Australian Folk Songs
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The Rabbit Convention (1890)
Oh, that animal the rabbit,
It has got a horrid habit
Of colonising countries at his own sweet will.
They are cursed by the selectors,
They are blessed by the projectors
Of all kinds of patent fixings, the little pest to kill.
Now those charming little creatures,
With their blisful little features,
Are quite at home on mountain or on plain,
And we never catch them napping.
Tho' we're trapping, trapping trap,
But all our efforts seem to be in vain.
They increase so very quickly,
And they're hadly ever sickly,
It's quite enough to drive a man insane;
Yet they dance about so lightly,
And appear ao very sprightly,
And thrive in land of sunshine or of rain.
The other day out walking,
I heard some rabbits talking
So stopped at once to hear what they might say
And one old doe was crying,
For her children dear were lying,
It seems they had been poisoned that same day.
So they held a monster meeting
On the subject " What we're eating,"
And all the barrow councillors were there,
And the doctor first was speaking
(His breath of whiskey reeking),
And this is what he said, I do declare.
"I am medical adviser
To Mrs. Jones Elizan,
Who lives upon the burrow on the plain ;
I heard her children sighing,
And I knew they were a-dying,
Tho' I gave the usual remedies in vain."
"They said they had been dining
On a something rather shin'ng,
Which seemed at once to paralize their brain;
And I found inside their stomachs
(They'd been feeding on the hummocks)
Of each of them two bits of poisoned grain."
Not to weary an narration
I must say that inflammation
Supervening on congestion stopped their breath
Tho' the language is informal
Yet their livers were'nt normal,
And there is no doubt that poison caused their death.
"And I'll make this plain by stating
That their hearts were palpitating,
Combined with epistaxis of the nose,
So it's clear it was not rabies
That has carried off her babies,
As Doctor Piebald leals yonu to sappose."
Spoke the Coroner " Well really
I feel regret sincerely
At the inquests that I'm holding every day,
So beware the poisoned furrows,
And avoid suspicious burrows,
Or from this land you'll all be swept away."
From the NSW magazine the Portland Guardian Wednesday 12 March 1890, p. 4.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory