The New-Chum Swell - Poem by Charles Thatcher
I’ll sing just now a little song,
For you must understand,
’Tis of a fine young gentleman,
That left his native land—
That bid his ma and pa farewell,
And started brave and bold,
In a ship of fourteen hundred tons,
To come and dig for gold.
He dress was spicy as could be,
His fingers hung with rings,
White waistcoats, black silk pantaloons,
And other stylish things.
His berth was in the cuddy,
Which is on deck, you know,
And all the intermediates
He voted ‘deuced low.’
When the vessel left the London Docks,
Most jovial did he seem;
But in the Downs, a change came o’er
The spirit of his dream.
His ruddy cheeks turned very pale,
His countenance looked rum,
And with a mournful sigh, said he,
‘I wish I’d never come.’
The ship at length cast anchor,
And he was glad once more;
Six large trunks he then packed up,
And started for the shore—
His traps quite filled a whale-boat,
So of course I needn’t say,
That for the freight thereof, he had
A tidy sum to pay.
He came to town, and then put up
At the Criterion Hotel
If you’ve been there, you know the place,
And the charges pretty well.
He played at billiards half the day,
And smoked and lounged about,
Until the hundred pounds he’d brought,
Had precious near run out.
With five pounds in his pocket,
He went to Bendigo;
And when he saw the diggings,
They filled his heart with woe—
‘What! must I venture down a hole,
and throw up filthy clay?
If my mother could but see me now,
Whatever would she say?’
He went and bought a shovel
And a pick and dish as well;
But to every ten minutes’ work,
He took an hour’s spell.
The skin from off his fair, white hands
In blisters peeled away—
And thus he worked, and sunk about
Twelve inches every day.
When off the bottom just a foot,
He got quite out of heart,
And threw his pick down in a rage,
And off he did depart;
But when he’d left his hole, and gone,
A cove named Sydney Bob
Stepped into it, and soon took out
A pretty handsome ‘lob’.
With five shillings in his pocket,
He started in disgust,
And then we went upon the roads
As many a young swell must:
And if through the Black Forest
You ever chance to stray,
You may see him do the Gov’ment stroke
At eight bob every day.
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