Punch and Judy (1867)

Punch and judy 1867 illustrated verse

Punch and Judy.
(A true incident in Melbourne life about fourteen years ago.)
From the north, across the ocean,
Once a strolling player came;
For in over-busy England
There was neither food nor fame.

He had shown his Punch and Judy
At a score of village fairs;
Few were now the public's pennies,
Many were the showman's carers.

Then he heard of foreign countries,
Of a land where all was new,
Where the pence were found in plenty,
And the shows and showmen few.

So he took a weary voyage-
To this land of hope he sped
And in reckless, busy Melbourne,
Hoped to find his daily bread.

Ah! the showman's heart was beating
As the careless crowd passed by;
Underneath a comic seeming
What a world of care may lie!

Now the puppets all are ready,
And the poor old show begins,
Telling in the new-built city,
All the list of Punch's sins.

And the crowd comes to a standstill,
One by one their eyes are caught,
"What!" a Punch! Old Punch in Melbourne!
"Oh! how near old times are brought!"

Closer comes a bearded bushman,
Rough - a colonist for years-
O'er the hard blue southern heaven
Spreads a dimness like to tears.

Once again a little schoolboy,
In the foggy London streets,
He is idling at the corner,
Just to look at Punch's feats.

He can almost feel the satchel
That his mother buckled on;
She is growing old in England
Praying for her absent son.

By his side a wealthy trader,
Clever, canny in his ways,
Deigns a laugh at the old story,
Known in fairer, younger days.

When to him and to his sisters,
In a little country town,
Where the shows were very scanty,
Punch, one day, had travelled down.

Gentle Amy cried for pity,
Merry Alice laughed for glee;
Now between them and their brother
Roll all those long miles of sea.

Now a girl comes quickly past them,
Hides her eyes and slips away;
And a boy, sometimes forgetful,
Writes his letter home to-day.

One and all are pressing nearer,
Cold, hard eyes with tears are wet;
"'Tis so far away from England
Long years pass and we forget."

"Pay him all we have to give him,
Easily are nuggets won!
"Pay him well - he comes from England
Fill the hat- quick - pass it on."

So the showman made his fortune,
While his hearers went their way,
Finding once, amid their hurry,
Time to feel and time to pray. (Christabel R. Coleridge)

Location: The People's Magazine (1867). ISG BQ828.8

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