Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems
CAPTAIN BUMBLE’S LETTER
Don’t talk about Sebastapol,
The Russian war is fault now;
Just listen to despatches
Just come from Ballarat, now.
Our noble governor,
And where is there a better,
Has permitted us to publish
Captain Bumble’s private letter.
He writes thus to His Excellency:
‘Myself and Major Stiggins
Got our brave fellows all equipped
And started for the diggins.
Our band struck up God Save the Queen,
Into cheers our men were bursting,
And every gallant soldier was
For glorious action thirsting.
‘Our first attack was on two drays,
Which we saw in the distance,
But the enemy surrendered
After just a slight resistance.
We were disappointed in our search
Of these two wretched traitors,
For instead of seizing powder
It was loaded with potatoes.
‘We marched but were obliged to halt
On behalf of Sergeant Trunnions,
Who was unable to proceed
On account of having bunions;
We stationed pickets all around
To give us timely warning,
And there we bivouacked and slept
Till nine the following morning.
‘At length into the diggings
Footsore our men did tramp there.
And we took up our position
Within the Government Camp there.
Provisions were served out to all,
And my very soul it tickles
To contemplate the ravages
On the cold boiled beef and pickles.
‘We watched at night, but all was still;
For glory we were yearning,
And we fired upon a tent in which
A candle was seen burning.
We killed a woman and a child,
Though ‘twas not our intention;
But that slight mistakes sometimes occur
Of course I needn’t mention.
‘At length in earnest was the strife;
While buried in their slumbers,
We made a bold and desperate charge
And cut them down in numbers.
Our gallant fellows fought like bricks,
The rebels were defeated,
And then by hundreds off they ran,
Into the bush retreated.
‘Thus all is quiet and I now
Subscribe myself your humble,
Devoted servant of the crown,
Fredderick Augustus Bumble.’
‘Pray send us up some good cheroots,
and anything that’s handy,
And by all means pray don’t forget,
We’re nearly out of brandy.’
Charles Thatcher ( Tune Jeremiah)
Back to Australian bush poems