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The Freetrade Rabbit Pie

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)

Ses Cullen, the cockie, he ses to me:
'Now, I puts it to you in this way:
If a feller....(Woah, Ginger! Come over, yeh cow!)....
If a feller sets out fer to say
Where he happens to stand in this politics game,
And to reason the why and the how,
He has got to have somethink to back up the same,
As the sayin' is....(Woah there, yeh cow!)

Ses Cullen, the cockie, e ses to me:
'Well, I reasons it out fer yeh so:
There's this 'ere Pertection an' this 'ere....(Woah Nell!
Come over there, Ginger! Way! Woah!)....
There's this 'ere Pertection an' this 'ere Freetrade,
Which I never 'ave quite understood,
Till I figures it out be the blunders I made
While I scratched fer me own livelihood.

'When first I took up me selection out 'ere
I was votin' Freetrade pretty strong!
An' to live on the cheap was me centril idear,
An' I couldn't see anythink wrong
With livin' on rabbits, fer rabbits was cheap,
As you'll probably quite understand,
Fer, back in that time we was breedin' a heap
On me own, an' the neighborin' land.

'There wus Sanderson had the next selection to me;
He bred mostly rabbits an' debts;
An' Jones, an' McPherson, an' Sandy McGee
Had heaps of the dear little pets.
So I figgers ut out to meself, an' I owns
That this puttin' up fences is rot;
I'd be wantin' the rabbits of Sandy an' Jones
When I'd et up me own little lot.

'So I cleared off a bit an' I sowed down me grass,
An' I lived upon rabbits an' duff,
Which was cheap, you'll allow, but as months came to pass,
I was just about gettin' enough.
I was pinin' fer change, so I reckoned I'd breed
Some sheep an' a bullock or two;
But them dash Freetrade rabbits kep' eatin' the feed
Just as fast as the bloomin' stuff grew!

'It was here that I gave up me Freetrade fer good;
An' I set about riggin' a fence -
Jest a sort o' low tariff of barbwire an' wood.
(I admits I was long gettin' sense.)
'Now this,' reckons I, 'will keep most of 'em out,
While ut lets just a few of 'em in!'
You will note, all along, I 'ave not the least doubt,
I was keen upon savin' me tin.

'But I'd come to icknowledge that breedin' the pests
Was a false an' mistaken idear:
So I poisons me own, an' I digs out the nests
Till I got me place pretty well clear.
But me chock-an'-log fence was a sight fer sore eyes!
It was far frum Pertection, I owns;
Fer I stil hugged the notion of eatin' cheap pies
That was bred be McPherson an' Jones.

'An' them rabbits was cheap - you might think I was dense,
But I couldn't deny they was cheap.
So still they come in through th egaps in the fence
An' took 'alf o' the grass from me sheep....
The sudden, one mornin', it struck me - fair whack!
An' I seen ut as plain as could be:
Wot about all the grass that them rabbits took back
To McPherson an' Jones an' McGee?

'There was Sanderson's rabbits consuimin' the feed
That belonged to me bullicks an' cheep!
An' here was me helpin' 'em! Thinkin' I'd need
Of a bunny or two in the cheap!....
I was solid Pertection in less than a week.
An' me nettin' was up in quick time;
An' now, you will notice, me bullicks is sleek,
An' me mutton, I tell yeh, is prime.

'So you take ut frum me....(Woah there, Ginger, yeh cow!)....
Ses old Cullen, the cockie ses he:
'I'm a certain an' solid Pertectionist now.
fer I'm sick of the bunny that's free.
'Low Tariff' is lettin' in rabbits to eat
The grass that you want fer yer sheep,
An' doin' in chances of raisin' good meat
In the hope of a pie on the cheap.

'An' if these politicians 'as got any sense -
(An' I've 'eard as there's some with a head) -
They will give over patchin' their chock-an'-log fence,
An' put up new nettin' instead.
Fer I've found that the nettin's the sensible way,
An' I'm happy and properous now.'
Ses Cullen the cockie, he ses to me, 'Hey!
Git on with yeh, Ginger, yeh cow!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:49 min read

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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