Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | March 20, 2010

The Son Of Marquis Noddle.

The Son Of Marquis Noddle.

Robert J.C. Stead. The Empire Builders, 1908.


HE is brand-new out from England, and he thinks he knows it all—
(There’s a bloomin’ bit o’ goggle in his eye)
The “colonial” that crosses him is going to get a fall—
(There’s a seven-pound revolver on his thigh).
He’s a son of Marquis Noddle, he’s a nephew of an earl,
In the social swim of England he has got ‘em all awhirl,
He’s as confident as Cæsar and as pretty as a girl—
Oh, he’s out in deadly earnest, do or die.

They will spot him in the cities by the cowhide on his feet—
(They were built for crushing cobble-stones at ‘ome)
And the giddy girls will giggle when they see him on the street—
(There’s a brand-new cowboy hat upon his dome).
He has come from home and kindred to the land beyond the sea,
To the far-famed land of plenty, to the country of the free,
But he can’t forget he owns it from Cape Race to Behring Sea—
He is coming just as Cæsar would to Rome.

When his pile is getting slender he’ll go looking for a job,
(And he thinks he ought to get it, don’tche-know)
But he finds that he must mingle with the common city mob,
(How can they think that he would sink so low?).
So he hikes him to the country, where the rustics will be proud
To salute him when they meet him, and to whisper, nice and loud,
“He’s the son of Marquis Noddle,—you would know him in a crowd”—
They will pay him there the homage that they owe.

In the little country village he will manufacture mirth—
(For it’s there they take the measure of a swell)
They will soon proceed to teach him that he doesn’t own the earth
(With a quit-claim on the sun and moon as well).
They will show him that the country isn’t altogether slow,
And that they can travel any pace that he’s a mind to go,
He will be a right good fellow till they run him out of dough—
Oh, it is a tale of merriment they tell!

So to keep his bones together he goes working on a farm,
(Where they get up at a little after two)
Where they think to take him down a peg will not do any harm,
(And they sleep when there is nothing else to do).
Where they work him like a nigger nearly twenty hours a day,
And they don’t disguise the fact that they consider him a jay,
And he eats so much and sleeps so much he isn’t worth his pay—
Oh, it doesn’t matter that his blood is blue.

He decides to do a season as a cowboy in the West,
(Where they call a man a boy until he’s dead)
And he tries to walk a-swagger with a military chest,
(And he isn’t overslept or overfed).
They will set him breaking bronchos, though it’s little to his mind;
With many new-learned epithets he’ll perforate the wind—
How can he know the boys have stuck a thistle on behind?
He will end the exhibition on his head.

They will fill him full of liquor that’ll frizzle his inside,
(In the cooler he can square it with his God)
He will spend his nights in places where the demi-monde reside,
(In the morning he’ll be minus watch and wad).
They’ll abuse him as a youngster, they will mock him as a man,
They’ll make his life a thorny path in every way they can,
Till he curses his existence and the day that it began,
And he wishes he was rotting in the sod.

He will write long tales to England, tales of bitterness and woe,
(They will print ‘em in the papers over there)
He will tell them pretty nearly everything he doesn’t know,
(And they’ll take it all for gospel over there).
He will tell them that the country isn’t fit for gentlemen,
That any who escape from it do not come back again,
He is handy with his language and he wields a bitter pen—
To the truth of each assertion he would swear.

He’s a growler, he’s a growser, he’s a nuisance, he’s a bum,
(And the country hasn’t any room for such)
And they class him in the papers as “European scum,”
(They would rather have the Irish or the Dutch).
He’s the butt of every jester, he’s the mark of every joke,
He is wearing borrowed trousers—he has put his own in soak—
He’s a useless good-for-nothing, beaten, buffeted, and broke,
And of sympathy he won’t get overmuch.

In a dozen years you’ll find him with a section of his own,
(He had to learn his lesson at the start)
With a happy wife and children he is trying to atone—
(For he loves the country now with all his heart).
He’s a son of dear old England, he’s a hero, he’s a brick;
He’s the kind you may annihilate but you can never lick,
For he played and lost, and played and lost, and stayed and took the trick;
In a world of men he’ll play a manly part.