English Imitations

(Tune - Guy Fawkes)

As I rode down the Melbourne road - 'twas only the other morning -
I saw a board stuck in a field and 'twas a gentle warning,
I read it then and with surprise I to the spot was rooted,
For it said that trespassers would be had up and prosecuted.

Thinks I, one of these 'cockatoos' has bought the land for farming,
And so to bounce us he puts up this notice so alarming,
No doubt he's some chap who at home had been had up for poaching,
And, tit for tat, he means to keep the public from encroaching.

Look at Australia, and behold increasing immigration -
You'll find a wondrous mania exists for imitation;
The English prejudices we copy to the letter;
But as regards some things, I own, 'tis hard, perhaps, to do better.

At the bare idea of railways the squatters used to laugh;
But they're in quick formation and we've got the telegraph;
Bushrangers now will shortly find those blessed wires have sold them,
And Victoria be rendered soon by far too hot to hold them.

A great colonial workhouse will, no doubt, shortly follow,
To beat the one at Mary bone or famed Whitechapel hollow;
Where loafers can pick oakum and the women use the needle,
And the next innovation then may be a gold-laced beadle.

Delinquents that, at present, are a set of jolly dogs,
Won't be allowed to spend their tin so idly in the logs,
The Brixton dodge they'll introduce to give defaulters pepper;
And the next step for the common 'weal' will doubtless be the 'stepper.'

When'er the treadmill they apply to these colonial towns,
The folks when writing home can talk about their ups and downs;
Should you e'er take this exercise here's good advice to all -
Be particular to choose the side that's nearest to the wall.


In his Australian Folk Song Index Ron Edwards writes:
"By Charles Thatcher and from The Victoria Songster, 1860."

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