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Treading Out The Corn (1923)


"A Frank Dundyite" hurls in the following:--"Dear Pirate,--In "the Adelaide Police Court last Saturday
a bushy was up on a charge of vagrancy. He said he had played up 104 pounds in Adelaide inside three months,
said 104 pounds having been earned at hard yacka on the River Murray. The customary lecture on the evils of
extravagance was given Bushy, and he was ordered to do a get out of Adelaide. Almost every day I read
of hard-working men from the bush being similarly treated, so I have sat me down and courted the Muses:--

Why the ox should not be muzzled,
Treading out the corn.
Seems to have the wealthy puzzled,
Judging by their scorn.
And the wrathful way they bellow
Like an angry Turk,
When they find some common fellow
Isn't fond of work.

"How preposterous!" they cackle,
"Making such demands,
Common workers who should tackle
Work with eager hands ;
Fancy them demanding leisure,
Thinking--if you please--
They've a right to have some pleasure,
And a little ease.

"These accursed agitators,
Voicing views absurd,
Posing as the educators
Of the common herd ;
They're the cause of all the trouble,"
Vow the classy folk,
As with rage they fairly bubble
At the working bloke.

Wealthy folk--it's rather funny,
Never do a tap,
But extort their easy money
From the working chap.
Yet, instead of being grateful,
Pocket all the loot,
And denounce him as a hateful,
Vicious sort of brute.

Funny, too, the way they holler
When the worker spurns
Jobs at which employers collar
Every bean he earns ;
Seem to think, these toney stackers,
By the noise they make,
That the sweating wage-plug yackers
Just for yacker's sake.

That is why the common fellow's
Strange distrust of work
Rouses all these angry bellows
From the chaps who shirk ;
Since in sober truth they're puzzled,
Sure as you are born,
Why the ox should not be muzzled
Treading out the corn.

* * *


From the South Australian newspaper The Sport 4 May 1923 p. 8.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory