Romance goes out of everything in these days of ill grace,
And even old John Barleycorn grows 'standardised' apace;
Once henchman of gay gallantry, a kindlier part he played.
Scene: Tavern door. A saucy wench. A merry, ruffling blade.
He stops. She smiles. Arm round her waist. 'Could Eve be more divine?
See, a kiss, my pretty sweetling. Then, I pray, a stoup of wine.'
'Twas in a 'silver' tassie' that Rab Burns pledged his lass
(The current one, 'tis understood). But days grows drab, alas.
Scene: London pub. Tiles. Glittering glass: and there, behind the bar,
A brass-haired goddess, proud, aloof from this meek gutter child.
'A pot o' four-'arf, thank yeh, miss. An' please to dror it ild.'
The scene shifts to Australia, 'where a man can raise a thirst.'
(See Kipling). From 'long-sleevers' now they drained the stuff acurst.
Back of beyond, by Clancy's run they've a had a six months' drought.
Scene: Old bush shanty. Summer. Flies. Six shearers 'cutting out.'
A shirt-sleeved, whiskered barman. Says Bill: 'By gum, it's 'ot!
Breast up, blokes. Name yer gargle. Rybuck, boss; mine's a pot.'
But mass-production now debunks old John, for olden sins;
They've 'synthesised' him, 'standardised' him, soldered him in tins.
Grog goes no more with gallantry, nor wine with poesy.
Scene: Chain store-grocer's. Pickles, clothes-pegs, jam, tinned salmon, tea.
Smug grocer (strict abstainer). enter cove in working duds.
He slings a sprat across the joint: 'Hoy! Gissa tinna suds!'