A 19th century Poetry Slam - A roast battle for the ages!!!
The Bulletin Debate – An attempt to define Australia's national identity
Another contender enters the race!
A parody none the less, the first of two that play on Patterson’s iconic character Clancy of the Overflow.
Not able to contain themselves they too had to throw into the debate, but mystery surrounds the true identity of Author H.H.C.C with some speculating that is was Lawson veiled in a pseudonym, whilst others posit that H.H.C.C was fellow contemporary poet, Herbert Humphrey Cripps-Clark .
The Overflow of Clancy reads like a first-hand eye-witness account from a contemporary who had ‘dealt’ with Patterson first hand.
Insinuating that Banjo was all pomp and ceremony, a show pony who, whilst he had a go, his heart wasn’t in it and he couldn’t hack it when the going got tough, rather retreating to the comforts of his town lodging to speak on high.
Banjo’s mind was already made up, he had a pre-concived love-struck notion of what Bush life was.
Clancy couldn’t see the flock for the sheep.
The Overflow of Clancy
I've read "The Banjo's" letter, and I'm glad he's found a better
Billet than he had upon the station where I met him years ago;
He was "slushy" then for Scotty, but the "bushland" sent him "dotty,"
So he "rose up, William Riley," and departed down below.
He "rolled up" very gladly, for he had bush-fever badly
When he left "the smoke" to wander "where the wattle-blossoms wave,"
But a course of "stag and brownie" seems to make the bush-struck towny
Kinder weaken on the wattle and the bushman's lonely grave.
Safe in town, he spins romances of the bush until one fancies
That it's all top-boots and chorus, kegs of rum and "whips" of grass,
And the sheep off camp go stringing when the "boss-in-charge" is singing,
Whilst we "blow the cool tobacco-smoke and watch the white wreaths pass."
Yet, I guess "The B." feels fitter in a b'iled shirt and "hard-hitter"
Than he would "way down the Cooper" in a flannel smock and "moles,"
For the city cove has leisure to indulge in stocks of pleasure,
But the drover's only pastime's cooking "What's this! on the coals."
And the pub. hath friends to meet him, and between the acts they treat him
While he's swapping "fairy twisters" with the "girls behind their bars,"
And he sees a vista splendid when the ballet is extended,
And at night he's in his glory with the comic-op'ra stars.
I am sitting, very weary, on a log before a dreary
Little fire that's feebly hissing 'neath a heavy fall of rain,
And the wind is cold and nipping, and I curse the ceaseless dripping
As I slosh around for wood to start the embers up again.
And, in place of beauty's greeting, I can hear the dismal bleating
Of a ewe that's sneaking out among the marshes for her lamb;
And for all the poet's skitin' that a new-chum takes delight in,
The drover's share of pleasure isn't worth a tinker's d--n.
Does he sneer at bricks and mortar when he's squatting in the water
After riding fourteen hours beneath a sullen, weeping sky?
Does he look aloft and thank it, as he spreads his sodden blanket?
For the drover has no time to spare, he has no time to dry.
If "The Banjo's" game to fill it, he is welcome to my billet;
He can "take a turn at droving" -- wages three-and-six a-day --
And his throat'll get more gritty than mine will in the city
Where with Mister Lawson's squashes I can wash the dust away.
In this episode, we delve deep into the background of the battle, meet the players and start to understand the circumstances under which it came about. Witness the clash of ideas, the powerful prose, and the cultural impact of these two literary powerhouses.
📜 Episode 2: The Opening Salvo – Borderland By Henry Lawson
A shot across the bows, Borderland displays a contempt and disdain for romanticising life on the land, pointing to the stark realities faced by those that venture inland, far flung from the luxuries of city life, Lawson leaving no doubts as to the persuasion which he prefers.
📜 Episode 3: Game On – In Defense of the Bush
Playfully scornful, cheekily referencing Lawson’s poem’s Faces in the Street, and the Bastards From the Bush. Patterson outright calls Lawson nothing more than a whinger in, In Defence of the Bush.
📜 Episode 4 – The Drovers in Reply ; The Fact of the Matter by Edward Dyson
It wasn’t long before other notable voices started chiming to the Bulletin debate, offering their own two cents, and truth be known, leaping to Lawson’s defence.
📜 Episode 5 – Rebuking Banjo ; The City Bushman by Henry Lawson
The Gloves are off! Lawson insists that Banjo doesn’t know what he is talking about, having never, literally rather than figuratively, walked a mile in ‘their’ shoes.
📜 Episode 6 - Another Contender Enters the Race ; The Overflow of Clancy by HHCC
A parody none the less, the first of two that play on Patterson’s iconic character Clancy of the Overflow. The Overflow of Clancy reads like a first-hand eye-witness account from a contemporary who had ‘dealt’ with Patterson first hand.
📜 Episode 7 - A Pile On ; Banjo of the Overflow by Francis Kenna
“And the bush is very pretty, when you view it from the city” - Would Banjo really swap his city lawyer life for that of Clancy’s?
📜 Episode 8 - Banjo's Retort ; In Answer to Various Bards by Banjo Patterson
After 4 fellow poets attack Banjo across the pages of the Bulletin, it’s easy to see that he may have felt as though he was being attacked on all fronts. it was becoming more of a pile on, so Banjo felt inclined to set the record straight.
📜 Episode 9 - Lawson's Lament ; The Poets of the Tomb by Henry Lawson
By now the debate had devolved into a slinging match. Lawson acquiesces that Banjo’s declaration of optimism is the best outlook in life in this playful lament, embracing and playing on this caricature of doom and gloom with The Poets of the Tomb his last contribution to the Bulletin Debate.
📜 Episode 10 - The Last Word ; A Voice From the Town by Banjo Patterson
Banjo thought the debate was done and dusted, but just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. Upon returning home after many a year away. Banjo is asking himself, is the grass greener? If he had his time again, would he think and act differently?