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The Deep Sea Sailor's Lament (1905)
For the "Bunbury Herald."
(By a Tough Old Salt.)
I have sailed on all the oceans and visited many lands,
From the frigid shores of Alaska to Afric's torrid strands,
I escaped all kinds of trouble under every nation's flag,
Until I got to West Australia where I found I'd struck a snag.
In a town called Bunburee that faces on the sea,
Every policeman in the district thought he had a claim on me ;
And every time I went on shore those "cops" did never fail
To clasp me in their open arms and land me in the gaol.
If I ever left the jetty and strolled up to the "Pier,"
To slake my thirst at evening with a draught of Bunbury beer,
It was absolutely certain that some gentleman in blue
Would tap me on the shoulder and request an interview.
After speaking for a while, with a genial sort of smile,
He would take me to tho lock-up and place me in durance vile ;
And when awakened in a cell with a burning thirst extreme
I knew it was reality, not an electric liquid dream.
It's all right when a man feels dry to join a kindred group,
And slake his thirst from a foaming pint of brown electric soup ;
But in Bunbury if you drink too much you will not travel far
Until you find that you are up 'gainst a prohibition bar.
For the gentlemen in blue have got their watchful eyes on you,
They are hearing everything you say and watching all you do ;
And if you drink too much galvanic broth, and stay ashore too late,
They will have you in the morning up before the Magistrate.
And after interviewing you perhaps he will consign
You to fourteen days in Bunbury gaol, with no option of a fine ;
Then they rig you out in raiment until they have you looking pat,
With turkeys' footprints on your socks, your trousers, shirt and hat.
Should your best friend lay his eyes on you in that disguise,
With your clothes all printed over with Britannia's butterflys,
He would rub his eyes and marvel when he saw you thus arrayed
And think that vou were rigged up for a fancy masquerade.
Now ye toilers of the ocean, ye mariners of the sea,
If you come ashore in Bunbury and go upon a spree,
Though you may not see blue devils, if you drink much Bunbury brew
You will certainly run up against an obstacle in blue.
For the policeman on his beat you are certain sure to meet
And he kindly will escort you to a safe and snug retreat,
Where you will not for a fortnight bathe your lips in hop juice foam,
In the Bunbury gaol which should be called " The Deep Sea Sailor's Home."
From the Western Australian Newspaper the Bunbury Herald Wednesday 16 August 1905 p. 3.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory