(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

An Apt Pupil

Knockin' about (said Benny, the Tough)
By the Rocks an' Woolloomooloo,
Oh, I was a low-brow, right enough,
And a bit of a bounder, too.
Kickin' about with me larrikin band,
I was always gittin' in bad;
Till the kindly cops took me in hand,
An', lissen, I've been glad.

I was a tough when life begun,
An' me ideels was not high
Doin' the things that 'are not done,'
Disgracin' me old school tie.
Me feet was set on the downward road,
A crook I was, an' a cad,
Till the genteel cops taught me a Code
An', lissen, I was glad.

Doin' sich things as I never had ort,
Soilin' the family name,
With never a notion of good, clean sport
Or the pride of playin' the game.
The dirtiest fighter in all the Rocks,
That's the sort of name I had,
Till the manly cops taught me to box;
An', lissen, I was glad.

Playin' the game with a good straight bat,
Scornin' the bottle an' boot;
Turnin' meself from a wharfside rat
To a reel nice-livin' coot.
Learnin' to battle without 'arf-bricks
Or with pickets, as once I had
For the good cops taught me their rastlin' tricks
An', lissen, I was glad.

But flesh is weak; an' I fell from grace,
An' I goes an' I drifts right back,
An' burgled a bit of a jeweller's place;
An' a cop gets on me track,
But I meets his rush with a good straight right,
An' I reckon he got reel mad
To think that the cops taught me to fight.
But, lissen, I was glad.

Then a crowd of his pals come off their beats;
But I takes to me heels an' clears,
An' I leads 'em a marathon thro' the streets
While they lumbers and puffs in the rear.
Then I loses 'em all when I'd had me fun,
An' I sprints like a race-course prad.
For me cobbers the cops taught me to run,
An', lissen, was I glad?

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