Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A CURIOUS REMINISCENCE, by ALEXANDER MONTGOMERY (19TH CENTURY)



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A CURIOUS REMINISCENCE, by            
First Line: Of all the bloomin' awful things, the awfullest I've knowed
Last Line: An' gallops off like madmen through the rain.
Subject(s): Death; Drinks & Drinking; Memory; Practical Jokes; Dead, The; Wine; Pranks


OF all the bloomin' awful things, the awfullest I've knowed
In the five-and-sixty years I've bin alive,
Took place at Paddy Doolan's on the old Jerilda road,
'Way back in 'Sixty-four or 'Sixty-five.

Old Doolan had a handy man, a useful sort o' chap,
But a real, right-down tiger for his rum;
An', one day, bein' tipsy, why he tumbles from a trap,
And cracks his skull, an' goes to kingdom come.

Well, they sends an' tells the trooper, an' the trooper rides across,
"An'," says he, "I'll have to let the 'Crowner' hear;"
So they stretches out old Jerry in the place he used to doss—
A tumbledown old shanty at the rear.

I was trampin' down from Bulga, an' had just run out of grub;
Rainin', too, till every rag on me was soaked;
So, you bet, I wasn't sorry to pull-up at Doolan's pub
On the evenin' of the day that Jerry croaked.

Well, I'd had my bite o' tucker an' a glass or two o' beer
An' was sittin' there a-fillin' of my pipe,
When in comes Mad Macarthy an' Long Jim of Bundaleer,
An' my word! but they was well upon the swipe.

Two strappin' big six-footers, an' as strong as bullocks, both;
An' ripe for any devilment, as well;
The man that interfered with 'em, you just might take your oath,
Stood a pretty lively chance of catchin' hell.

Well, they drank an' laughed an' shouted, an' they swaggered an' they swore,
Till Macarthy took a notion in his head
That they'd make old Jerry drunker than he'd ever bin before;
"Yez can't do that!" says Doolan—"Jerry's dead!"

"Dead drunk, you mean!" says Jimmy. "No," says Doolan, "no begob!
He's as dead as he can be—without a lie!
For he tumbled out of Thompson's trap, right fair upon his nob."
Says Macarthy, "Come, old man, that's all my eye!"

"Bedad!" says Pat, "then take a light an' go yerselves to see.
Sure he's lyin' in the shed forninst the gate."
So my nobles gets a candle an' they tips a wink to me,
An' out they goes to see if it was straight.

Well, sir, back they comes directly an' a-laughin' fit to split,
And behind 'em Mother Doolan cryin' "Shame!"
And well she might, for there, between the pair of 'em, was it—
The clay that used to answer Jerry's name.

With its head a-hangin' forward and its legs a-draggin' loose,
You can bet it was a dreadful sight to see!
And I started up to stop 'em, but says Doolan, "Where's the use?
They could smash a dozen chaps like you an' me!"

So they humped their fearsome burden to a corner of the bar,
And propped it on a cask agin the wall;
"What will Jerry drink?" says Jimmy, and Macarthy says, "Three-star!
For we won't be mean with Jerry—damn it all!"

Well, sir, Doolan fills three nobblers, an' Macarthy collars one,
And slaps it down before the senseless clay;
Then they bobs their heads to Jerry, an' says they, "Old man, here's fun!"
And punishes their liquors right away.

Then 'twas, "Fill 'em up again, Pat—fill 'em right up to the brim!"
Till they'd swallered half a dozen drinks a head;
Then Macarthy stares at Jerry's glass, an' then he stares at Jim—
"By the Lord!" says he, "old Jerry must be dead!

"For it's five-an'-twenty minutes he has had his pizen there,
And he's never tried to touch a bloomin' drop!
So you're right for once, old Doolan! Have a drink, an' let us square.
For it's nearly gettin' time for us to hop."

So they humped old Jerry back again to where he was before—
Mother Doolan still a-scoldin' them in vain;
Then they staggers to their horses that was standin' at the door
An' gallops off like madmen through the rain.





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