The Squatter's Baccy Famine

In blackest gloom he cursed his lot;
His breath was one long weary sigh;
His brows were gathered in a knot
That only baccy could untie.
His oldest pipe was scraped out clean;
The deuce a puff was left him there;
A hollow sucking sound of air
Was all he got his lips between.
He only said, “My life is dreary.
The Baccy's done,” he said.
He said, “I am aweary, aweary;
By Jove, I'm nearly dead.”

The chimney-piece he searched in vain,
Into each pocket plunged his fist;
His cheek was blanched with weary pain,
His mouth awry for want of twist.
He idled with his baccy-knife;
He had no care for daily bread:—
A single stick of Negro-head
Would be to him the staff of life.
He only said, “My life is dreary.
The Baccy's done,” he said.
He said, “I am aweary, aweary
I'd most as soon be dead.”

Books had no power to mend his grief;
The magazines could tempt no more;
“Cut Gold-Leaf” was the only leaf
That he had cared to ponder o'er.
From chair to sofa sad he swings,
And then from sofa back to chair;
But in the depth of his despair
Can catch no “bird's-eye” view of things.
And still he said, “My life is dreary.
No Baccy, boys,” he said.
He said, “I am aweary, aweary;
I'd just as soon be dead.”

His meals go by he knows not how;
No taste in flesh, or fowl, or fish;
There's not a dish could tempt him now,
Except a cake of Caven-dish.
His life is but a weary drag;
He cannot choose but curse and swear,

And thrust his fingers through his hair,
All shaggy in the want of shag.
And still he said, “My life is dreary,
No Baccy, boys,” he said.
He said, “I am aweary, aweary;
I'd rather far be dead.”

To him one end of old cheroot
Were sweetest root that ever grew.
No honey were due substitute
For “Our Superior Honey-Dew.”
One little fig of Latakia
Would buy all fruits of Paradise;
“Prince Alfred's Mixture” fetch a price
Above both Prince and Galatea.
Sudden he said, “No more be dreary!
The dray has come!” he said.
He said, “I'll smoke till I am weary—
And then, I'll go to bed.”

by James Brunton Stephens

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