Henry Lawson (17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales)
When You’re Bad in Your Inside
I remarked that man is saddest, and his heart is filled with woe,
When he hasn’t any money, and his pants begin to go;
But I think I was mistaken, and there are many times I find
When you do not care a candle if your pants are gone behind;
For a fellow mostly loses all ambition, hope, and pride,
When—to put the matter mildly—he is bad in his inside.
Bobby Burns was down on toothache, and it troubled him no doubt;
But you know a man can always have a molar taken out,
And be all right then, excepting for the duller pain that comes
To the hollow that is lying like a gully in the gums.
But you can’t extract your innards—they must stay within your hide,
And you’ve got to moan and cuss it—when you’re bad in your inside.
You dunno what to take for it—you dunno what to do:
You are puzzled to remember what has disagreed with you,
You lie in all positions—there is none will give you ease;
And you think an aching stomach is the king of agonies.
You feel as though your innards in a double knot are tied,
While the devil ties it tighter—when you’re bad in your inside.
Then you send that boy—that Harry—and you tell him to be quick,
For a shilling’s worth of brandy, “for a person who is sick”.
You make him swear to hurry, and he goes off like a shot;
But you wait an hour and suffer, and the brandy cometh not;
Then you look out through the window, and you swear to bust his hide,
For the wretch is playing football, while you’re bad in your inside.
Then there’s mostly some old woman, with your aunt or mother, too,
And it’s really quite indecent how she cross-examines you.
She insists on giving physic, and will hear of no excuse;
And dilates upon your bowels till you wish her to the deuce.
You wish she’d go and leave you—let you be and let it slide,
And go about her business, when you’re bad in your inside.
But she’s come to see you through it, and she bustles in and out;
And she talks of private matters that she oughtn’t talk about.
She proceeds to pill and dose you, and she vows that you’ll be ill
Till you’ve swallowed every nostrum—castor oil, and draught and pill,
And you wish, good Lord! that she would pass across the Stygian tide,
And nurse the gory Devil, when he’s bad in his inside.
But the hag is interested, and she bustles out and in;
And in various disguises give you nauseous medicine.
Till she’s shifted all obstructions, and has soothed your keenest pain
(Though her remedies may leave you a much sicker man again);
But she’s done her best to help you, for her sympathy is wide,
And you’ll bless that same old woman when you’re right in your inside.
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