Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

The Shantyman's Fate. - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

He came out of the woods when the spring-time came,

And all of his pockets were filled with lucre ;
And he left the pancake meals behind,

And the noisy evening games of euchre ;
And he struck for the town on the southern shore,

For his winter's work was over and ended ;
With thoughts of sport he was bubbling o'er,

And his dreams of the future were wide and splendid,

A ready-made suit of a gorgeous tint,

He placed on his muscular limbs of iron ;
When he donned a plug with a glossy glint

(The merchant said that he looked like Byron.)
They barbered him up to her Majesty's taste :

He pinned on his bosom a couple of roses ;
And now, like a lord, he is hailing a hack,

And soon on its cushions he graceful reposes.

Alas and alack ! for his nice plug hat,

Was drunk as an owl at about half-past two !
His roses, ah me ! were blind as a bat,

As the shadows of evening downward drew ;
His necktie was blazing just under his ear ;

His nice havana had burnt his coat,
His collar was limp and all damp with beer,

And the tout ensemble was full as a goat.

At midnight I saw him stretched out in the pen :
His mouth was open, his eyes were shut ;


When the sergeant asked him the why and the when,
He rolled himself over and said, ' Tut tut!'

In vain they examined his clothes for dust :
His pockets they searched in vain for lucre ;

He 'd better go back to the northern crust,

And stay with the pancakes, planks and euchre.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2012

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