Anonymous Oceania

A West Country Ballad

This is the tale of Norton
Who vowed a vow, by zounds,
To catch the varlet Gardiner
And win a thousand pounds.

"Come thither, come thither, my little page,
Whom man call Black Billee,
And saddle me up my jolly brown steed
And bring my pistols three.

"A plan I have within my head,
By which I will surround
The rascal Gardiner and his gang,
And win the thousand pounds!"

Then up he rose, that little black boy,
And grinned he broad grins three:
"You bin catch that fella Gardiner,
You budgeree Peeler be."

Then Norton mounted his jolly brown steed,
And himself was hung about
With chains and ropes and handicuffs,
To catch the rabble rout.

He looked so fierce, when he sallied forth
All booted, spurred and saddled,
That all the little dogs tucked in theire tails
And quickly off skedaddled.

On top of Weddin Mountains stood
Bold General Gardiner,
In cabbage-tree hat and scarlet shirt
And all devoid of fear.

"What dost thou here in my domain
In suchlike warlike gear?"
Then answered Norton: "It's you I seek,
Bold Francis Gardiner.

"Of course thou wilt my prisoner be,
Both thou and all thy force,
And quietly come along with me!"
Grinned Gardiner: "Oh, of course!"

"But tarry awhile, Inspector, Sir,
Become a guest of mine,
Go not so soon, 'tis well-nigh noon,
I prithee stay and dine.

"And thou shalt taste our bushland fare
Of lobster and sardine,
Washed down with many a noggin
Of good Old Tom and gin.

"Give me thy pistols and thy sword,
I'll also take thy watch
To see what was the time of day
When thou did'st Gardiner catch!"

Then Gardiner loudly laughed Ho! Ho!
His merry men laughed He! He!
But Norton laughed a faint Ha! Ha!
The joke he could not see.

Quoth Gardiner: "Please don't leave us yet,
Thy company is so good.
Thou surely would'st not go - besides,
Thou could'st not if thou would.

"Thy solemn word we now must have
That arms thou wilt not bear
'Gainst me, or 'gainst my merry men all -
Then back thou may'st repair."

So his parole he then did give
Bold Norton brave and true,
That arms he ne'er again would bear
'Gainst Gardiner and his crew.

Then rode he home, as the story goes,
Although some people say
It is a tale for the marines,
And he dreamt it as he lay.

And naughty people wink their eyes
And say with many a grin;
"It must have been the lobsters,
Washed down with too much gin!"

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004


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