Thursday, March 10, 2011

The New Chum's Lament

Tune: The Drops of Brandy

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I'm out in Australia at last.
But I heartily wish I was back again
My cash is now running out fast,
Or else I'd be off in a crack again.
Since the day I left home to come here.
Misfortune has always attended me:
And if I stay longer I fear
This country will soon put an end to me.

At first I thought all was serene.
That the folks out here nothing did know at all:
I fancied they seemed rather queer.
That they neither could "gas" nor could "blow" at all.
But alas! I found out my mistake;
For they proved to be most artful dodgers
I found they were all wide awake.
And regular "downy" old codgers.

I'd scarcely set foot in the place:
From the vessel I'd been but an hour off:
On the pier, right before my own face.
Some thieves with my boxes did scour off.
I loudly called for the police;
At length appeared one Seargent Newsome;
I told him they'd stolen my valise,
Said he, "That's how they serve every new chum".

i joined with two chaps whom I met
Who were very good hands at gold digging.,
But old habits they couldn't forget,
For I bowl'd them out one day a-prigging.
This opened my eyes to their game.
Although I said nothing about it
And yet I must own 'twas a shame,
And what honest person would doubt it?

When we'd been on the diggings a week,
We put down a twenty foot shicer,
Provisions were dear on the creek,
And my tin had run out in a trice, sir.
Then seeing that my cash was all spent
Perhaps you may doubt my sad story,
They sold both my tools and my tent
And left me alone in my glory.

And now as they'd bolted away
To wind up the whole of the matter
No longer up here will I stay
Because I am now but a hatter
Every man has imposed upon me,
So all of you new chums now be advised
And do nothing rash do you see,
Until you've been thoroughly colonised.

From Ron Edward's Great Australian Folk Songs. Published in Hodgson's Colonial Songster around 1857.

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