Then stumbling o'er heaps of trowels, mortarboards and picks
He yelled out at a workman, "Jacobs, who let drop them bricks?"
Five hundred hands at once stopped work and looked up in surprise
For what the sounds he made were meant for, no one could devise
And Jacobs thought "What gibberish is this he speaks to me?"
Then answered slowly, "Qu'est ce qu'il y a donc: que'est ce que tu me dis?"
The foreman stared and gasped for breath, then fiercely said, "All right
My lad, you'll take a week's stipend and sling your hook tonight."
Poor Jacobs, turning to a pal, said, "Pense-tu qu'il est fou?"
The pal, amazed, replied, "Ich verstehe nicht, was sagtest du?"

Meanwhile, the other men began to talk about the row
But found they couldn't understand each other anyhow
  For one was talking Spanish and, another Japanese
Whilst others jabbered Turkish, Double Dutch and Cingalese
Chaldean, Polynesian, Finnish, Chocktaw, Latin, Greek
No tongue, known or unknown today, that someone didn't speak
At first they thought it funny, but the joke began to pall
And soon the situation wasn't humorous at all.

At length, one of the men, by pantomimic sign and wink
Suggested that they'd better knock off work and have a drink
This met with great approval, labour ended for the day
And all hands turned in the 'Babel Arms' across the way
The landlord was dumbfounded, but his breath was vainly spent
When he asked them in Assyrian what this strange invasion meant
However, after various signs that took the place of speech
He gathered what they wanted was a 'pint of four'arf' each.
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