The Song of Ninian Melville

Henry Kendall 1839 (Australia) – 1882 (Sydney)

Sing the song of noisy Ninny - hang the Muses - spit it out!
(Tuneful Nine ye needn't help me - poet knows his way about!)
Sling me here a penny whistle - look alive, and let me slip
Into Ninny like a father - Ninny with the nimble lip.
Mister Melville, straight descendant from Professor Huxley's ape,
Started life a mute for daddy - pulling face, sporting crape;
But, alas, he didn't like it - lots of work and little pay.
Nature whispered, 'you're a windbag - play your cards another way.'

Mister Melville picked the hint up - pitched the coffin 'biz' to pot;
Paid his bills, or didn't pay them - doesn't matter now a jot!
Twigging how the bread was buttered, he commenced a 'waiting game':
Pulled the strings upon the quiet - no one 'tumbled' to his aim.
Paine, he purchased, Strauss, he borrowed - read a page or two of each;
Posed before his father's porkers - made to them his maiden speech.
Then he spluttered, 'Ninny has it! Nin will keep himself in clothes,
Like the gutter Tully, Bradlaugh, leading noodles by the nose!'

In the fly-blown village pothouse, where a dribbling bag of beer,
Passes for a human being, Nin commenced his new career -
Talked about the 'Christian swindle' - cut the Bible into bits -
Shook his fist at Mark and Matthew - gave the twelve Apostles fits:
Slipped into the priests and parsons - hanunered at the British Court - -
Boozy boobies were astonished: lubbers of the Lambton sort!
Yards of ear were cocked to listen - yards of mouth began to shout
'Here's a cove as is long-headed - Ninny knows his way about.'

Mister MelviRe was delighted - game in hand was paying well:
Fools and coin don't hang together - Nin became a howling swell!
Took to 'stumping' on the Racecourse - cut the old debating club:
Wouldn't do for mighty Ninny now to mount a local tub!
Thornton's Column was his platform: here our orator began
Hitting at the yellow heathen - cracking up the 'working man' -
Spitting out at Immigration: roaring, like a worried bull,
At the lucre made from tallow - at the profit raised on wool.

Said our Ninny to our Ninny, 'I have not the slightest doubt
Soaping down the ''orny 'anded' is the safest 'bizness' out!
Little work for spanking wages - this is just the thing they like,
So I'll prop the eight hour swindle - be the boss in every strike.
In the end, I'll pull a pot off ~ what I'm at is bound to take:
Ninny sees a bit before him - Ninny's eyes are wide awake!
When the boobies make me member, Parkes, of course, will offer tip -
I will take the first fat billet - then my frouzy friends may rip.'

So it came to pass that Melville, Mister Melville, I should say -
Dodged about with deputations, half a dozen times a day!
Started strikes and bossed the strikers - damned employers, every one,
On the Column - off the Column - in the shanty - in the sun!
'Down with masters - up with wages! keep the 'pigtail' out of this!'
This is what our Ninny shouted - game, you see, of hit or miss!
World, of course, is full of noodles - some who bray at Wallsend sent
Thing we know to be a windbag bouncing into Parliament!

Common story, this of Ninny! many fellows of his breed
Prowl about to bone the guinea, up to dirty tricks indeed;
Haven't now the time to tan them: but, by Jove, I'd like to tan
Back of that immense imposter that they call the 'working man'!
Drag upon our just employees - sponger on a worn-out wife
Boozing in alley pothouse every evening of his life.
Type he is of Nin's supporters: tot him up and tot him down,
He would back old Nick to-morrow for the sake of half a crown!

House with high, august traditions - Chamber where the voice of Lowe,
And the lordly words of Wentworth sounded thirty years ago -
Hall familiar to our fathers, where, in days exalted, rang
All the tones of all the feeling which ennobled Bland and Lang -
We in ashes - we in sack cloth, sorrow for the insult cast
By a crowd of bitter boobies on the grandeur of the past!
Take again your penny whistle - boy, it is no good to me:
Last invention is a bladder with the title of M.P.!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Henry Kendall

Thomas Henry Kendall was a nineteenth-century Australian author and bush poet, who was particularly known for his poems and tales set in a natural environment setting. more…

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    "The Song of Ninian Melville" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/17597/the-song-of-ninian-melville>.

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