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Il Barbiere De Corio (1853)

How "Il Barbiere De Corio" Left His Shop And What He Thought And Said Thereon.

The little man sat in his chair of state,
And he blew from his mouth a mighty cloud,
(Business has been very good of late,
And. truth must be told, he was getting proud)
i'm' tired of this poor trade," quoth he,
Of shaving and curling I've had enough.
I'Il close the shop and a merchant be."
Puff, Puff, Puff--Puff, Puff, Puff. Puff.

Down came the pole front outside the door,
No longer he stands with scissors in hand,
The town for goods he does explore
With an eye to a gig and a piece of land ;
The lather has vanished from out of his mind,
In scissors he only deals by the score.
For an "Essay on Chins," he is not inclined.
And with cheese, not soap, he stocks his store.

And who is the man, now that he's gone,
To cut one's hair, or shave one's chin ?
For he, in his trade, was all alone,
And silver tokens of praise could win ;
Woe to the Barbers, their chief is dead
Woe to Geelong, its Barber's gone ;
Ragged and dirty will grow each head,
Beards are getting as hard as stone.

Woe to the merchants, a rival's come,
The spoils to share, the profit divide ;
Shippers and squatters are growing dismal,
Scissors and razors are by their side ;
"And why shouldn't I retire from trade,"
Quoth' he of the song, "for a spec I'm rife,
Every publican has his fortune made,"
And, he took a long puff a little pipe.

"This butcher and that has shut up shop.
And, with hands in packets, walks about,
Why, then, am I in retail to stop.
When others from it can soon net out ;
There's genius in my little brain.
Tho' small in stature I'm big in mind--
I'm a first-rate buyer, and cannot refrain
From venting my genius as I'm inclined."

Auction sales will pay me well.
At Melbourne trips I'm quite the thing ;
Each article I touch shall sell,
And first-rate profits to me shall bring;
Farewell shop, I'll quit you now,
Petty trade has lost its charm ;
To retailers I give the parting bow,
"Thorne and Strachan, give me your arm."

Closed is the shop from hence, and he
About the street can now he found ;
the shutters are up and he is free
To revel at will on auction ground ;
He's growing so large, 'tis said indeed,
Tho' this I think most be a joke,
That since from his shop he has been freed
Two pipes at once he's going to smoke.

W. J.


From the Victorian newspaper The Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer 24 Oct 1853 p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory