Shakespeare on the Turf

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)

SCENE I

SCENE: The saddling paddock at a racecourse.
Citizens, Battlers, Toffs, Trainers, Flappers, Satyrs, Bookmakers and Turf Experts.
Enter Shortinbras, a Trainer, and two Punters.

FIRST PUNTER: Good Shortinbras, what thinkest thou of the Fav'rite?

SHORTINBRAS (aside): This poltroon would not venture a ducat
on David to beat a dead donkey; a dull and muddy-mettled rascal.
(To Punter): Aye marry Sir, I think well of the Favourite.

PUNTER: And yet I have a billiard marker's word
That in this race to-day they back Golumpus,
And when they bet, they tell me, they will knock
The Favourite for a string of German Sausage.

SHORTINBRAS: Aye, marry, they would tell thee, I've no doubt,
It is the way of owners that they tell
To billiard markers and the men on trams
Just when they mean to bet. Go back it, back it!

(Tries to shuffle off, but Punter detains him.)

PUNTER: Nay, good Shortinbras, what thinkest thou of Golumpus?
Was it not dead last week?

SHORTINBRAS: Marry, sir, I think well of Golumpus.
'Tis safer to speak well of the dead: betimes they rise again.

(Sings)

They pulled him barefaced in the mile,
Hey, Nonny, Nonny.
The Stipes were watching them all the while;
And the losers swear, but the winners smile,
Hey, Nonny, Nonny.

Exit Shortinbras.

SECOND RUNTER: A scurvy knave! What meant he by his prate
Of Fav'rite and outsider and the like?
Forsooth he told us nothing. Follow him close.
Give him good watch, I pray you, till we see
Just what he does his dough on. Follow fast.

Exeunt Punters

SCENE II

The same. Bookmakers call: 'Seven to Four on the Field!'
'Three to One, Bar One!' 'Ten to One, Golumpus.'
Enter Two Heads.

FIRST HEAD: How goes the battle? Did thou catch the last?

SECOND HEAD: Aye, marry did I, and the one before,
But this has got me beat. The Favourite drifts,
And not a single wager has been laid
About Golumpus. Thinkest thou that both are dead?

Re-enter Punters

PUNTER: Good morrow, Gentlemen. I have it cold
Straight from the owner, that Golumpus goes
Eyes out to win today.

FIRST HEAD: Prate not to me of owners. Hast thou seen
The good red gold Go in. The Jockey's Punter
Has he put up the stuff, or does he wait
To get a better price. Owner say'st thou?
The owner does the paying, and the talk;
Hears the tale afterwards when it gets beat
And sucks it in as hungry babes suck milk.
Look you how ride the books in motor cars
While owners go on foot, or ride in trams,
Crushed with the vulgar herd and doomed to hear
From mouths of striplings that their horse was stiff,
When they themselves are broke from backing it.

SCENE III

Enter an Owner and a Jockey

OWNER: 'Tis a good horse. A passing good horse.

JOCKEY: I rose him yesternoon: it seemed to me
That in good truth a fairly speedy cow
Might well outrun him.

OWNER: Thou froward varlet; must I say again,
That on the Woop Woop course he ran a mile
In less than forty with his irons on!

JOCKEY: Then thou should'st bring the Woop Woop course down here.

OWNER: Thou pestilential scurvy Knave. Go to!

Strikes him.
Alarms and excursions. The race is run and Shortinbras enters,
leading in the winner.

FIRST PUNTER: And thou hast trained the winner, thou thyself,
Thou complicated liar. Didst not say
To back Golumpus or the Favourite!

SHORTINBRAS: Get work! For all I ever had of thee
My children were unfed, my wife unclothed,
And I myself condemned to menial toil.

PUNTER: The man who keeps a winner to himself
Deserves but death. (Kills him)

Enter defeated Owner and Jockey.

OWNER: Thou whoreson Knave: thou went into a trance
Soon as the barrier lifted and knew naught
Of what occurred until they neared the post.
(Kills him)

Curtain falls on ensemble of punters, bookmakers,
heads and surviving jockeys and trainers.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

124 Views

Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

All Andrew Barton Paterson poems | Andrew Barton Paterson Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this Andrew Barton Paterson poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Shakespeare on the Turf" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/2595/shakespeare-on-the-turf>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.