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DICK TURPENTINE
by
Bernard Newman

[With apologies to Alfred Noyes]

The South wind blew so coldly, and made men's eyebrows freeze
The Man in the Moon smiled grimly, with a face like a Cheshire cheese
'Twas Christmas day in the workhouse where Oliver asked for more
And the highwayman came riding, riding, riding
Dick Turpentine came riding, up to the old inn door.

He'd a top hat on his forehead, a dress shirt on his chest
With a pair of Oxford trousers, and a woollen undervest
And he rode as fast as a motor - well as fast as a ford will do
For he loved the Landlord's porter, the landlord's nut-brown porter
Not to speak of the landlord's daughter, the lady who's known as Loo.

He tapped with his fist on the shutters, but locked was the old inn door
So he stood 'neath the window and whistled, "It ain't gonna rain no more."
And then the window opened, and Loo's sweet face popped out
And the landlord stood and listened, he shivered there as he listened
Mute as a cat he listened, and he heard the robber shout,

"One drink, my bonny sweetheart, of porter as brown as your curls
I'm after a fat dowager, who'd got a string of pearls
But only two pubs I'm passing, and there the drink's not strong
So I'll come back here for another, and another, and another
For I daren't go home to mother, cos the p'lice'll have me before long."

He stood upright in the stirrups so that he could reach for the glass
But he couldn't quite reach to the window, and it made him feel such an ass
So he sat on his horse in the moonlight, sat with his mouth open wide
While Loo, the landlord's daughter, took a hefty mug of porter
And bending o'er his upturned mouth, she poured it safe inside.

The Landlord used in the darkness such swear words as he could say
For he hated her Highwayman lover - such customers did not pay
Dick Turpentine would not pay up, what ever might be said
And the landlord feared his pistols, those nine point two three pistols
So he fiercely vowed his vengeance... and then went off to bed.

Next morn he was up with the milkman, and round by the barrack square
And he told the fiery colonel about his daughter fair
And Dick Turpentine, the highwayman, who robbed folks by the score
Who came to her by moonlight, and drank his beer by moonlight
And shot the moon in the moonlight, close by the old inn door.

"Hide twelve men in your cellar before he comes tonight
Dick Turpentine shall never see another morning's light
Yes, twelve men - and a sergeant - shall come with you today
And let Dick go on drinking, drinking, drinking
And when he's drunk my soldiers will catch him without delay."

The soldiers went to the cellar, the landlord went to his bar
And Loo went up to her window, to watch for her lover afar
And the landlord prepared him a potion which would make him as drunken as pigs
Porter and whisky and pale-ale, sherry and creme-de-menthe
With a dash of strong sarsaparilla, and a splutter of syrup of figs.

Tlot tlot! She heard in the distance his horse hoofs fast coming near
Tlot, tlot! She heard his throat crackle as he stretched out his hand for his beer
The landlord rushed to the cellar, and called to the soldiers there
"Come, here is the man from the highway, shoot him down in the highway
Down like a dog in the highway, before he can say, "It's a bear'."

"Come, come at once," he cried again, "There is no time to wait
Come, sergeant, call your men out, and bid them all shoot straight
I've mixed him a pungent cocktail that's more than enough for two
Dick Turpentine has drunk it, come on men, do you funk it?"
The the landlord gasped, "He'll bunk it," for the soldiers were all drunk too.

Yes, Dick had taken the potion straight from his lover's hand
And his eyes assumed a brightness that nature never planned
And he reeled in Irish fashion, after he had had ten sips
And he fell down in the highway, fell all his length in the highway
Down like a dog in the highway, with a smile of peace on his lips.

And still, they say, on a Summer's night when the wind makes the eyebrows freeze
And the Man in the Moon smiled grimly, with a face like a Cheshire cheese
And it's Christmas day in the workhouse where Oliver asked for more
A highwayman comes riding, riding, riding
Dick Turpentine comes riding up to the old inn door.

"What does he seek?" ask the neighbours, as they stand with frightened stare
"Is it Loo, the landlord's daughter, that he hopes to discover there?
Or the ghosts of thirteen soldiers, or the landlord who foully planned?"
Dick Turpentine's still thirsting, thirsting, thirsting
What he wants is the recipe of the cocktail that got him canned.
 
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