by Andrew Barton Paterson
A man once read with mind surprised
Of the way that people were “hypnotised”;
By waving hands you produced, forsooth,
A kind of trance where men told the truth!
His mind was filled with wond’ring doubt;
He grabbed his hat and he started out,
He walked the street and he made a “set”
At the first half-dozen folk he met.
He “tranced” them all, and without a joke
‘Twas much as follows the subjects spoke:
“I am a doctor, London-made,
Listen to me and you’ll hear displayed
A few of the tricks of the doctor’s trade.
‘Twill sometimes chance when a patient’s ill
That a doae, or draught, or a lightning pill,
A little too strong or a little too hot,
Will work its way to a vital spot.
And then I watch with a sickly grin
While the patient ‘passes his counters in’.
But when he has gone with his fleeting breath
I certify that the cause of death
Was something Latin, and something long,
And who is to say that the doctor’s wrong!
So I go my way with a stately tread
While my patients sleep with the dreamless dead.”
“I am a barrister, wigged and gowned;
Of stately presence and look profound.
Listen awhile till I show you round.
When courts are sitting and work is flush
I hurry about in a frantic rush.
I take your brief and I look to see
That the same is marked with a thumping fee;
But just as your case is drawing near
I bob serenely and disappear.
And away in another court I lurk
While a junior barrister does your work;
And I ask my fee with a courtly grace,
Although I never came near the case.
But the loss means ruin too you, maybe,
But nevertheless I must have my fee!
For the lawyer laughs in his cruel sport
While his clients march to the Bankrupt Court.”
“I am a banker, wealthy and bold —
A solid man, and I keep my hold
Over a pile of the public’s gold.
I am as skilled as skilled can be
In every matter of ? s. d.
I count the money, and night by night
I balance it up to a farthing right:
In sooth, ‘twould a stranger’s soul perplex
My double entry and double checks.
Yet it sometimes happens by some strange crook
That a ledger-keeper will ‘take his hook’
With a couple of hundred thousand ‘quid’,
And no one can tell how the thing was did!”
“I am an editor, bold and free.
Behind the great impersonal ‘We’
I hold the power of the Mystic Three.
What scoundrel ever would dare to hint
That anything crooked appears in print!
Perhaps an actor is all the rage,
He struts his hour on the mimic stage,
With skill he interprets all the scenes —
And yet next morning I give him beans.
I slate his show from the floats to flies,
Because the beggar won’t advertise.
And sometimes columns of print appear
About a mine, and it makes it clear
That the same is all that one’s heart could wish —
A dozen ounces to every dish.
But the reason we print those statements fine
Is — the editor’s uncle owns the mine.”
The Last Straw
“A preacher I, and I take my stand
In pulpit decked with gown and band
To point the way to a better land.
With sanctimonious and reverent look
I read it out of the sacred book
That he who would open the golden door
Must give his all to the starving poor.
But I vary the practice to some extent
By investing money at twelve per cent,
And after I’ve preached for a decent while
I clear for ‘home’ with a lordly pile.
I frighten my congregation well
With fear of torment and threats of hell,
Although I know that the scientists
Can’t find that any such place exists.
And when they prove it beyond mistake
That the world took millions of years to make,
And never was built by the seventh day
I say in a pained and insulted way
that ‘Thomas also presumed to doubt’,
And thus do I rub my opponents out.
For folks may widen their mental range,
But priest and parson, they never change.”
With dragging footsteps and downcast head
The hypnotiser went home to bed,
And since that very successful test
He has given the magic art a rest;
Had he tried the ladies, and worked it right,
What curious tales might have come to light!