The story of Will H. Lister – Australian Bush Humorist
An article by Warren Fahey, Australian Folklore Unit
I am an inveterate explorer of second-hand bookshops and book fairs. In 2002, at a Kings Cross antiquarian book fair I found a slightly damaged copy of a book titled Me – Und Schmertzer by ‘Heinrich Scheinloof’. I wouldn’t normally pick up a book in what looked like German, but I recalled having seen the name before. In fact it has been mentioned in an interview I did with a German Australian, Jacob Lollbach, in Grafton, in 1973. I recorded Jacob (who was 102 years old) and his son, Charlie, for my National Library of Australian Folklore Collection.
I took the book home and straight into my library with the other magazines and books I had nabbed. It wasn’t until six years later that I took it down and started to read the poems and uncover the story.
‘Heinrich Scheinloof’ was actually a native-born Queenslander named William Henry Lister. He was born 28 October 1866 and died 1935. He was educated in Roma and Brisbane and went on to lead a varied working life as a journalist. He was editor of Toowoomba’s Biz newspaper and owner of the North Coast Star and the Moreton Mail. He had three books published: Heinrich Scheinloof: His book (Self-published, 1896, Toowoomba), Me – Und Schmertzer (Published Brisbane, W.H. Wendt, 1905) and Thoughts For Tonight (Published Brisbane, Read Press, 1926 and based on his 4QG broadcasts). Lister also contributed verse to The Bulletin, The Queenslander, The Daily Mail, The Observer, The Courier and, of course, The North Coast Star, which he owned. A search for his newspapers in Queensland’s Oxley Library shows the Moreton Mail was established 9 January 1886 but there is no reference for either Biz or the North Coast Star however the fact that one of his books was published in Toowoomba in 1896 suggests he had been editing Biz at that stage.
Lister’s characters were down-to-earth German settlers experiencing familiar challenges such as snakes, drought, stubborn cows, petty local government, visiting dignitaries, the Brisbane Exhibition and various family celebrations. There is also a considerable body of political comment, especially about the rumblings in Europe, suggesting Lister was actually of German heritage.
Me – Und Schmertzer was distributed by Gordon & Gotch and was 21.5 x 14 cm, soft paperback, 126 pages and my copy was inscribed ‘review copy’. It cost one shilling and appears to be under represented in the national collections. Two copies in the Oxley marked as having particular Queensland relevance. The cover carries a note: ‘A liddle nonsense fon mine pen, vos haf some senses now and den’ and the cover illustration of a pipe-smoking ‘Heinrich’ exclaims ‘Dot’s Me!’ The book offers around 85 poems and various short humorous sketches from ‘Heinrich’ plus a series of nature photographs of landmarks such as ‘Crooked Neck’ (Glass House Mountains), ‘Lake Eacham, Mount Morgan mines, Dagg’s Falls, Killarney and the Railway Bridge at Caboolture River. Some have accompanying verse. It should be mentioned that at the time the book was published reciting was popular. Lister even makes mention of this in his introduction.
|‘An effort has been made throughout to cultivate a bright genial spirit, and if the perusal or recitation of the sketches should in any way serve to excite merriment, and enable the weary to lay aside, for the nonce, the worries and cares of life, the object of the writer will be accomplished.’|
Garbled English, often referred to as ‘broken English’ is a fascinating study and appears to have been a part of popular Australian entertainment for quite some time, probably originating in English vaudeville and landing here during the 1850s goldrush. It is no coincidence that many German immigrants came to search for gold.
Although they seem to have disappeared the most common forms of Australian broken English were German, Dutch, Yiddish and Aboriginal so called ‘pigeon English’.
Mark Schuster has done considerable work on German traditions in Australia, including several oral history recordings for the National Library, and has been very generous in my own research into Will H. Lister. Mark is himself of German background and explains that gemixt idiom is regional, and referred locally as Barossa Deutsch; Lockyer-Deutsch; Fassifern-Deutsch etc. and that the regional German-English languages were subtly different. ‘Some had a large smattering of ‘low’ (Platt) German words embedded. One or two variants would be very hard for us to understand. Most people spoke the Platt – whereas ‘Hoch’ Deutsch was used for schooling/Church.’ Mark reinforced that the majority of German settlers had a good attitude to life, enjoyed drinking, socializing, music and joke telling. One can imagine the pioneer families, with a smattering of English, trying to communicate with the dry-as-a-bone Australians, and the invention of a humorous broken German/English would have produced laughter on either side of the fence. Much of our pioneering spirit could be summed up as ‘what else could one do but laugh’.
The term ‘double Dutch’ will be familiar to many readers. Dutch, like German, is a guttural language and presents certain difficulties in pronouncing words like with which becomes mit, where becomes dere and they becomes dey – and these examples are only the easy ones! The Jews were a popular target for humour and, considering the number of Jewish stage performers in London, Manchester and New York at the end of the 19th century, it is interesting to note that much of the seemingly racist material emanated from their own acts. One of Australia’s most gifted and popular entertainers, Roy ‘Mo’ Rene, was a Dutch London Jew (his real name was Van der Sluice) from Adelaide and much of his humour was based on Yiddish put downs, including songs. Aboriginal ‘pigeon’ was also a point of humour and references also appear in songs like the final verse of The Old Bullock Dray’ and ‘Old Black Alice’. Most of the Aboriginal material was of the ‘Witchetty’s Tribe’ variety in as much as it was condescending and would be thought inappropriate nowadays.
One of the questions arising from these various groups is whether they were seen as racial slurs. The Germans and Dutch broken–English songs, jokes and monologues do seem to place their subjects as dumbkofs or bumpkins. Lister’s ‘Heinrich Schmertzer’ and his German associates are not portrayed as fools but as kind, sometimes bumbling, pioneer settlers facing the usual rural challenges but addressing them in a German Australian comic way. They also express a passionate love of Australia, something most native-born Australians found it difficult to express. Lister’s works also point to a concern over the, at the time, growing disquiet in Europe over Germany’s imperialistic moves. This must have been a difficult position for German Australians and, of course, news from Europe to the backblocks was unreliable, usually out of date, and prone to misinterpretation.
A pioneer of German broken English song was J.Emmet who was an Adelaide-based vaudeville artist. His Emmet Songster, published by Coles Book Arcade (Adelaide Branch) in 1877, included such titles as ‘Schneider, How Vas You?’, ‘Shonnie Vos A Nice Young Man’, ‘De Vatercress Girl’, ‘Sauer Kraut Recipe’ – all sung by his internationally renowned character ‘Fritz’.
Many Germans came to Australia for the goldrushes and German named towns and landmarks cover Australia. I was curious why Will H. Lister would have chosen to work with a German character (if he himself was possibly not of German extraction) and Mark Schuster explains some of the background to German immigration flows:
|‘Germans came to Queensland because of the immigration agents (Heussler) who roamed the northern German countryside/billboards. We need to remember the colony of Queensland had its own immigration agents. Squatting runs were broken up in the 1870s/1880s. Prior to this shepherds were needed; post 1880s selectors were needed when the ‘runs’ were broken up resulting in enormous immigrations through Moreton Bay and Maryborough. I know of many Tenterfield settlers coming from Brisbane. Grafton and Hunter Valley Germans were vine dressers/tradesmen from Central Germany. Riverina settlers were 1st/2nd generation settlers from Wimmera/SA. There were German ‘enclaves’ through NSW, but not as numerous, or as large, as the many QLD settlements.’ He continues, ‘Once the Germans had settled in Queensland they wrote to their relatives about the cheap land, good soil and, importantly, no conscription. Many came and few went back Home.’
(Mark has collected some lovely old poems about homesickness).
The other issue facing German Australians was that of the threat of war. Lister’s book has several poems about the changing climate in Europe and a series of verse calling for peace. The harsh reality came when, in both WW1 and WW2, German Australians were sent to camps ‘where they could be watched’. Mark’s father, grandfather and uncles were sent to such camps and he explains that the internment is still a sensitive matter with many families. In WW1 many were sent to Holsworthy and in WW2 to Tatura – where they were retained throughout the entire war. ‘This is such a big thing. It still hurts in my own (loyal Australian) farming family, and many oldies still cry over the situation. The majority of the public has no idea of what really happened.’
Here is a selection of Will H. Lister’s sayings and poems.
‘Moley Hoses’ was one of his character’s favourite expressions.
Schmertzer von day oxed me vot a “bigot” vos. und I told him.
“Moley Hoses,” he says, “is dot so?” Und he told me dot his liddle poy vos been ox him vot id vos, und he told him dot dey vos dose ting’s dot eats der holes in der scheeses..
Schpeaking or der roads apoud der country, Christy vonce told me dot he met a teamster mit a load of pine logs und a bullock team. Dot team vos schtuck by der mud in der creek, und der lankwidge der cofe used made Christy’s hair stand by ids end oop. He vos schvearing like tunder! “Look here, mate,” said Schmertzer, “uf you schvear like dot, you don’d go by Heafen already.” “I oxbose not.” Said der teamster, “und uf i don’d schvear I gets me not oud of dis bog!”
Schmertzer vos down der road a gouple of veeks ago und some poys vos making’ fun mit him. He told me apoud id. He said dot
he don’d vos shoost feeling’ so goot in healt as yenerally alvays, und in schpeaking to der missus he habbened to say dot der cow seemed as uf id vos getten ‘tick fever’, und at der same dime he said be don’d vos feeling too veil himseluf. His liddle poy Gottleib told der teacher by der school dot der cow don’d vos veil, und his farder vos got der ‘tick fever’. Dot’s vot der poys vos making fun mit.
Von day Christy Schmertzrr vos been told me dot mempers fon Shire Gouncil near his blace, vos been going on a debutation to der Minister, to ox him to lend dem some monish, might dey put some fences round der cemetry dere. I says to him. “Votefer for do dey vont
to fence der cemetery in?” “Veil,” he says, “to keep beeples oud, I oxpose.” Und I schimiled at him. “Look here, Christy,” I say “Dot’s
der funny part of der bizness — dose beeples dot vos oudside dot cemetery don’d vont to get in, und dose dot’s inside don’d can werry well got oud, so vots der use mit a fences, dot’s vot I vont to know.” Und Schmerter haf been buzzling himseluf efer since.
Schmertzcr vos telling me apoud Gottleib Wiemer’s de odder day. Gottleib had shot Carl Handsundfeet’s dog und dere vos some droubles in der Police Court. Der magisdrate says to Gottleib “Did you shoot der dog in self-defence?” “Nein, not at all.—I shot him in der pack und he yumped der fence.” “No, no, dot’s not vot I mean,” said der magisdrate, “I mean did der dog adtempt to go for you?”
“Go for me.'” says Gottleib, “No he don’d go for me, he go for home so sooner as lightnings ven he felt dol shot in him.” Der magisdrate
don’d know him how to got ofer der bizness, “Veil.” he say at last, “I fine you vot der dog’ is vert—ten shiillinks.” “By Shimniiney, I pays dot soi villing as efer,” says Gottleib. Und now Carl Handsundfeet vos been rearing anodder dog.
Schmertzer vos telling me apoud a new schurn schap dot vos gome to york on der farm already. Schmertzer don’d tink much of dot immigration goncern, he says, uf dey don’d get besser schaps dan der von he had. “Why,”says Christy, “I gafe him del halter to go down
der paddock und pring de old grey mare oop, und ven he got to her he schtood as uf gonsidering vedder to put id round her neck or round her vaist or vherefer as novhere – und by der dime he vos decided der mare took fright und ve don’d got her not for an hour sooner as after pefore.” “Nefer mind, Christy,” I say lo him, “you voner vos a new schum.”
“Dot’s drue, Heinrich,” he say, “but I alvays could told vich end of a horse vent first der road along, und uf dey gafe me a halter, I don’d
put id on der tail.”
Schmertzer came to mine blace der odder morning such a wreck.
“Mine cracious! Vot’s der matter mit?” I exclaimed. His face vos plack, his clothes vos cofered mit ashes, und he had a vild look in his eyes; his mout und viskers vos full mit soot, und he seemed as uf he’d met an earthquake. “Oh, Heinrich,” he said, ven he had his
voice found, “dot young Hans vos been der death fon der families, und dese English history cofes by der school vill haf some droubles to answer for.” “Vhy,” I oxed, ” haf you been by dor school?” “Nein, you dunder kopht,” he say, “dere is some history vot tells apoud some gunpowder goncern, und Hans he lets some cracker off, shoost ven I vos making der tea dis morning by der kitchen fire, und turning der pacon mit der fork ofer. “Moley Hoses!'” I say to him – vot you doing?” “Ho! Hurrah!'” he say, “dis vos Guy Fork’s day.”
“Vell, vell,” I say, “Schmertzer, don’d got angry, dot poy vos right – you had der ‘fork’ und he’s made a ‘guy’ of you, dot’s certain.”
Schmertzer vonce made a schpeech at a show dinner. He said.—
“Schentlemen, I gets me oop to probose der healt of der Bresident fon dis society und I hopes dot you vil] fill yourselves oop—no, I mean
your glasses fon der pottle oop, und trink id dry -I mean vet. Dere vos dimes ven ve vont vet und dere vos dimes ven ve vont dry—to-day ve haf bote. Der Bresident vos a man dot haf creat inderest token mit dis society, und I am bleased to tink dot on dis ocgasion he don’d ve vos able to haf a trink—pecause ve haf der trink inschtead, on acgount of dot ve vos been trink his healt. Before I sit down I vould like to schtand oop, und schpeak vot I vos tinking.— Uf I vos Bresident I vould not do as vot he has—keep der best pottle for himseluf—uf he shoost passes id along, id vos besser dot I trinks his healt fon id, as for him to trink odders” und he reached oud und got id. After dot dinner vos ofer I oxed Schmenzer vot made him look so sad—”Heinrich, ‘he say. ” Der pottle dot der Bresident had vos full mit coffee, und I nefer got such a fright mine inside pefore. I thought id vos Hock.” – I got a bit avay, und I said, “Hockactly.”
I remempor ven Schmetzer had der tootake. Von night he vos reading his paper und eating’ apples, ven all mit a sudden he git’s
A yump—whoop! Id seemed as if somevon vos shot him, und his hands go to his face, der schair vos kicked ofer, und his vife don’d know vere to get oud of der vay. Ven he vos got kerviet, his vife got sometings, und puts id in his toot. und says, “Now, Christy, do be batient.”
“Batient”‘ he shouds oud, “Batient!” vy, der bain vould kill fifteen voomen a minute'” Den he holds his face by dot fire, und tings go on
so as before again, und his vife goes on mit her sewing. “Oh, oh, oh! hokey stars!”—der cotton fell oud.
His vife once more fixes tings oop again und kervietness rests on dot house some more.
Shoost den I tropped in to see dem, und pegan to gif adwice apoud der toot. “Now, look here, shoost keep kerviet till der morning und go
by dot dentist, und after he vos cut dot toot, und poked some vire dot hole in, und smashed id oop bit by bit, und left der stump dere, und
schvore dot he haf id oud or die—” Dose vords go to his heart, und as I left der house, bote his schlippcrs hit der front gate.
Me und Schmertzer vos von day schprecken apoud der drams in Brisbane ven comes Exhibition time, und he told me how vonco his
missus vos been von too many for von of dose conductor schaps. Dey bote got on to a dram und bote sat in a schmoker’s seat.
“Dis is a schmoker’s seat,” said de conductor.
“Oh,” says she, “dot don’d madter: you know me und de old man vos been down for de Exhibition; ve only got here dis morning apoud
an hour ago, but ve intended dot ve got here gesterday, but shoost pefore ve vos gotten avay, some of der cows got avay into a neighbour’s paddock und de old man he vos loosen him time pringing de’n home, so ve don’d got sooner here as an hour ago.”
“Yes, dot’s allus reicht,” said dot conductor, “but dis seat vos researfed for schmokers.”
“Vos dot so?” she say, “und vos dere any extra scharges ?”
“Oh, no,” he said.
“Den, I schtop me here already mit Christy.”
Und she did!
Heinrich’s Trops Fon De Pen
A schmoker may not be allowed to schmoke in Heaven, but id don’d madter somevhere else – aind’t id?
A schap vill vait in der cold an hour for his schveetheart, but ven she’s his vife he’ll growl uf he has to vait five minutes for his dinner.
Dere’s many a schap who says vot he tinks, dot should be ashamed to tink what he says.
Uf you are going to be goot – be goot for sometings.
Ven you see cats fighting – id vos a scratch match – vot?
Dey call a ship a ‘she’ becos der rigging costs monish.
De easiest tings to do are dose tings ve don’d ought to do.
Plenty beeples vould know more uf dey thought dey knew less.
Schmertzer had a daughter dot shoost vos dwenty-von,
Und so he gate a barty so all could haf some fun;
He sent oud inwitations to all dose beeples round,
‘Und a finer lot of Schermans don’d novhere could be found.
Der vos derder Rienkies und der Specs, der Kriebkes fon der blain,
Der Kaysers, Rumfs, und Blitzkens ve meet some more again;
Der Scheinloofs all vos dere, mine Fritz, also mine frau,
But der old Schmertzer mit his flute, vos make der mostest row.
Ve voltzed around his lofely barn, und did dor skvare dance too,
Und der pastor he vos sing. ” Und schtill his viskers grew.”
I danced dot Irish ”proke me down”—I don’d do id pooty veil,
Id proke me down, dot’s right genuf—”I like a soldier fell.”
Der younger beeples kept it oop undil der “un vos rise,
I close oop vos aschleep, I don’d could voke mine eyes:
But ven I heard mine missus say, “You’d besser haf some vine”-
Vell, dot’s der ding to settle id—und Schmertzer’s vos so fine.
Now scharge your glasses,” Christy said (mine vos made mit tin)
“I vont to told you sometings apoud mine daughter Min.”
Und so all vos listen, bur soon vos schmell a mouse,
For ve saw a schmiling couple gomen ofer fon der house.
“Mine daughter she vos married by der pastor soon as now,
So I vont you trink der health fon Gottleib und his frau,”
Und as dey schtepped into dot barn id vos a lofely sight,
Ve saw at Schmertzer’s barty on dot morning after night.
A birthday und a vedding, Schmenzer’s barty did for bote,
So der pastor und dot Schmertzer dis dime vos men of note;
For der pastor, he made two in von, und Schmertzer von in two,
He thought der birthday barty, vos do dot vedding too.
Der Farmer’s Eight Hours
Ven der vheat vos in der schtook, und the rain vos threaten soon,
Und der night wos suiting grand, for some carting by der moon,
Ven der farmer tinks he’ll save, all his crop ven comes der morn,
He hears his vorkmen singing, in a vay dot sounds forlorn –
Ve haf vorked eight hours today
Farmer cart your own darn hay;
Ve don’d vill move a hand
To go oud on your land.
For ve couldn’t vork a half-a-minute long –!
Ven der cow vas getten bogged in der creek not far avay,
Und shoost a knock-off dime a neighbour calls to say,
Dot he‘d gif a hand to helup, uf der vorkmen on der fram,
Vould also gome und get der cow from oud by any harm –
But – ve’fe worked eight hours today
Und ve don’d got too much pay,
Let der cow got tead!
Vere der vords dey said –
For ve couldn’t vork a half-a-minute longer!
Ven der bush fire’s raging high around dot homestead farm,
Und der farmer from his home vos filled mit alarm,
Ven he goes to ox his ploughman or der poy dot vos schtart –
Ve haf worked eight hours today,
Let der fire shoost blaze avay –
Ve couldn’t schange our mind,
So tink us not unkind –
But ve couldn’t vork a half-a-minute longer.
Ven der shoost vos gomen, in der schun der poy vos turn,
Und der clock vos schtrike der hour – den der farmer he vould learn,
Dot der handle goes no more around, der poy vos left und gone
Und der air vos filling mit der vords of dis old silly song –
I haf worked eight hours today,
Let der cream till der morning schtay –
Id’s a sorrowful job,
But, so help me bob –
I couldn’t vork a half-a-minute longer.
Dee man schtarts off mit a load of schaff, packed tightly on der dary,
I schmile me at vot he did cos he’d vorked eight hours dot day;
But in der schtreet, a hundred yards fon der schtore he schtarted for
He took oud der horse und sat on der curb – he don’d could do no more.
For I’fe vorked eight hours today,
Hang der boss’s moke und dray –
Let der beeples laugh,
At dot load of schaff
But I couldn’t vork a half-a-minute longer!
I’m yenerally alvays de cofe dot vos had,
I don’d can told vhy—I reckon id’s bad,
But I oxbose dot I’m soft und easily led,
Und silly und all sorts, or wrong- in der head.
Howefer, I told you vot habbened von day,
Ven somevon a liddle game on me vos b!ay.
Und uf I could cotch him, I g’if him a scharge
Dot vould send him sky high—id vouldn’t be large.
An old friend of mine who knew I vos schveet
On goot braat wurst dot don’d ccuid be beat,
Somedimes used to send me a parcel along,
Addressed to mineseluf so dey couldn’t go wrong.
I used to vos take dem horne to mine frau,
To be cooked as so besser no von knew how,
Und veekly ve looked for dis liddle treat,
Till somevon, by Shimminey, I likes to him meet.
He took fon de parcel dose sausaqes oud,
Und filled id again so peautiful stoud
Mit some fon a butcher at tuppence a pound,
Until I got home I don’d nefer dis found.
I say to mine missus, “Villemena, mine tear,
Ve haf some goot sausage each weeck in de year.”
But yen she vos oben de parcel I’d prought,
She didn’t say much—I know vot she tought;.
Mine friend de next day, I habbened to meet
Shoost ven he vos going oop down by der street.
I told him apoud id und he hit on a plan,
By vich I could find dot vicked bad man.
But de next dime he nefer vos schange dem no more,
I forgot dot goot plan, till so after before :
For mine missus und me vos so sick und so sad,
Instead of de cofe who vos vicked und bad.
Mine Fritz und mine old missus, mineself so likevise too,
Os haf an argument von day apoud some tings ve do;
I vont to haf id done dis vay, und Fritz vos vont annoder,
I argued mit him haluf an hour. und den he oxed his mudder.
Und Shimminey Grismas, help me bob, she vent anodder vay.
So obbosite to bote of us—I don’d forget de day.
Und Fritz he vent und tried to do – his vay vos not like mine.
Ve all vos been at logger-heads, ve kicked up sooch a schein.
Und so at last Frirz said to us. ‘Shoost let me have some talk
And see uf ve can’t gompromise—Ve don’d get pig from pork.
Und so ve talked der matter oud, und to an end ve come.
So now ve all vos pull von vay und peace vos getting some.
So Federation vos like dot, ven all vos pull togedder.
Ve don’d vill care uf storms arise, or ve get schtormy vedder
For ven de boat vos manned by dose who pull de selfsame vay,
Ve’re pound to haf sugcessful dimes, und pright vill dawn der dav.
But uf von schap vos pulling wrong, id might upset de boat,
Dere’s some von’t care uf he falls oud or curs his ploomin troat,
But dere de cofes dot haf not vouce deir hearts some vishes in
For von Australian Nation, a nation ‘bound to vin.’
So let us von und all stand firm, a nation dot’s to be
Australia for Australians, a beeple proud und free;
A nation made fon all ids sons, und some fon efery land,
A vhite man’s Paradise on earth, mit brudders hand in hand.
[On January 18th, 1871, the German Empire was founded, and at Dutton Park a gathering of Germans from al! parts of Southern Queensland took place last Tuesday, to do honour to the occasion.—News par.
Me und Schmertzer der vere to der Park dot nodder day,
To celebrate Foundation Day – in our own liddle vay:
Ve met some blendy beeple’ on shoost der self same game,
Ve don’d vos been so sorry, dot eider of us came.
Dere vos Kreutzer. Horner, Schniffleburg, und Kriebke—he vos dere,
Der pand blayed shoost such moosie you don’d got eferyvhere.
‘Der lager und der sauer kraut vos remind mit long past years,
Ven I don’d like now, vos haf to trink shost common sort of beers.
Veil, der beeples dere vos plendy, der names I don’d forgot,
Dere vos Zoller, Leibke. Handsunfeet. und dotzens on der schpot,
Und Himschftcld, Schwatz, und Howsyerheadt, a noble iiddle band,
Who trank so many lagers, as me und Schmertzer schtand.
Dot’s shoost some introductions, for I must make von remark,
Not by vay schpoiling tings, but shoost I have some lark;
Der gaddering vos most serious, as all vill understand.
Dot know der kind of beeples dot left den Faterland.
Und avay fon schildhood’s home, oud on dis Austral shore,
Dey tink dem of der bygone days, vonce yet again some more ;
Deir hearts go oud dot Nation to of vich dey vere a part,
Before dey came oud here, und gafe Britain hand und heart.
“Lebe wohl, auf wiedersehn”— let der vords reach oud afar.
Let Sherman’s hear de echoes vherefer yet dey are,
For though dey’re British subjects dere’s a lofe for dose at home,
For who forgets his Faterland, ven he sets oud to roam?
“Breathes dere a man” I read me vonce, dot haf mit soul so tead
Dis is my native home, who nefer vonce vos paid.
So ven I tinks me tack some more “I lofe my natif land,”
Schtrike oop “Der Wacht am Rhine'”—tune oop der plooming band!
Und let us here join vonce again, und in memory of der past,
Und as ve hope to helup id much, let our vishes, vich vill last—
Be dot der Scherman beeples vill friends to Britain be
Und lif in lofe und peace, like deir sons across der seas.
A Schnake Schtory
I knew der schnake so very vell, I saw him efery day,
Dey kept him in a great big cage, shoost oud of beeple’s vay
Dey fed him oop on rats and mice—he vos a beauty pet,
But uf dey opened oop der door, dis cofie did a “get.”
Von day dot doer don’d fastened vos, und Schnakey vos got oud,
He had a grawl around der yard, und had a look apoud,
But nefer found dot cage no more, he lost vos oud of sight,
Dey nefer saw him all that day—dey nefer looked at night!
Der schap dot owned schnake—don’d told he’d lost his pet
So dot der schnake got far avay, so far already yet,
Dot he vos blessed und satisfied, und sure dot he vos free,
But only for a liddle vile, as you vill shortly see.
He got into a biziness blace, vhere girls vos tack und sew,
Und vhere dey haf a vire ding, on vich to dresses show.
A ding dey called a “dummy”—shoost like a vooman’s shape,
All cofered oop mit calico, und fastened oop mit tape.
Dot schnake he dought dot he vos stay in comfort here to schleep,
Und yently made a schnakey vow, dis blace dot he would keep,
He glided oop inside der ding, und hung upon der vire
Ven bresently a scream was heard!—you’d tink id vos a fire!
But no, id don’d vos any fire, dot gif dose girls a fright,
Id shoost vos Schnakey settling down to spend anodder night,
Und ven he tried to fix himself upon der vires inside,
Der blessed ”dummy” vobbled round, shoost efery dime he tried.
Now, can you fancy in your mind, some schtartled maids, a score
Who votch a ding dot moves apoud, shoost nefer as before,
Deir eyes fon oud der heads near fell, dey tought of ghosts unheard,
Deir liddle hearts vos beating hard – dey don’d could schpoke a word.
But suddenly dot schnake gets vild. und flips himself around,
Und “dummy” does a somersault mit sooch a deafening sound.
Und oud fon doors und windows fly, dose girls who tack and sew,
Dey nefer look behind some more—dey seen genuf, you know.
Der corn crop vos been gathered, under der husking vos all done.
Und der clearing of der barn had shoost apoud begun,
Ven Schmertzer’s daughter Lizzie vos suggest mit him a dance,.
Dere vos lots of room genuf — besser not been lose a chance.
So old Christy vos agreed mit und der barn vos schvept oud glean,.
Der floor vos voshed all ofer as before don’d vos been seen,
Dey made some paper flowers und festooned der rafters round,
Und dey made a schandalier mit some hoop iron dot dey found.
Und der cracks between der schlabs vos mit paper cofered ofer,
Und Schmertzer looked so bleased, as a pig dot’s in der clover;
For yet so long as many years, he’d nefer had a schpree.
So, “he meant to make der best of id,” he told mine frau und me.
He oxed der beeples near and far, some terventy couples schtrong.
Und uf dey prought a friend or two dey don’d vos do no wrong,
Den he oxed old Krompton for M.C., you don’d could get a finer,
Und efery schap vos come along, und pring mit him a kliener.
Und Gottleib Housen’s concert-screemer, vos been der moosic play,
Oxcept some vhere a gouple of notes don’d vos der tune been say;
But Gottleib vos got ofer dis, by vissling vhere id schlipped.
Und der dancers voltzed around, as der floor dey firmer gripped.
Ven comes der midnight hour around, old Schmertzer took der floor,.
Und announced refreshments vhile he sang, ” Ve parted on der shore;”
Some odder songs vos follow, und his frau sang, ” Wacht am Rhine”—
Und ve all schoined der chorus in—I told you id vos fine.
Und I vos make some speeching, extending thanks to Chris.,
His frau, und also schildren, for such a schpree like dis—
Und den ve bid ” goot morning”—as de air around did ring,
Mit a mighty sound of woices—”Gott save our gracious King’.”
But ven der daylight vos come oud, vot a mess old Schmertzer saw
Der hob-nailed boots of all der schaps had schpoiled his lofely floor,
Dere vos schplinters here und eferyvhere, but den on hunting round,,
Old Gottleib Housen’s missing notes in der vine cask vos been found.
Kerveensland! Der prightest gem in Austral’s crown,
Uf you’ll excuse me saying so, I’ll mark id down –
Broad acres vait der farmer man, der grazier und der rest,
Her vealth of soil vos such, dot millions may be blest.
Kerveensland! Her peauty schpots are marvellous und rare,
Und some mit world-famed sights mighteasily compare,
So pardon me uf loud I make der trumpets blow –
She vos my natif land – you’re sure dot fact to know.
Kerveensland! As son to mudder lofes, so shoost do I –
Und all her sister States beneat dis Austral sky,
Haf lofe fon me, because God made us von in name,
A nation middout loss of life – First on der schroll of fame.
If you would like to comment on or add to this story please contact firstname.lastname@example.org