Old Town Types No. 18

Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, golden-bearded, ever gay,
Spread about him great good cheer in his prosperous heyday;
Familiar sight on district roads - his buckboard and his pacing roans,
As men, perched high on harvest lands, waved whips and called in cheery tones;
For not a man had ill to speak of open-handed Johnny then,
Since, with its fortune at the peak, the old town valued spending men.
And Johnny spent, come shine, come rain; and earned and spent and carried on
With his prophetic trade-refrain of 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'

Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, at his more important sales
Always stood the crowd free beer, serving it from bright tin pails. And, as the pannikins passed round, few were too churlish not to quaff,
While Johnny, from his vantage ground, tossed banter back, and laugh for laugh
At some broad jest, then paused to praise this 'splendid beast,' these 'fine fat
Then, as the bids began to rise, vowed dolefully they went too cheap.
And sudden optimists would grant that as a rustic wit he shone,
This wag, with his familiar chant of 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'

So Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, spent and prospered, spent again,
Till 'Progress' brought the railroad here, and out across the Mallee plain.Then puzzled men knew vague unease as prices, too, began to fall;
  They talked about economies, and failed to understand it all.
Yet Johnny Nock, now past his prime, smiled on, and scorned ill-omened tales,
And drew commissions for a time from dismal, beerless mortgage sales.
  Then, most men realised, at last, the old town's star no longer shone.
  The glory of the reckless past was, 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'

Old Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, his golden beard now clipped and grey,
In his wheeled-chair dragged out the drear and clouded sunset of his day.
  His house, his buckboard, all were sold, his latest pair of prancing roans;
  But Johnny, grown infirm and old, greeted all men in jovial tones.
He wheeled himself about the town, still patron of the racing club
For old times' sake; he wore no frown, and found much business at the pub.
  Then, one still night, in accents clear he cried, 'Who bids, gents?  Carry on!'
  And Johnny Nock, the auctioneer was 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:59 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic octameter
Characters 2,235
Words 402
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 7, 8

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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