MIXED AND MUDDLED
by
Archie Hesse (1910-20)
 (An overexcited declaimer is reciting ‘Casabianca’)

'The boy stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled
The flames that lit the battle’s wreck shone round him o’er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood, as bound to rule the storm
A creature of heroic blood, and thought it rather warm.

He cried aloud, 'Say Father, say if yet my work is done,'
His father did not make reply, and the clock on the steeple struck One.
'Speak, Father,' once again he cried, and once and once is twice
The shades of night were falling fast, it was a strange device.

Not a sound was shot, not a word was fired, as he stood on the burning deck
And they rounded Tattenham Corner sir, and the ship was a terrible wreck
50,000 Horse and Foot ordered to Table Bay, and
Curfew shall not ring tonight, for I’m the Queen of the May.

Upon his brow he felt its breath, and in his ginger hair
And still the booming shots replied, 'Not there my child, not there.'
He shouted yet once more aloud, 'My Father, must I can?'
His father did not make reply, his hair was black and tan.

It wrapped the ship in splendour wild, it was a pretty sight
He gathered honey all the day, and ate it all the night
Now will you stand on my right hand and keep the bridge with me?
'I,' said the sparrow, 'With my bow and arrow, I’ll keep the bridge with thee.'

There came a burst of splendour wild, the boy, Oh, where was he?
On the banks of Allan Water, washing the Zuyder Zee
The sausage was a smashed one, its eyesight old and dim
And Mary had a little lamb, they called it little Jim

‘Twas Xmas day in the Workhouse, and the place looked bright and gay
And they ate their Christmas pudding on the Road to Mandalay.
Billy’s dead and gone to glory, so has Billy’s sister Nell
Billy’s sister went to heaven, little Billy went to .......France

His nose it grinned, his eye was pale, the night was fierce and wild
'Try not the Pass,' the old man said to the collier’s dying child
He goes on Sunday to the church, and helps the lifeboat crew
And that’s how William Adams won the battle of Waterloo.'  
The end