Saturday, February 5, 2011

Justice On The Mines

Another anonymous gem from the Big Book Of Australian Folk Songs.

The day it was wet and the court it had met
And His Worship was lively and free
The courthouse a shanty, and Constable Lanty
Had the prisoner chained to a tree

"What's the case?" asked His Worship, as backward he leant
While his pipe he was comfortably lighting
Is it murder, or robbing with dire intent?
"No, Your Worship. This fella's been fighting"

"Fighting, indeed, to make men's noses bleed.
This indeed is a trifle too frisky
Lanty just go to the pub down below,
And bring me a good nip of whisky"

The constable went on his mission intent
And came back, to His Worship's great joy
But his hand it came down as he said with a frown
"You've watered it, Lanty, my boy"

"I can do that myself and the whisky itself
Is not my old tap, you know well
You may think that I'm tight, but I'll prove I'm all right
As this verdict will presently tell."

"You see the mail-coach has just come into town
Take the prisoner and into it bang him
From the place where he stands. Mind, obey my commands.
From the coach take him and hang him!"

"But, Your Worship! The case is assault at the most
You really don't mean what you say
Consider the case in some other place
And the verdict, please give us next day"

"Don't know what I mean! Take that, you spalpeen"
Said the Court, as in fury it rose
His right hand at once grasped the constable's sconce
While his left struck him full on the nose

A scuffle ensued twixt the trap and the beak
The diggers came round them delighted
They'd have seen the thing through if it lasted a week
'Til the quarrel was properly righted

At length it was over, and thoroughly sober
His Worship, to put them a fright in
Set the prisoner free, who was chained to a tree
On paying two guineas for fighting.

Recorded with Steve Cook on guitar.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is an interesting song. I guess that's the way it was often enough, eh? We hold the Yarn Event at the Maldon Folk Festival in the courthouse every year. The judge holds a gavel, and the yarn spinners are all defendants facing charges - their 'yarn' is their defence. We get some pretty purple stuff there, but perhaps it's not so far off the mark after all!