this is the song of the coax to clack, and a song of the pump to spout,
Of the climbing on men who have brains and a pen, by impostors entirely without.
Of the Ask Him and Know, Get It Out Of Him So or whatever you like to style 'um.
Of the Who? and the What? and the Whether Or Not and it's writ in a drink asylum.
(They call it a drink asylum)
And I say in this chanty, the damned Dilettanti drive men to a drunks' asylum.