The Poetry Corner

The Loafers Club

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

A club there is established here, whose name they say is Legion From Melbourne to the Billabong, theyre known in every region. They do not like the cockatoos, but mostly stick to stations, Where they keep themselves from starving by cadging shepherds rations. The rules and regulations, theyre not difficult of learning, They are to live upon the cash which others have been earning. To never let a chance go by of being in a shout, sir, And if they see a slant to turn your pockets inside out, sir. Theyll cadge your baccy, knife, and pipe, and tell a tale of sorrow Of how they cannot get a job, but mean to start to-morrow. But that to-morrow never comes, until they see quite plainly That its completely up the spout with Messrs. Scrase and Ainley. If, feeling thirsty, you should go to take a little suction, Ill swear theyll not be long before theyll force an introduction. One knew you here, one knew you there, all love you like a brother, And if one plan will not succeed, theyll quickly try another. I knew one poor, unhappy wight, having a little ready, Entered a Smeaton public-house, determined to keep steady. A celebrated loafer there determined upon showing him That he once had the pleasure and the privilege of knowing him. Through hills and dales, by lakes and streams, he close pursued his victim, Until the miserable man confessed that be quite licked him. In vain the quarry tried to turn, pursuit was far too strong, sir, The loafer followed up the scent and earthed him in Geelong, sir. The noble art of lambing down they know in all its beauty, And if they do not squeeze you dry, theyll think theyve failed in duty. But, truth to say, they seldom fail to do that duty neatly, And very few escape their hands whore not cleared out completely.